How the Mental Health of College Students in China has been Affected by COVID-19

Yukta Kulkarni ’22

Figure 1: COVID-19 has significantly affected the mental health and stability of college students in China

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken over the world in a way that disrupts almost everyone’s previous way of life. People can no longer leave their house without wearing a mask, socialize within 6 feet of friends and family, or go to work/school. These inconveniences are minor, though, compared to those that people diagnosed with, or know someone with, COVID-19 experience. This can cause major stress and anxiety in itself. The addition of remote schoolwork and decreased socialization can be truly detrimental to college students’ mental health. The goal of Cao et al.’s study was to evaluate the mental health and stability of college students in China’s Changzhi medical college, to create a rationale for psychological intervention to help those suffering from anxiety and to make this obstacle a national issue for all students.

The population selected for this study were undergraduate students at Changzhi medical college. Using cluster sampling, they surveyed 7,143 students using the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), which is a sustainable screening instrument. Participation was anonymous and voluntary. The results state that around 75% of the students had no anxiety symptoms, while 21.3%, 2.7%, and 0.9% of students experience mild, moderate, and severe anxiety, respectively. Of the students who knew someone with COVID-19, 38.46% had mild anxiety, 7.69% had moderate anxiety, and 2.56% had severe anxiety. After statistical tests were performed, they found that the harmful influences of the pandemic on their day-to-day lives were positively related to anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, it was discovered that anxiety and social support received by the students from friends and family were negatively related. 

According to the data from this one school, COVID-19 is definitely a stressor to college students. It suggests that the mental health of all students should be tested to not only ensure their stability, but also their quality of life. Help should be provided to those who need it to manage their educational and social well-being. Cao et al. suggest that governments and schools should work together to find a practical solution that will help students and future leaders.

Works cited:

  1. W. Cao, et al., The psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on college students in China. Psychiatry Research 287, (2020). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112934
  2. Image retrieved from: https://images.pexels.com/photos/3936421/pexels-photo-3936421.jpeg?auto=compress&cs=tinysrgb&dpr=3&h=750&w=1260 

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