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An online survey on stress, anxiety, and depression in terminal batch students of 2020 during lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic

 Department of Neurology, Bangur Institute of Neurosciences, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Submission30-Aug-2021
Date of Decision30-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance30-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Atanu Biswas,
Department of Neurology, Bangur Institute of Neurosciences, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, 52/1A, S. N. Pandit Street, Kolkata - 700 025, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_715_21

How to cite this URL:
Bhattacharyya B, Mukherjee R, Chakraborty A, Mukherjee A, Das G, Biswas A. An online survey on stress, anxiety, and depression in terminal batch students of 2020 during lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2022 Dec 7]. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=339390

Dear Sir,

The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has its effects throughout the world.[1] The educational institutions were closed from March 2020 for the safety of students. Some examinations of class 10 and 12 boards were stopped midway. Other examinations were postponed indefinitely, and the fate of many terminal examinations in college and university level was uncertain. This situation has the potential of creating stress in students. The negative evaluation of future and uncertainty may give rise to depressive cognitions and anxiousness. The situation can have impact on their mental health. We aimed to find out stress, anxiety, and depression in students during the time when the terminal examinations were uncertain and if any difference exists between professional and nonprofessional courses.

The survey was conducted via snow-ball technique on students of courses which was scheduled to end in 2020 (class 12 boards, diploma, graduation, postgraduation, or other courses after graduation/masters) during the month of July and August 2020.

After initial screening, students were sent the Google Form via social media along with necessary instructions and were asked to circulate. The form contains (i) The Personal Information Form: This was used to collect sociodemographic information, detail of courses, examination and result status, and query regarding COVID-19 contamination, anxiety, and financial condition. Questions regarding sleep, appetite, and energy were also enquired, and (ii) Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21.[2] Necessary scoring and statistical analysis were done thereafter.

Data were collected from 163 students. Among them, 63% were female; 71% was urban; the age ranged from 16 to 35 years; and 61% were in the range of 21–25 years. While 60% of the students reported decreased sleep, 45% decreased appetite, and 68% decreased energy during lockdown. Among all, 41% had stress, 48% had anxiety, and 63% had depression from mild to extreme level [Table 1].
Table 1: Comparison of stress, anxiety, and depression among students in different levels of education and in different COVID-19-related problems

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The reported decrease of sleep, appetite, and energy might be due to the change in routine activities for being stuck at home. During lockdown, there has been delay in bedtime and in wake-up in students[3] and 17.7% have experienced lower appetite during COVID-19 emergency.[4]

Students of nonprofessional courses had significantly higher stress, anxiety, and depression than corresponding counterparts of professional courses at school and graduation level. However, there were no significant differences between stress, anxiety, and depression of students at the master's level in professional and nonprofessional courses. Previous research shows that professional students have more stress as compared to nonprofessional students.[5] The contrary in findings might be because Non professional course (NPC) students were stressed as most of the nonprofessional graduation and master's level examinations were uncertain at the time of the study.

Financial problem during lockdown was associated with significantly high anxiety and depression. Students who reported to have COVID-19–related anxiety had significantly higher amount of stress, anxiety, and depression. Students whose classes ended before lockdown had higher stress and depression than students whose classes were going on or stopped for lockdown. Delay in examination might have caused a greater emotional problem. Students whose examinations were scheduled had higher stress and anxiety, but those having examination state as undecided had higher levels of depression. Stress and anxiety are natural for examination-going students, but depression in the latter group is probably related to uncertainty about future.

To conclude, students who were at the end of courses faced stress (41%), anxiety (48%), and depression (63%) from mild to extreme level. Decrease in sleep, energy, and appetite was also reported.

Ethics clearance

The research proposal was approved by the institutional ethics committee (vide Memo No. IPGMER/IEC/2020/631, dated September 09, 2020).

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization, WHO Director-General's Opening Remarks at the Media Briefing on COVID 19, viewed September 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/director-general/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 11].  Back to cited text no. 1
Lovibond SH, Lovibond PF. Manual for the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales. 2nd ed. Sydney: Psychology Foundation of Australia; 1995.  Back to cited text no. 2
Marelli S, Castelnuovo A, Somma A, Castronovo V, Mombelli S, Bottoni D, et al. Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on sleep quality in university students and administration staff. J Neurol 2021;268:8-15.  Back to cited text no. 3
Di Renzo L, Gualtieri P, Pivari F, Soldati L, Attinà A, Cinelli G, et al. Eating habits and lifestyle changes during COVID-19 lockdown: An Italian survey. J Transl Med 2020;18:229. [doi: 10.1186/s12967-020-02399-5].  Back to cited text no. 4
Singh A, Singh S. Stress and adjustment among professional and non professional students. Ind Psychiatry J 2008;17:26-7.Letter to the Editor  Back to cited text no. 5
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