Publication
Title
The relation between economic stressors and higher education students' mental health during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic
Author
Abstract
Aims: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on the financial situation of higher education students, disproportionately affecting students with a low socioeconomic status (SES). This raises the question of whether economic stressors related to COVID-19 have aggravated existing socioeconomic inequalities in mental health. This study examined the relationship between economic stressors and students' depressive symptoms, and the role of students' SES and countries' socioeconomic conditions. Methods: Data from the COVID-19 International Student Well-being Study was used for multilevel analyses, with depressive symptoms as dependent variable. Three indicators measured SES: educational level of the parents, ability to borrow money from their social network, and struggling with financial resources prior to COVID-19. Results: Students with a low SES had more depressive symptoms, and those not able to borrow money and with parents without higher education were more exposed to a deterioration in their financial situation. Both economic stressors (reduction in working hours and a deterioration of their financial situation) were positively related to depressive symptoms. In addition, the positive relationship between a decrease in working hours and depressive symptoms was stronger in countries with a higher unemployment rate. Conclusions: We observed socioeconomic inequalities in students' mental health, which, in part, can be ascribed to a larger exposure to the economic stressors related to COVID-19 among students' with a low SES. The macroeconomic context also played a role, as the impact of a reduction in working hours on depressive symptoms was stronger in countries with poor economic conditions.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Scandinavian journal of public health. - Oslo
Publication
London : Sage publications ltd , 2024
ISSN
1403-4948
DOI
10.1177/14034948231185938
Volume/pages
(2024) , p. 1-13
ISI
001136944300001
Pubmed ID
38179954
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Project info
The COVID-19 International Student Well-Being Study.
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identifier
Creation 01.02.2024
Last edited 08.02.2024
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