Predictors of Covid-19 anxiety in UK university students

Chelidoni, Olga, Berry, Clio, Easterbrook, Matthew, Chapman, Laura, Banerjee, Robin, Valeix, Sophie and Niven, Jeremy (2022) Predictors of Covid-19 anxiety in UK university students. Journal of Further and Higher Education. pp. 1-14. ISSN 0309-877X

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Aim: The current research aimed to evaluate UK student mental health during the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we were interested in exploring factors that contribute to students’ anxiety levels about COVID-19. Demographics, mental health symptomatology and wellbeing-related variables were tested as predictors of COVID-19 anxiety.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was completed by 1,164 UK university students (71.8% females). Measures included self-reported data on stress, social phobia, anxiety, depression, psychotic-like experiences, hopefulness, group membership, social identity, belonging, loneliness, COVID-19 related variables and demographics. The majority of participants were between 18-24 years old (92.2%), White British (57.9%) and in the first or second year of their course study (63.12%).

Findings: A series of multiple linear regressions revealed that being female, experiencing more stress and anxiety, and greater worry about COVID-19 and its effects on social relationships were significant in explaining students’ pandemic-related anxiety. Students’ level of pandemic-related anxiety was independent of ethnicity, socioeconomic background and pre-existing mental health problems. Worrying about the future was the most common pandemic-related stressor, but it was not a significant predictor of COVID-19 anxiety.

Conclusion: Our findings are in line with previous findings that females and students experiencing more stress have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings could inform the delivery of targeted stress-management interventions which might prove beneficial for student wellbeing.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: COVID-19, University, Students, Stress, Anxiety
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2022 10:55
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 11:31

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