Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Bieker, Andrea. The "Grit and Glory" of College-Aged Women: Higher Solitary Desire was Associated with Higher Depression during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln. 2023.


Copyright Andrea Bieker 2023.



Our study utilized secondary data from sexual health and well-being surveys to assess the strength in association between mental health (depression) and sexual health (sexual desire) over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyzed data collected from cis-gender, college-aged women taking one or more psychology courses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (N = 1021). The data used in this study was from fall 2018 to spring 2022. Contrary to conventional patterns, in this population, higher depression was significantly correlated with higher sexual desire. While partnered desire did not significantly change over the course of the pandemic, solitary desire increased in the months following the onset of the pandemic. Additionally, a history of antidepressant use was correlated with higher sexual desire. These results suggest a resilience in the population of college-age women as it defies the established negative correlation between heightened depression and lower sexual desire. Further research should be pursued to investigate the causal agents in the increase of sexual desire with increased depression.