Role of COVID-19 pandemic in the academic life and well-being of private sector university students: An exploratory qualitative study

Naureen Akber Ali, Anam Shahil Feroz, Noshaba Akber, Adeel Khoja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a drastic impact on students' life, causing physical and emotional sufferings. Considering the relevance of unprecedented conditions, we explored perceptions and attitudes of students towards their academic life and well-being amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Setting We conducted an exploratory qualitative study using a purposive sampling approach conducted at a single-centre private nursing institution in Karachi, Pakistan. Participants The current study used in-depth interviews with female university students. Study data were analysed manually using the thematic analysis approach. Primary outcome The primary outcome is to explore perception of students on academic life and well-being amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Results A total of 10 in-depth interviews were conducted between August and September 2020. Four overarching themes were identified: (1) impact of COVID-19 on students' well-being; (2) effect of COVID-19 on students' academic life; (3) current coping mechanisms adopted by students and (4) recommendations to address students' concerns. The pandemic-related stressors served as a major impediment on students' motivation, concentration span and socioeconomic conditions which negatively influenced their well-being and academic life. However, students have adopted diverse coping mechanisms to combat unstable circumstances that include connecting with family and relatives, indulging in diverse activities, and getting academic support from faculty, senior students, and university administration. Students also recommended the need for arranging online mental health services, integrating e-learning mediums in existing academia, and constant efforts by the government to address electricity and internet connectivity issues to promote virtual learning. Conclusion University students have been struck hard due to rapid pandemic-related transitions in their life. The study finding served as the potential guide for educational institutions and government officials to employ appropriate psychological interventions and provide infrastructure and technical facilities to provide support with their academic journey and overcoming the ongoing pandemic repercussions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere055678
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2022


  • COVID-19
  • public health
  • qualitative research


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