A novel coronavirus, COVID-19, emerged in 2019 and became a pandemic in 2020 (Castro and George 19). The pandemic adversely affected the humanity, particularly students, who have experienced varying degrees of deleterious effects, such as loneliness and isolation (Zhu et al. 1). It seems imperative to study detrimental effects of COVID-19 on students. Li et al. (2) noted that college students are critical population to be addressed as college years are peak periods for symptom onset of psychological issues. Therefore, it seems imperative to explore the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on daily decisions and psychological health of students.
The Effects of COVID-19 on the Psychological Health of Students.
With the spread of virus, numerous universities began shifting from the normal learning modalities to emergency remote learning strategies. This modification in modalities also forced students to modify their learning style in diverse ways. For instance, some students were unable to cope with online courses, and some other students had no appropriate infrastructure, such as access to home computer, the internet, or a webcam, to accomplish the requirements of online courses that was stressful (Castro and George 19). It was also found that in the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic, chemistry students found it stressful to switch to the online learning strategy (Castro and George 30).
Aside from these issues, quite a lot of students also experienced additional stresses, such as having children at home or caring for older people or younger siblings at home (Castro and George 19) that can cause stress. For instance, it has been reported that students in certain catastrophic and tragic situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, could be exposed to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological disorders (Castro and George 30). In this regard, Haliwa et al. (1) conducted a research to assess the effects of COVID-19 on the psychological health of college students. The researchers found that when the perceived risk of being infected with COVID-19 increased, the students began experiencing intensive levels of anxiety, depression, and stress (Haliwa et al. 1). These points are thought to become stressors and distractors for students, negatively affecting their engagement in studies as well as their psychological health (Castro and George 19).
Citing the previously published researches, Haliwa et al. (1) also noted that the negative effects of COVID-19 on psychological health could be higher among undergraduate students as compared to graduate students, staff, and faculty. They also asserted that COVID-19 could have implications for the life satisfaction and happiness of college students (Haliwa et al. 1). For instance, with an increase in the extent of mindfulness and social support, students would be able to overcome several detrimental effects of COVID-19 and would be able to have more happiness and greater life satisfaction (Haliwa et al. 4).
Li et al. (1) also conducted a study on psychological health problems confronted by college-going students in China in association with COVID-19. They found that the prevalence of panic was about 17.2% among these students, while the prevalence of anxiety was about 24.3% among these students. Furthermore, researchers have delved into the detail and extracted the data showing that among the most serious factors associated with health anxiety negatively affecting the psychological health of students were perceived lethality of the virus, effect of pandemic on social contacts, and being affected by the worldwide spread of COVID-19 (Li et al. 1). Additionally, limited knowledge about the pandemic also resulted in an increase in the psychological symptoms of anxiety and panic (Li et al. 2). Another factor that has been found to be associated with detrimental effects of COVID-19 on the psychological health of students is that of childhood psychological abuse and neglect (Zhu et al. 1). In this case, Zhu et al. (1) conducted a study on the relationship between childhood psychological maltreatment and mental health in college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found that approximately 37.6% of these students were found to have psychological health problems at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic (Zhu et al. 1). In this regard, the study conducted by Zhu et al. (4) is different from the studies conducted by other researchers, such as Li et al. (1) and Haliwa et al. (1), as Zhu et al. (4) reported the effects of internal psychological factors rather than external psychological factors such as negative information obtained from other people or concerns about infection.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only affected the psychological health of students by changing the ways in which they were accustomed to learning, but also affected their mental health by reducing the activities of students, such as collegiate athletes. For instance, it has been found that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the sports-related activities of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes in educational institutes, and it has also caused sleep-related problems and an increase in feelings of loss and sadness. It has also been noted that sports-related activities are usually helpful in providing multiple mental health benefits, such as higher self-esteem, increased levels of emotional and social support, more social interaction and social networking, and a sense of belonging. With a decrease in sports-related activities, collegiate athletes began experiencing problems associated with the lack of these benefits (Davies and LoGalbo 172).
