The Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Wellbeing of Students at Liverpool John Moores University
Background: With the COVID-19 pandemic necessitating restrictive measures to social gatherings, travelling, and other normal daily outdoor activities to limit the disease spread, the impacts have been huge on the UK public and the experiences of university students. Particularly, the closure of school buildings, bringing about a switch to online virtual teaching and learning, and the consequent disconnection of students from their usual campus social life have been huge disruptions. This study aimed to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental wellbeing of students at the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and identify the predominant stressors behind the effects.
Methods: A cross-sectional quantitative design was used in the study, utilising a one-time-response online survey that included the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) to collect data from LJMU students on their mental wellbeing and the stressors they may have experienced during the pandemic. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the respondents’ demographic data, WEMWBS scores and perceived COVID-19-related well-being stressors, while associations between mental wellbeing and identified stressors were analysed using Fisher’s Exact Test.
Results: The results indicated that out of the 57 student-respondents, the majority were females (70.2%) and undergraduates (64.9%) while almost half (47.4%) were aged 30 or above. The mean WEMWBS score was 43.89 (SD ±11.4), the scores ranging from 14 to 68. Meanwhile, 64.9% had high or average WEMWBS scores. Out of the eight COVID-19-related stressors studied, 6 received an admittance rate of over 50%, ranging from 56.1% to 89.5%. However, the analysis on the association between any of the stressors and the student’s mental wellbeing showed no statistical significance (∝ =0.05).
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest a negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental wellbeing of LJMU students on the average. The most important wellbeing stressors, meanwhile, have been academic performance, fear of contracting the virus, lack of social contact and support from friends and family, and the changes in teaching and learning format. The researcher recommends, among other issues, further studies to delineate the impacts of the pandemic on specific psychological parameters such as levels of anxiety and depression.
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