Posted: 2021-11-10 20:00:00
Previous studies have shown the negative impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on students' mental health. It is, however, uncertain whether students are really at higher risk of mental health disturbances than non-students and if they are differentially impacted by lockdown periods over time. The objective of our study was to compare the frequency of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts in students and non-students enrolled in the same study in France and during the same key periods of the COVID-19 epidemic. Using a repeated cross-sectional design, we collected data from a sample of 3783 participants in the CONFINS study during three recruitment waves between March 2020 and January 2021. Multivariate logistic regression models, adjusted for potential confounding factors, showed that students were more likely to have high scores of depressive symptoms and anxiety more frequently than non-students. These differences were particularly strong during the first (depressive symptoms: adjusted odds ratio aOR 1.59, 95% CI 1.22-2.08; anxiety: aOR 1.63, 95% CI 1.22-2.18) and second lockdowns (depressive symptoms: aOR 1.80, 95% CI 1.04-3.12; anxiety: aOR 2.25, 95% CI 1.24-4.10). These findings suggest that the restrictive measures-lockdown and curfew-have an alarmingly stronger negative impact on students than on non-students and underline the frailty of students' mental health and the need to pay greater attention to this population in this epidemic-related context.
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