Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal study showing mental health and movement behaviours are impaired in UK students

Savage, M.J. ORCID: 0000-0003-2922-3681, Hennis, P.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-8216-998X, Magistro, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-2554-3701, Donaldson, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-3230-276X, Healy, L.C. ORCID: 0000-0003-1372-7308 and James, R.M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7119-3159, 2021. Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal study showing mental health and movement behaviours are impaired in UK students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (6): 2930. ISSN 1661-7827

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Abstract

Initial studies indicated that student mental health was impaired during the early stages of the pandemic and that maintaining/improving physical activity gave some protection from mental illness. However, as the pandemic persists, these data may not reflect current circumstances and may have been confounded by exam stress.

Methods: This study used an online survey to assess the changes in, and associations between, mental health and movement behaviours in 255 UK university students from before the COVID-19 pandemic (October 2019) to 9 months following the UK’s first confirmed case (October 2020). Changes in and associations between mental wellbeing, perceived stress, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour were assessed using a mixed model ANOVA; a multiple linear regression model determined the predictive value of variables associated with Δ mental wellbeing.

Results: Mental wellbeing and physical activity decreased (45.2 to 42.3 (p < 0.001); 223 to 173 min/week (p < 0.001)), whereas perceived stress and time spent sedentary increased (19.8 to 22.8 (p < 0.001); 66.0 to 71.2 h/week (p = 0.036)). Δ perceived stress, Δ sedentary behaviour and university year accounted for 64.7%, 12.9%, and 10.1% of the variance in Δ mental wellbeing (p < 0.001; p = 0.006; p = 0.035).

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic is having a sustained negative impact on student mental health and movement behaviour.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Creators: Savage, M.J., Hennis, P.J., Magistro, D., Donaldson, J., Healy, L.C. and James, R.M.
Publisher: MDPI AG
Date: 12 March 2021
Volume: 18
Number: 6
ISSN: 1661-7827
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.3390/ijerph18062930DOI
1434855Other
Rights: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 05 Jul 2021 14:07
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2021 14:07
Related URLs:
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/43316

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