Psychosocial impact on health-related and non-health related university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results of an electronic survey

Rev Colomb Psiquiatr. 2021 Jun 5:S0034-7450(21)00084-6. doi: 10.1016/j.rcp.2021.04.008. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has caused feelings of anxiety, confusion, and panic among the world population. Due to these psychological changes resulting from the stress produced by the disease, we sought to investigate the psychological impact of the pandemic on the university student community.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: 1,283 students were surveyed, of which 1,149 students were selected. The majority of the subjects were female, and the overall average age was of 20 years. They were provided with an 82-question online questionnaire divided into four sections; looking for the prevalence of significant symptomatology of major depression and generalised anxiety using the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scales; and factors that potentially affect the mental health of our university population.

RESULTS: We found a high prevalence of significant depression (47.08%) and anxiety (27.06%) symptomatology, considering a score of 10 or more as cut-off point. There was no significant difference in depression and anxiety symptomatology between the health-care students and non-health-care students.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results, together with what is observed in the literature, allow us to conclude that the college student population has a high risk of mental illness, and these should be taken into consideration for the search of effective strategies for detection and control of mental health illnesses. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic is a red flag that shows the need to upgrade mental health programmes in universities and to validate virtual instruments.

PMID:34158169 | DOI:10.1016/j.rcp.2021.04.008