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      The psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on college students in China

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          • Methods of guiding students to effectively and appropriately regulate their emotions during public health emergencies and avoid losses caused by crisis events have become an urgent problem for colleges and universities. Therefore, we investigated and analyzed the mental health status of college students during the epidemic for the following purposes. (1) To evaluate the mental situation of college students during the epidemic; (2) to provide a theoretical basis for psychological interventions with college students; and (3) to provide a basis for the promulgation of national and governmental policies.

          Abstract

          A COVID-19 epidemic has been spreading in China and other parts of the world since December 2019. The epidemic has brought not only the risk of death from infection but also unbearable psychological pressure. We sampled college students from Changzhi medical college by using cluster sampling. They responded to a questionnaire packet that included the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) and those inquiring the participants’ basic information. We received 7,143 responses. Results indicated that 0.9% of the respondents were experiencing severe anxiety, 2.7% moderate anxiety, and 21.3% mild anxiety. Moreover, living in urban areas (OR = .810, 95% CI = .709 - .925), family income stability (OR = .726, 95% CI = .645 - .817) and living with parents (OR = .752, 95% CI = .596 - .950) were protective factors against anxiety. Moreover, having relatives or acquaintances infected with COVID-19 was a risk factor for increasing the anxiety of college students (OR = 3.007, 95% CI = 2.377 - 3.804). Results of correlation analysis indicated that economic effects, and effects on daily life, as well as delays in academic activities, were positively associated with anxiety symptoms (P < .001). However, social support was negatively correlated with the level of anxiety (P < .001). It is suggested that the mental health of college students should be monitored during epidemics.

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          Most cited references30

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          A novel coronavirus outbreak of global health concern

