PLoS One. 2023 Jan 25;18(1):e0280680. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0280680. eCollection 2023.


INTRODUCTION: This study aims to assess the impacts of COVID-19 pandemics among university students in Malaysia, by identifying the prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress among them and their respective predictors.

METHODOLOGY: An online cross-sectional study was conducted via non-probabilistic convenience sampling. Data were collected on sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle, COVID-19 related influences. Mental health status was assessed with depression, anxiety, and stress scale (DASS-21).

RESULTS: 388 students participated this study (72.4% female; 81.7% Bachelor’s student). The prevalence of moderate to severe depression, anxiety and stress among university students are 53.9%, 66.2% and 44.6%, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression analysis found that the odds of depression were lower among students who exercise at least 3 times per week (OR: 0.380, 95% CI: 0.203-0.711). The odd ratio of student who had no personal history of depression to had depression, anxiety and stress during this pandemic was also lower in comparison (OR: 0.489, 95% CI: 0.249-0.962; OR: 0.482, 95% CI: 0.241-0.963; OR: 0.252, 95% CI: 0.111-0.576). Surprisingly, students whose are currently pursuing Master study was associated with lower stress levels (OR: 0.188, 95% CI: 0.053-0.663). However, student who had poorer satisfaction of current learning experience were more likely to experience stress (OR: 1.644, 95% CI: 1.010-2.675).

LIMITATIONS: It is impossible to establish causal relationships between variables on mental health outcomes, and there is a risk of information bias.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of mental health issues among university students is high. These findings present essential pieces of predictive information when promoting related awareness among them.

PMID:36696454 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0280680

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