Mental health of new undergraduate students before and after COVID-19 in China

Peng Lu, Lei Yang, Chongjian Wang, Guoxin Xia, Hao Xiang, Gongbo Chen, Ning Jiang, Tingting Ye, Yucheng Pang, Hongwei Sun, Lailai Yan, Zhenguo Su, Jane Heyworth, Rachel Huxley, Jane Fisher, Shanshan Li, Yuming Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the changes in severity of anxiety and depression symptoms, stress and sleeping quality after three months of mass quarantine for COVID-19 among undergraduate fresh students compared to their pre-COVID-19 measures. We used participants from the Chinese Undergraduate Cohort (CUC), a national prospective longitudinal study to examine the changes in anxiety and depression symptoms severity, stress and sleep quality after being under mass quarantine for three months. Wilcoxon matched pair signed-rank test was used to compare the lifestyle indicators. Severity of anxiety, depression symptoms, stress and sleep quality were compared with Wilcoxon signed-rank test. We used generalized estimating equation (GEE) to further quantify the change in mental health indicators and sleep quality after the COVID-19 mass quarantine compared to baseline. This study found that there was no deterioration in mental health status among Chinese new undergraduate students in 2020 after COVID-19 mass quarantine compared with the baseline measures in 2019. There was an improvement in sleep quality and anxiety symptoms. After adjusting for age, sex, exercise habit, time spent on mobile gadgets, and time spent outdoors, year 2020 was significantly associated with severity of depression symptoms in males (OR:1.52. 95%CI:1.05–2.20, p-value = 0.027). Year 2020 was significantly associated with the improvement of sleeping quality in total (OR:0.45, 95%CI:0.38–0.52, p < 0.001) and in all the subgroups. This longitudinal study found no deterioration in mental health status among Chinese new undergraduate students after three months of mass quarantine for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18783
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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