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Geographic Distribution of Mental Health Problems Among Chinese College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Nationwide, Web-Based Survey Study.
J Med Internet Res. 2021 01 29; 23(1):e23126.JM

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Since the COVID-19 outbreak was first reported, considerable attention has been drawn to mental health problems among college students.

OBJECTIVE

We aimed to estimate the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among college students in different geographical areas of China during the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.

METHODS

A nationwide cross-sectional survey was conducted among Chinese college students of 16 provinces or municipalities from February 4 to 12, 2020. A web-based survey was adopted to collect information from these college students, including demographics, perceived risk of infection, attitudes toward the epidemic and its control, and mental health status. Anxiety symptoms were assessed using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale, and depressive symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire. Chi-square test was used to compare the percentage of perceived risk of infection and attitude toward COVID-19 among college students in different geographic locations. Binary logistic models were used to identify associations between geographic locations and mental health problems after controlling for covariates.

RESULTS

A total of 11,787 participants were analyzed in this study (response rate: 79.7%). The prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among college students was 17.8% (95% CI 17.1%-18.5%) and 25.9% (95% CI 25.1%-26.7%), respectively. After controlling for covariates, current residence area in Wuhan city was found to have a positive association with anxiety symptoms (odds ratio [OR] 1.37, 95% CI 1.11-1.68) and depressive symptoms (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.09-1.59). Similarly, college location in Wuhan city was found to have a positive association with anxiety symptoms (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.07-1.35) and depressive symptoms (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.10-1.36). History of residence in or travel to Wuhan city in the past month was also positively associated with anxiety symptoms (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.46-1.80) and depressive symptoms (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.35-1.63). Furthermore, the perceived risk of COVID-19 was higher among students whose college location and current residence area were in Wuhan city, and it was positively associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health problems among Chinese college students were widespread and geographically diverse. Our study results provide further insight for policymakers to develop targeted intervention strategies.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Anhui, China. MOE Key Laboratory of Population Health Across Life Cycle, Anhui, China. NHC Key Laboratory of Study on Abnormal Gametes and Reproductive Tract, Anhui, China.MOE Key Laboratory of Population Health Across Life Cycle, Anhui, China. NHC Key Laboratory of Study on Abnormal Gametes and Reproductive Tract, Anhui, China. Department of Nephrology, The Second Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Anhui, China.Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Anhui, China. MOE Key Laboratory of Population Health Across Life Cycle, Anhui, China. NHC Key Laboratory of Study on Abnormal Gametes and Reproductive Tract, Anhui, China.School of Health Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.School of Public Health, Xi'an Jiaotong University Health Science Center, Xi'an, China.School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, China.South-Central Minzu University, Wuhan, China.Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Anhui, China. MOE Key Laboratory of Population Health Across Life Cycle, Anhui, China. NHC Key Laboratory of Study on Abnormal Gametes and Reproductive Tract, Anhui, China.Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Anhui, China. MOE Key Laboratory of Population Health Across Life Cycle, Anhui, China. NHC Key Laboratory of Study on Abnormal Gametes and Reproductive Tract, Anhui, China.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

33439853

Citation

Wu, Xiaoyan, et al. "Geographic Distribution of Mental Health Problems Among Chinese College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Nationwide, Web-Based Survey Study." Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 23, no. 1, 2021, pp. e23126.
Wu X, Tao S, Zhang Y, et al. Geographic Distribution of Mental Health Problems Among Chinese College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Nationwide, Web-Based Survey Study. J Med Internet Res. 2021;23(1):e23126.
Wu, X., Tao, S., Zhang, Y., Li, S., Ma, L., Yu, Y., Sun, G., Li, T., & Tao, F. (2021). Geographic Distribution of Mental Health Problems Among Chinese College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Nationwide, Web-Based Survey Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(1), e23126. https://doi.org/10.2196/23126
Wu X, et al. Geographic Distribution of Mental Health Problems Among Chinese College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Nationwide, Web-Based Survey Study. J Med Internet Res. 2021 01 29;23(1):e23126. PubMed PMID: 33439853.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Geographic Distribution of Mental Health Problems Among Chinese College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Nationwide, Web-Based Survey Study. AU - Wu,Xiaoyan, AU - Tao,Shuman, AU - Zhang,Yi, AU - Li,Shiyue, AU - Ma,Le, AU - Yu,Yizhen, AU - Sun,Guilong, AU - Li,Tingting, AU - Tao,Fangbiao, Y1 - 2021/01/29/ PY - 2020/08/02/received PY - 2021/01/10/accepted PY - 2020/09/02/revised PY - 2021/1/14/pubmed PY - 2021/2/7/medline PY - 2021/1/13/entrez KW - COVID-19 pandemic KW - college students KW - geographic location KW - mental health problems SP - e23126 EP - e23126 JF - Journal of medical Internet research JO - J Med Internet Res VL - 23 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: Since the COVID-19 outbreak was first reported, considerable attention has been drawn to mental health problems among college students. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to estimate the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among college students in different geographical areas of China during the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak. METHODS: A nationwide cross-sectional survey was conducted among Chinese college students of 16 provinces or municipalities from February 4 to 12, 2020. A web-based survey was adopted to collect information from these college students, including demographics, perceived risk of infection, attitudes toward the epidemic and its control, and mental health status. Anxiety symptoms were assessed using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale, and depressive symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire. Chi-square test was used to compare the percentage of perceived risk of infection and attitude toward COVID-19 among college students in different geographic locations. Binary logistic models were used to identify associations between geographic locations and mental health problems after controlling for covariates. RESULTS: A total of 11,787 participants were analyzed in this study (response rate: 79.7%). The prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among college students was 17.8% (95% CI 17.1%-18.5%) and 25.9% (95% CI 25.1%-26.7%), respectively. After controlling for covariates, current residence area in Wuhan city was found to have a positive association with anxiety symptoms (odds ratio [OR] 1.37, 95% CI 1.11-1.68) and depressive symptoms (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.09-1.59). Similarly, college location in Wuhan city was found to have a positive association with anxiety symptoms (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.07-1.35) and depressive symptoms (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.10-1.36). History of residence in or travel to Wuhan city in the past month was also positively associated with anxiety symptoms (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.46-1.80) and depressive symptoms (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.35-1.63). Furthermore, the perceived risk of COVID-19 was higher among students whose college location and current residence area were in Wuhan city, and it was positively associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health problems among Chinese college students were widespread and geographically diverse. Our study results provide further insight for policymakers to develop targeted intervention strategies. SN - 1438-8871 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/33439853/Geographic_Distribution_of_Mental_Health_Problems_Among_Chinese_College_Students_During_the_COVID_19_Pandemic:_Nationwide_Web_Based_Survey_Study_ L2 - https://www.jmir.org/2021/1/e23126/ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -