Pryor Center's Fall Lecture Series Concludes Tonight With Presentation by Brittany N. Hearne

Brittany N. Hearne
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Brittany N. Hearne

The Pryor Center Presents fall lecture series presented by the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences concludes at 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 2, with "Psychological Distress Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic by Race/Ethnicity and Educational Attainment," featuring Brittany N. Hearne, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology. This series is part of the Pryor Center's expanded mission of education, research and outreach. 

The event is free and open to the public. Masks will be required for attendees, and vaccination is strongly encouraged.

Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be long-term, with negative implications for public mental health. In Hearne's present study, she first analyzed nationally representative survey data collected in March and April 2020 to show psychological distress patterns. Hearne also analyzed in-depth interview data collected in the Northwest Arkansas Region between June and August 2020 for a more comprehensive understanding of how Black college-educated people managed pandemic-related stressors.

The survey findings show that, nationally, Black people with graduate-level degrees report the lowest psychological distress. The interview data show that speaking with friends and family, reliance on co-workers, therapy and positive self-affirmations were used as common coping strategies to curb feelings of isolation and distress. 

These findings reveal both national patterns of psychological distress across race/ethnicity and educational attainment and specific coping resources and strategies used by college-educated Black Arkansans to decrease distress. 

This work is supported by the U of A Humanities Center and the U of A Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Hearne completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University and her graduate studies at Vanderbilt University. Her research and teaching agendas include a focus on health patterns across social statuses and family arrangements. Using survey data sources, she has examined how depressive symptoms are patterned across race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and various types of romantic relationships.

About The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History: The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History is an oral history program with the mission to document the history of Arkansas through the collection of spoken memories and visual records, preserve the collection in perpetuity, and connect Arkansans and the world to the collection through the Internet, TV broadcasts, educational programs, and other means. The Pryor Center records audio and video interviews about Arkansas history and culture, collects other organizations' recordings, organizes these recordings into an archive, and provides public access to the archive, primarily through the website at The Pryor Center is the state's only oral and visual history program with a statewide, seventy-five county mission to collect, preserve, and share audio and moving image recordings of Arkansas history.

About the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the majority of the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.


William A. Schwab, executive director
Pryor Center

Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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