Psychological impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and associated factors on college students
Objective: To determine the psychological impact of coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic on college students, and to explore factors influencing their anxiety and depression levels.
Method: The cross-sectional study was conducted from October 2020 to January 2021 at the Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, and comprised medical students of either gender in the first to third year of the academic programme. Data was collected using a pretested online structured questionnaire comprising demographic information, academic problems, daily life difficulties and the 25-item Aga Khan University Anxiety and Depression Scale. Data was analysed using SPSS22.
Results: Of the 397 students, 72(18.1%) were males and 325(81.9%) were females. The overall mean age of the sample was 19.9+/-1.2 years. Of the total, 221(55.7%) students were found to be anxious and depressed. Factors related to academic difficulties and daily life issues had significant correlation (p<0.05) with anxiety and depression. Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that the need for some form of mental health support was the most significant (p<0.001) predictor of anxiety and depression, followed by family issues (p<0.001) and social media (p<0.001). Anxiety and depression were also significantly associated with fear of family or friend getting coronavirus disease-2019 (p=0.003), lack of attentiveness to study (p=0.040) and felt anxiety when ordering food online (p=0.019).
Conclusion: With better understanding, academic institutions and healthcare policymakers may take measures and mitigate students’ distress during the pandemic.
Key Words: Anxiety, Depression, COVID-19 pandemic, College students.