Effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on mental health in a UK student sample

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions placed upon society have had a profound impact on both physical and mental health, particularly for young people. Aims: The current study assesses the impact of COVID-19 on student mental health. Method: Four hundred and thirty four first year Undergraduate students completed a battery of self-report questionnaires (PHQ-P, GAD-7 and SAS-SV) to assess for depression, anxiety and mobile phone addiction respectively with data being collected over a 2 year period. The data from each year was compared (216 and 218 students respectively). Results: A MANOVA revealed that COVID-19 had a significant impact on self-reported levels of depression, anxiety and smartphone addiction—which all significantly increased from the 2020 to the 2021 group. The percentage of students who had a score which warranted a classification of clinical depression increased from 30 to 44%, and for anxiety increased from 22 to 27%—those students who showed a comorbidity across the two rose from 12 to 21%. Smartphone addiction levels rose from 39 to 50%. Correlational analysis showed a significant relationship between Smartphone usage and depression and anxiety. Conclusions: This research suggests that COVID-19 has had a major impact upon student mental health, and smartphone addiction. The importance of identifying predictive factors of depression and anxiety is emphasised, and suggestions for intervention are discussed.




Catling, J. C., Bayley, A., Begum, Z., Wardzinski, C., & Wood, A. (2022). Effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on mental health in a UK student sample. BMC Psychology, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-022-00732-9

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