Mental health prevalence and predictors among university students in nine countries during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-national study


Ochnik D., Rogowska A. M., Kusnierz C., Jakubiak M., Schuetz A., Held M. J., ...More

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, vol.11, no.1, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41598-021-97697-3
  • Journal Name: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Ataturk University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

The student population has been highly vulnerable to the risk of mental health deterioration during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This study aimed to reveal the prevalence and predictors of mental health among students in Poland, Slovenia, Czechia, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Turkey, Israel, and Colombia in a socioeconomic context during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was conducted among 2349 students (69% women) from May-July 2020. Data were collected by means of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), Gender Inequality Index (GII), Standard & Poor's Global Ratings, the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT), and a sociodemographic survey. Descriptive statistics and Bayesian multilevel skew-normal regression analyses were conducted. The prevalence of high stress, depression, and generalized anxiety symptoms in the total sample was 61.30%, 40.3%, and 30%, respectively. The multilevel Bayesian model showed that female sex was a credible predictor of PSS-10, GAD-7, and PHQ-8 scores. In addition, place of residence (town) and educational level (first-cycle studies) were risk factors for the PHQ-8. This study showed that mental health issues are alarming in the student population. Regular psychological support should be provided to students by universities.