The Effects of COVID-19 on Daily Decisions made by Students
The pandemic of COVID-19 has not only resulted in negative effects on the psychological health of the students but also affected the decisions of students. These decisions could be related to different aspects of life as, for example, decisions related to managing finances, taking in person classes, and vaccinations.
The pandemic of COVID-19 has stirred the financial decisions made by students. One of the examples is that of Roshelle Czar, who reported that when COVID-19 spread in March 2020, like many other people, she also had to confront the trauma associated with the pandemic. Because of that pandemic, she made the unwilling decision to pay about $6,000 in rent for an apartment where she was not living. She noted that the same amount would have been sufficient to cover tuition fees for a whole semester at Sacramento State. She also suggested that campuses can help in healing and addressing the trauma associated with pandemics or any other problem (Czar).
The pandemic of COVID-19 has influenced the decisions of students regarding online classes or in-person classes. For instance, some of the students were of the opinion that they would never like to take a class via Zoom after COVID-19. On the other hand, a number of other students reported that they would like to learn from remote education strategies rather than in-person classes (Ezarik).
Eventually, COVID-19 has affected the vaccination-related decisions. In one of the studies, conducted by Qiao et al. (175) on a large number of college-going students living in South Carolina, the effect of COVID-19 exposure on the decisions of students regarding vaccination was assessed. The researchers discovered that, while the perceived severity of COVID-19 was associated with an increase in the level of acceptance by students, with an increase in exposure to COVID-19, negative effects appeared in students’ decisions, and they began showing reduced vaccine acceptance. In this regard, researchers suggested that students either have a decreased controllability or self-efficacy to protect themselves from an environment with a high-risk of COVID-19 or they believe that COVID-19 is not a serious problem based on their own experiences, in which they have not been infected even in a high-risk environment (Qiao et al. 177).
COVID-19 adversely affected students regarding psychological and mental health. Among the detrimental psychological effects of COVID-19 are anxiety, panic, stress, and depression that are frequently occurring among students. Aside from psychological problems, COVID-19 has also adversely affected the daily decisions of students, such as those related to in-person classes, vaccinations, and managing finances.
Castro, Esther and Jessie George. “The Impact of Covid-19 on Student Perceptions of Education and Engagement.” e-Journal of Business Education and Scholarship of Teaching, vol. 15, no. 1, 2021, pp. 28-39.
Czar, Roshelle. “Redesigning College Education: Dismantling Trauma During Covid.” Medium https://hope4college.medium.com/redesigning-college-education-dismantling-trauma-during-covid-97ad3319edbd. Accessed April 21 2022.
Davies, Morgan and Anthony LoGalbo. “Collegiate Athlete Experiences with Covid-19 and Attitudes About Returning to Sport.” Journal of Athlete Development and Experience, vol. 3, no. 3, p. 2.
Ezarik, Melissa. “Covid-Era College: Are Students Satisfied?” Inside Higher ED https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/03/24/student-experiences-during-covid-and-campus-reopening-concerns. Accessed April 21 2022.
Haliwa, Ilana et al. “Risk and Protective Factors for College Students’ Psychological Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Journal of American College Health, 2021, pp. 1-5, doi:10.1080/07448481.2020.1863413.
Li, Mengyao et al. “Psychological Impact of Health Risk Communication and Social Media on College Students During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Cross-Sectional Study.” Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 22, no. 11, 2020, doi:10.2196/20656.
Qiao, Shan et al. “Risk Exposures, Risk Perceptions, Negative Attitudes toward General Vaccination, and Covid-19 Vaccine Acceptance among College Students in South Carolina.” American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 36, no. 1, 2021, pp. 175-79, doi:10.1177/08901171211028407.
Zhu, Z. et al. “Correlation of Childhood Psychological Abuse and Neglect with Mental Health in Chinese College Students During the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Front Psychiatry, vol. 12, 2021, p. 770201, doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2021.770201.