Prevalence of anxiety and depression symptom, and the demands for psychological knowledge and interventions in college students during COVID-19 epidemic: A large cross-sectional study

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J Affect Disord. 2020 Oct 1;275:188-193. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.06.034. Epub 2020 Jul 2.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although studies have suggested experiencing the epidemic of severe infectious diseases increased the prevalence of mental health problems, the association between COVID-19 epidemic and risk of anxiety and depression symptom in college students in China was unclear.

METHODS: A large cross-sectional online survey with 44,447 college students was conducted in Guangzhou, China. The Zung’s Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D Scale) were used to define the anxiety and depression symptom, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to analyze the association between COVID-19 epidemic and risk of anxiety and depression symptom.

RESULTS: The prevalence of anxiety and depression symptom was 7.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 7.5%, 8.0%) and 12.2% (95%CI: 11.9%, 12.5%), respectively. Compared with students who reported have not infected or suspected cases in family members and relatives, students who reported having confirmed (OR=4.06; 95%CI: 1.62, 10.19; P = 0.003), and suspected (OR=2.11; 95%CI: 1.11, 4.00; P = 0.023) cases in family members and relatives had higher risk of depression symptom. Additionally, the proportions of students with anxiety and depression symptom reported more demand of psychological knowledge and interventions than those without (P<0.001).

LIMITATIONS: All the data in this study was collected through online questionnaire, and we did not evaluate the reliability and validity.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of anxiety and depression symptom was relatively low in college students, but the COVID-19 epidemic-related factors might be associated with higher depression symptom risk.

PMID:32734907 | DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2020.06.034