Students’ psychological state and its associated factors during an outbreak of COVID-19 in Pakistan: a web-based survey

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented mental health repercussions in the lives of every individual including university students. Therefore, study on students’ psychological state and its associated factors during the pandemic are of importance. This study aims to discuss the aforementioned issue. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was done on a total of 207 university students of Pakistan to collect information on socio-demographic characteristics, concerns or fears amidst COVID-19 and mental distress. Validated tools; Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)-Depression were used to assess stress, anxiety and depression, respectively. Findings: Around 14% of the university students were experiencing severe stress and anxiety, while 8.2% had severe depression. The authors found that stress among university students was related to psychiatric illness or symptoms (OR = 5.1: 1.1, 22.9) and unpredictability due to the pandemic (OR = 3.7: 1.2, 11.2). The significant determinants of anxiety were psychiatric illness/symptoms (OR = 6.6: 3.4, 12.9), implementation of public health measures (OR = 3.7: 1.1, 11.6), employed mothers (OR = 2.4: 1.1, 5.0) and lack of support from university administration (OR = 2.2: 1.0, 5.0). While the factors associated with depression included psychiatric illness or symptoms (OR = 8.4: 3.3, 21.5), unpredictability due to pandemic (OR = 6.8: 2.2, 20.7), impaired social support system (OR = 3.7: 1.3, 10.4) and studying without a scholarship (OR = 2.1: 1.0, 4.4). Research limitations/implications: These findings call for an urgent need to develop appropriate interventions and educational programs that could address the psychological needs of students. Practical implications: The study directs the role of university and faculty in dealing the mental health needs of the student in COVID-19 pandemic time. Social implications: Educational programs are important that could address the psychological needs of students in COVID-19 pandemic. Originality/value: University students reported mental distress during COVID-19 pandemic which shows that younger people are at risk of COVID-19 repercussions. Moreover, several stressors (i.e. impaired social support system and lack of support from universities) were revealed that could be mitigated by implementing appropriate strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-405
Number of pages18
JournalArab Gulf Journal of Scientific Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2024


  • Anxiety and depression
  • COVID-19
  • Psychological distress
  • Stress
  • University students


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