Knowledge, attitudes and mental health of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic in China

Published on Sep 24, 2020in Children and Youth Services Review
· DOI :10.1016/J.CHILDYOUTH.2020.105494
Ruichen Jiang1
Estimated H-index: 1
(SUS: Shanghai University of Sport)
Abstract Background Little is known about the psychological impact of COVID-19 on university students during the disease outbreak in China, but this information is important for the development of services to support these students who are typically in their early 20s. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine university students' knowledge, attitudes, and mental health status during the COVID-19 pandemic in China. Methods On February 10, 2020 and during the second week of national lockdown, 511 students from a university in China were assessed using the COVID-19 General Information Questionnaire and the Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90) questionnaire. To understand the mental health status of the current sample, we compared it with the normal population. Results Four hundred and seventy-two valid questionnaires were collected. In total, 11% of respondents reported confirmed COVID-19 cases in their hometowns or communities. In view of students' knowledge about COVID-19, 56% had sufficient knowledge of typical symptoms of COVID-19, and 41% knew a lot about prevention methods for the future pandemic. In terms of the risk perceptions, 57% had experienced considerable fear of this disease, and 19% perceived a high risk of becoming infected. In terms of attitudes towards the COVID-19 pandemic, 63% felt positive about its development (i.e., it was generally under control), and 92% declared that they were willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The scores for somatization, obsessive-compulsive disorder, interpersonal sensitivity, anxiety, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and the general severity index were significantly increased compared with the norm (p<0.001). However, no differences in the scores for depression, hostility and psychoticism were noted (p>0.05). Conclusion University students possessed insufficient COVID-19 knowledge and high-risk perceptions. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health of university students. Social support and targeted interventions tailored to university students should be provided during such an outbreak, and university administration should strengthen the cultivation of students' mental toughness using standard teaching processes.
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