Mental health and movement behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic in UK university students: prospective cohort study

Savage, M.J., James, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-7119-3159, Magistro, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-2554-3701, Donaldson, J., Healy, L.C. ORCID: 0000-0003-1372-7308, Nevill, M. ORCID: 0000-0003-2498-9493 and Hennis, P.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-8216-998X, 2020. Mental health and movement behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic in UK university students: prospective cohort study. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 19: 100357. ISSN 1755-2966

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Statement of problem: The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to negatively impact the mental health of university students, yet there is lack of prospective longitudinal data quantifying such changes. The purpose of this study was to examine the mental health and movement behaviours, and the associations between the changes in mental health and movement behaviours, of UK university students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: 214 students enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study (mean age = 20.0 years; males = 28.0%, females = 72.0%) at an East Midlands UK University. Participants completed a self-report, online survey twice before (14/10/2019; T1 and 28/01/2020; T2) and twice during the UK ‘lockdown’ (20/03/2020; T3 and 27/04/2020; T4). Mental wellbeing, perceived stress, physical activity and sedentary behaviour were assessed at each time point. Repeated measures ANCOVA was used to assess changes in variables over time, whilst Pearson's correlation analysis tested for associations.

Results: During the first 5 weeks of ‘lockdown’ mental wellbeing and physical activity decreased ((F (2.2, 465.0) = 6.6, P < .0010 and (F (2.7, 591.0) = 4.8, P < .010 respectively)). Meanwhile, perceived stress and time spent sedentary increased ((F (2.5, 536.2) = 94.0, P < .0050 and (F (2.7, 578.9) = 41.2, P < .0001 respectively)). A positive association was found between Δ perceived stress and Δ sedentary behaviour (r = .18, P < .010).

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting the mental health and movement behaviour of UK university students, though no association between these constructs was identified.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Mental Health and Physical Activity
Creators: Savage, M.J., James, R., Magistro, D., Donaldson, J., Healy, L.C., Nevill, M. and Hennis, P.J.
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: October 2020
Volume: 19
ISSN: 1755-2966
S1755296620300417Publisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 30 Sep 2020 09:18
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2022 03:00

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