Amber N. Peterson, PsyD, is a 2024 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

William Heusler, PsyD, Committee Chair

Dana Waters, PsyD, Committee Member

Michael Archer, PsyD, Committee Member


COVID-19, psychology, behavior, pandemic, qualitative, mental health

Document Type


Publication Date



This study examined the lived experience of self-identified, mandate-resistant adults in Washington state. This study explored participants’ experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, from a retrospective framework by uncovering challenges, silver linings, decision-making, and self-reported mental health. Remote interviews were conducted with nine participants. Participants were between 23–31 years old, mostly male, and over half identified as Black. Through semi structured interviews, data was collected and analyzed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Participants described their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted significant changes in the way they lived their lives. Most notably, participants described ways in which they defied COVID-19 mandates and the losses they faced, along with adjustment, coping, isolation, moving forward, questioning, and distress. Due to their stance regarding the pandemic, participants often felt alienated and distrusting. This resulted in decreases in mental health. As the pandemic waned, participants noted having a greater appreciation for in-person interactions, valuing close relationships, and investing themselves in more travel. Participants experienced great losses during the pandemic but emerged with a more defined sense of self. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Amber N. Peterson, PsyD, 2024

ORCID Scholar ID# 0009-0001-9294-7730