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Supplementary Material for: A Longitudinal Study on the Mental Health of College Students in Jinan During the Peak Stage of the COVID-19 Epidemic and the Society Reopening

posted on 12.10.2021, 18:25 by Zheng X., Guo Y., Ma W., Yang H., Luo L., Wen L., Zhou X., Li Q., Bi J., Wang P., Wang H.
Introduction: COVID-19, a continuously emerging human-to-human infectious disease, has exerted a significant impact on the mental health of college students. However, little is known regarding the variations in the mental health issues experienced by college students during the peak versus reopening stages of the COVID-19 epidemic in China. Methods: To assess these issues, an online longitudinal survey was conducted via a WeChat applet. Undergraduates (n = 300) were recruited from 26 universities throughout Jinan in February 2020 (T1 – the epidemic peak stage) and in January 2021 (T2 – the society reopening stage). Their mental status was determined using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 item, and the Insomnia Severity Index. Results: Of the original 300 college students recruited for this survey, 294 responses at T1 and 285 at T2 were analyzed. Compared with responses obtained at T1, college students at T2 showed a greater prevalence of depression (65.3 vs. 51.0%; p = 0.001) and anxiety (47.7 vs. 38.1%, p = 0.019), and experienced more severe depression (p < 0.001) and anxiety (p < 0.001). Both males (p = 0.03) and females (p < 0.01) showed higher levels of depression at T2 versus T1, while no differences were obtained with regard to anxiety and insomnia. At T1, Grade 4 students showed greater levels of depression (p = 0.005) and anxiety (p = 0.008) than that of Grade 1 students. While at T2, only greater levels of depression (p = 0.004) were present when compared with that of Grade 1 students. Additionally, Grade 4 college students demonstrated a greater prevalence of depression at T2 versus T1 (p = 0.03), but no statistically differences were present for anxiety and insomnia. No statistically significant differences were obtained among the 4 grades of college students for insomnia at either the T1 or T2. Conclusion: With progression of the COVID-19 epidemic, college students showed increasing levels of depression and anxiety, with Grade 4 college students being most seriously affected. It is imperative that intervention strategies be implemented to mitigate against these mental health issues resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic.