Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Gabriel Ybarra

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Fuglestad

Third Advisor

Dr. Jody Nicholson

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange


Previous literature has shown that undergraduates’ alcohol use is often affected by their perceived stress, especially when there is a significant disruption to their typical college lifestyle. The primary goal of the study was to demonstrate that there is a relationship between perceived undergraduate stress and alcohol behaviors mediated by anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The secondary goal was to determine if there were any significant moderating variables on the aforementioned mediation, specifically characteristics of personality. A self-report Qualtrics survey was conducted to assess perceived stress, anxiety, alcohol use, and personality domains along the Big Five Inventory for 244 students. The simple mediation model analyzed through Hayes’ Macro Process Model 4 yielded significant indirect results through anxiety but the following moderated mediation analysis using Model 58 did not. While there were significant effects of neuroticism on the relationship between perceived stress and alcohol use through anxiety, no significant index of moderated mediation was found. Although the mediation model was significant, future studies should focus on larger sample sizes and different sample populations for longitudinal designs, as well as other possible confounding variables that can account for the relationship between stress and alcohol use.