          In December, 2019, Wuhan, Hubei province, China, became the centre of an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown cause, which raised intense attention not only within China but internationally. Chinese health authorities did an immediate investigation to characterise and control the disease, including isolation of people suspected to have the disease, close monitoring of contacts, epidemiological and clinical data collection from patients, and development of diagnostic and treatment procedures. By Jan 7, 2020, Chinese scientists had isolated a novel coronavirus (CoV) from patients in Wuhan. The genetic sequence of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) enabled the rapid development of point-of-care real-time RT-PCR diagnostic tests specific for 2019-nCoV (based on full genome sequence data on the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data [GISAID] platform). Cases of 2019-nCoV are no longer limited to Wuhan. Nine exported cases of 2019-nCoV infection have been reported in Thailand, Japan, Korea, the USA, Vietnam, and Singapore to date, and further dissemination through air travel is likely.1, 2, 3, 4, 5 As of Jan 23, 2020, confirmed cases were consecutively reported in 32 provinces, municipalities, and special administrative regions in China, including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. 3 These cases detected outside Wuhan, together with the detection of infection in at least one household cluster—reported by Jasper Fuk-Woo Chan and colleagues 6 in The Lancet—and the recently documented infections in health-care workers caring for patients with 2019-nCoV indicate human-to-human transmission and thus the risk of much wider spread of the disease. As of Jan 23, 2020, a total of 835 cases with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have been detected in China, of whom 25 have died and 93% remain in hospital (figure ). 3 Figure Timeline of early stages of 2019-nCoV outbreak 2019-nCoV=2019 novel coronavirus. In The Lancet, Chaolin Huang and colleagues 7 report clinical features of the first 41 patients admitted to the designated hospital in Wuhan who were confirmed to be infected with 2019-nCoV by Jan 2, 2020. The study findings provide first-hand data about severity of the emerging 2019-nCoV infection. Symptoms resulting from 2019-nCoV infection at the prodromal phase, including fever, dry cough, and malaise, are non-specific. Unlike human coronavirus infections, upper respiratory symptoms are notably infrequent. Intestinal presentations observed with SARS also appear to be uncommon, although two of six cases reported by Chan and colleagues had diarrhoea. 6 Common laboratory findings on admission to hospital include lymphopenia and bilateral ground-glass opacity or consolidation in chest CT scans. These clinical presentations confounded early detection of infected cases, especially against a background of ongoing influenza and circulation of other respiratory viruses. Exposure history to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale market served as an important clue at the early stage, yet its value has decreased as more secondary and tertiary cases have appeared. Of the 41 patients in this cohort, 22 (55%) developed severe dyspnoea and 13 (32%) required admission to an intensive care unit, and six died. 7 Hence, the case-fatality proportion in this cohort is approximately 14·6%, and the overall case fatality proportion appears to be closer to 3% (table ). However, both of these estimates should be treated with great caution because not all patients have concluded their illness (ie, recovered or died) and the true number of infections and full disease spectrum are unknown. Importantly, in emerging viral infection outbreaks the case-fatality ratio is often overestimated in the early stages because case detection is highly biased towards the more severe cases. As further data on the spectrum of mild or asymptomatic infection becomes available, one case of which was documented by Chan and colleagues, 6 the case-fatality ratio is likely to decrease. Nevertheless, the 1918 influenza pandemic is estimated to have had a case-fatality ratio of less than 5% 13 but had an enormous impact due to widespread transmission, so there is no room for complacency. Table Characteristics of patients who have been infected with 2019-nCoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV7, 8, 10, 11, 12 2019-nCoV * MERS-CoV SARS-CoV Demographic Date December, 2019 June, 2012 November, 2002 Location of first detection Wuhan, China Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Guangdong, China Age, years (range) 49 (21–76) 56 (14–94) 39·9 (1–91) Male:female sex ratio 2·7:1 3·3:1 1:1·25 Confirmed cases 835† 2494 8096 Mortality 25† (2·9%) 858 (37%) 744 (10%) Health-care workers 16‡ 9·8% 23·1% Symptoms Fever 40 (98%) 98% 99–100% Dry cough 31 (76%) 47% 29–75% Dyspnoea 22 (55%) 72% 40–42% Diarrhoea 1 (3%) 26% 20–25% Sore throat 0 21% 13–25% Ventilatory support 9·8% 80% 14–20% Data are n, age (range), or n (%) unless otherwise stated. 2019-nCoV=2019 novel coronavirus. MERS-CoV=Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. SARS-CoV=severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. * Demographics and symptoms for 2019-nCoV infection are based on data from the first 41 patients reported by Chaolin Huang and colleagues (admitted before Jan 2, 2020). 8 Case numbers and mortalities are updated up to Jan 21, 2020) as disclosed by the Chinese Health Commission. † Data as of Jan 23, 2020. ‡ Data as of Jan 21, 2020. 9 As an RNA virus, 2019-nCoV still has the inherent feature of a high mutation rate, although like other coronaviruses the mutation rate might be somewhat lower than other RNA viruses because of its genome-encoded exonuclease. This aspect provides the possibility for this newly introduced zoonotic viral pathogen to adapt to become more efficiently transmitted from person to person and possibly become more virulent. Two previous coronavirus outbreaks had been reported in the 21st century. The clinical features of 2019-nCoV, in comparison with SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV, are summarised in the table. The ongoing 2019-nCoV outbreak has undoubtedly caused the memories of the SARS-CoV outbreak starting 17 years ago to resurface in many people. In November, 2002, clusters of pneumonia of unknown cause were reported in Guangdong province, China, now known as the SARS-CoV outbreak. The number of cases of SARS increased substantially in the next year in China and later spread globally, 14 infecting at least 8096 people and causing 774 deaths. 12 The international spread of SARS-CoV in 2003 was attributed to its strong transmission ability under specific circumstances and the insufficient preparedness and implementation of infection control practices. Chinese public health and scientific capabilities have been greatly transformed since 2003. An efficient system is ready for monitoring and responding to infectious disease outbreaks and the 2019-nCoV pneumonia has been quickly added to the Notifiable Communicable Disease List and given the highest priority by Chinese health authorities. The increasing number of cases and widening geographical spread of the disease raise grave concerns about the future trajectory of the outbreak, especially with the Chinese Lunar New Year quickly approaching. Under normal circumstances, an estimated 3 billion trips would be made in the Spring Festival travel rush this year, with 15 million trips happening in Wuhan. The virus might further spread to other places during this festival period and cause epidemics, especially if it has acquired the ability to efficiently transmit from person to person. Consequently, the 2019-nCoV outbreak has led to implementation of extraordinary public health measures to reduce further spread of the virus within China and elsewhere. Although WHO has not recommended any international travelling restrictions so far, 15 the local government in Wuhan announced on Jan 23, 2020, the suspension of public transportation, with closure of airports, railway stations, and highways in the city, to prevent further disease transmission. 16 Further efforts in travel restriction might follow. Active surveillance for new cases and close monitoring of their contacts are being implemented. To improve detection efficiency, front-line clinics, apart from local centres for disease control and prevention, should be armed with validated point-of-care diagnostic kits. Rapid information disclosure is a top priority for disease control and prevention. A daily press release system has been established in China to ensure effective and efficient disclosure of epidemic information. Education campaigns should be launched to promote precautions for travellers, including frequent hand-washing, cough etiquette, and use of personal protection equipment (eg, masks) when visiting public places. Also, the general public should be motivated to report fever and other risk factors for coronavirus infection, including travel history to affected area and close contacts with confirmed or suspected cases. Considering that substantial numbers of patients with SARS and MERS were infected in health-care settings, precautions need to be taken to prevent nosocomial spread of the virus. Unfortunately, 16 health-care workers, some of whom were working in the same ward, have been confirmed to be infected with 2019-nCoV to date, although the routes of transmission and the possible role of so-called super-spreaders remain to be clarified. 9 Epidemiological studies need to be done to assess risk factors for infection in health-care personnel and quantify potential subclinical or asymptomatic infections. Notably, the transmission of SARS-CoV was eventually halted by public health measures including elimination of nosocomial infections. We need to be wary of the current outbreak turning into a sustained epidemic or even a pandemic. The availability of the virus' genetic sequence and initial data on the epidemiology and clinical consequences of the 2019-nCoV infections are only the first steps to understanding the threat posed by this pathogen. Many important questions remain unanswered, including its origin, extent, and duration of transmission in humans, ability to infect other animal hosts, and the spectrum and pathogenesis of human infections. Characterising viral isolates from successive generations of human infections will be key to updating diagnostics and assessing viral evolution. Beyond supportive care, 17 no specific coronavirus antivirals or vaccines of proven efficacy in humans exist, although clinical trials of both are ongoing for MERS-CoV and one controlled trial of ritonavir-boosted lopinavir monotherapy has been launched for 2019-nCoV (ChiCTR2000029308). Future animal model and clinical studies should focus on assessing the effectiveness and safety of promising antiviral drugs, monoclonal and polyclonal neutralising antibody products, and therapeutics directed against immunopathologic host responses. We have to be aware of the challenge and concerns brought by 2019-nCoV to our community. Every effort should be given to understand and control the disease, and the time to act is now. This online publication has been corrected. The corrected version first appeared at thelancet.com on January 29, 2020
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            Mental health care for medical staff in China during the COVID-19 outbreak

