Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Li, Yawen


College students generally experience anxiety, depression, and stress associated with the higher education life. It can be argued that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to worsen the mental health conditions of these students. This situation can be even worse for DACA recipients in college who have to deal not only with the pandemic but also with legal status uncertainties. This study attempted to compare mental health outcomes (levels of anxiety, depression, and stress) between Latino DACA recipients in college and their counterparts with no DACA status during the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing literature has mostly been silent regarding comparing the mental health of undergraduate students based on DACA status during the pandemic. Using an exploratory design, the researchers targeted college students primarily through an agreement with a Southern California public university’s undocumented student success center. Unfortunately, this agreement was not respected due to red tape and other forms of organizational barriers. Despite the researchers’ best efforts, only seven of the 38 participants were DACA recipients (N = 38). The data, therefore, was not appropriate for meaningful statistical analyses due to the low representation of DACA participants in the study. Only the demographic variables were run in SPSS for frequency distribution purposes. This study has implications for research in that its research question—which remain unanswered—can be picked up in future endeavors. Future research can also use this study to avoid complications while attempting to study a hard-to-reach population like DACA students.