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Certain Factors Increase Pandemic’s Psychological Impact on College Students

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Key Takeaways

  • Certain risk factors are associated with college students self-reporting a psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Respondents who were women, were non-Hispanic Asian, were in fair/poor health, were of below-average relative family income, or knew someone infected with COVID-19 experienced higher levels of psychological impact.
  • A lower likelihood of psychological impact was seen among students who were non-Hispanic White, were above-average social class, spent at least 2 hours outside, or spent less than 8 hours on electronic screens.

HealthDay News–Certain risk factors are associated with college students self-reporting a psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published in PLOS ONE.

Matthew H.E.M. Browning, Ph.D., from Clemson University in South Carolina, and colleagues surveyed 2534 students from 7 public U.S. universities (61% women; 79% non-Hispanic White) when most coronavirus-related sheltering-in-place orders were in effect (mid-March to early May 2020) to understand the psychological impact of the pandemic.

The researchers found 45% of students experienced a high risk for psychological impact. Respondents who were women, were non-Hispanic Asian, were in fair/poor health, were of below-average relative family income, or knew someone infected with COVID-19 experienced higher levels of psychological impact. A lower likelihood of psychological impact was seen among students who were non-Hispanic White, were above-average social class, spent at least 2 hours outside, or spent less than 8 hours on electronic screens.

“Inadequate efforts to recognize and address college students’ mental health challenges, especially during a pandemic, could have long-term consequences on their health and education,” the authors write.

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