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In an economy that previously had a larger portion of the workforce performing “gig” work (e.g., Task Rabbit, Care.com, or Wag dog walking), this project proposes to study the short-term impacts on this workforce now forced to seek digital “gig” work including online freelance or micro-tasking.

Have you started collecting and analyzing data yet?
We are really early in data collection. We started in late August to formulate things, going through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) because we are interacting with human subjects. We’ve been doing analysis of online forums where people talk about their work — gig economy forums — and also just a couple of interviews already. But as we scan these sources, early findings demonstrate really fundamental changes.

Trends in Gig Economy Work

Location-dependent gig work: fundamental changes depending on the type of work

  • Decrease in ride-sharing drivers and dog walkers
  • Increase in delivery services

Location-independent: Increase in the number of people approaching crowd-sourcing platforms or freelancing work

  • Many of these people have lost their jobs and are looking for this type of work, but the number of jobs in this category has not changed so demand is outweighing the supply
Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi
Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi
Associate Professor
School of Information and Library Science
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“COVID is a lens that we use to surface inherent challenges and opportunities of gig work.”

This study will develop and disseminate guidelines for school-based mental health professionals providing mental health care for students who are high risk for suicide —which is expected to be a significant group due to school closures and interrupted mental health care during the expected second wave of COVID-19 this fall. Dr. Marisa Marraccini is collaborating with Dr. Dana Griffin and Dr. Lauren Sartain.

How did you become interested in this topic?
During my doctoral training, my experiences as a school psychology intern in a rural high school informed my awareness of the need to better support adolescents with mental health crises in school settings. I continued to appreciate the importance of the role of school professionals for preventing suicide during my postdoctoral training focused on suicide research with adolescents hospitalized for suicide-related crises. These experiences taught me the importance of communication between families, schools, and hospitals, and the critical need to support schools in delivering mental health interventions, particularly since most mental health services for adolescents with psychiatric disorders are provided in school settings (see Costello et al., 2014).
Any updates on your research?
We are preparing to disseminate surveys to adolescents previously hospitalized for suicide-related thoughts and behaviors and their parents, as well as school professionals across the state. We are also analyzing some of the data we had collected this past spring, when schools first closed. We are working as quickly as possible to share preliminary findings soon.
Marisa Marraccini
Marisa Marraccini
Assistant Professor
School of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies
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