            In December, 2019, an outbreak of a novel coronavirus pneumonia occurred in Wuhan (Hubei, China), and subsequently attracted worldwide attention. 1 By Feb 9, 2020, there were 37 294 confirmed and 28 942 suspected cases of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in China. 2 Facing this large-scale infectious public health event, medical staff are under both physical and psychological pressure. 3 To better fight the COVID-19 outbreak, as the largest top-class tertiary hospital in Hunan Province, the Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University undertakes a considerable part of the investigation of suspected patients. The hospital has set up a 24-h fever clinic, two mild suspected infection patient screening wards, and one severe suspected infection patient screening ward. In addition to the original medical staff at the infectious disease department, volunteer medical staff have been recruited from multiple other departments. The Second Xiangya Hospital—workplace of the chairman of the Psychological Rescue Branch of the Chinese Medical Rescue Association—and the Institute of Mental Health, the Medical Psychology Research Center of the Second Xiangya Hospital, and the Chinese Medical and Psychological Disease Clinical Medicine Research Center responded rapidly to the psychological pressures on staff. A detailed psychological intervention plan was developed, which mainly covered the following three areas: building a psychological intervention medical team, which provided online courses to guide medical staff to deal with common psychological problems; a psychological assistance hotline team, which provided guidance and supervision to solve psychological problems; and psychological interventions, which provided various group activities to release stress. However, the implementation of psychological intervention services encountered obstacles, as medical staff were reluctant to participate in the group or individual psychology interventions provided to them. Moreover, individual nurses showed excitability, irritability, unwillingness to rest, and signs of psychological distress, but refused any psychological help and stated that they did not have any problems. In a 30-min interview survey with 13 medical staff at The Second Xiangya Hospital, several reasons were discovered for this refusal of help. First, getting infected was not an immediate worry to staff—they did not worry about this once they began work. Second, they did not want their families to worry about them and were afraid of bringing the virus to their home. Third, staff did not know how to deal with patients when they were unwilling to be quarantined at the hospital or did not cooperate with medical measures because of panic or a lack of knowledge about the disease. Additionally, staff worried about the shortage of protective equipment and feelings of incapability when faced with critically ill patients. Many staff mentioned that they did not need a psychologist, but needed more rest without interruption and enough protective supplies. Finally, they suggested training on psychological skills to deal with patients' anxiety, panic, and other emotional problems and, if possible, for mental health staff to be on hand to directly help these patients. Accordingly, the measures of psychological intervention were adjusted. First, the hospital provided a place for rest where staff could temporarily isolate themselves from their family. The hospital also guaranteed food and daily living supplies, and helped staff to video record their routines in the hospital to share with their families and alleviate family members' concerns. Second, in addition to disease knowledge and protective measures, pre-job training was arranged to address identification of and responses to psychological problems in patients with COVID-19, and hospital security staff were available to be sent to help deal with uncooperative patients. Third, the hospital developed detailed rules on the use and management of protective equipment to reduce worry. Fourth, leisure activities and training on how to relax were properly arranged to help staff reduce stress. Finally, psychological counsellors regularly visited the rest area to listen to difficulties or stories encountered by staff at work, and provide support accordingly. More than 100 frontline medical staff can rest in the provided rest place, and most of them report feeling at home in this accomodation. Maintaining staff mental health is essential to better control infectious diseases, although the best approach to this during the epidemic season remains unclear.4, 5 The learning from these psychological interventions is expected to help the Chinese government and other parts of the world to better respond to future unexpected infectious disease outbreaks.
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              2019-nCoV epidemic: address mental health care to empower society

              A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been identified as originating in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It has widely and rapidly spread in China and several other countries, causing an outbreak of acute infectious pneumonia. According to the official website of the National Health Commission, 1 as of Feb 4, 2020, 24 324 people have been confirmed to have a 2019-nCoV infection and 490 deaths have resulted from 2019-nCoV in 31 provinces in mainland China. 1 16 678 confirmed cases were in Hubei province. 2 Nearly 160 cases of 2019-nCoV have been detected and confirmed in southeast Asia (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Cambodia), east Asia (Japan and Korea), south Asia (India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka), western Asia (United Arab Emirates), Europe (Germany, France, Italy, UK, Russia, Finland, Spain, and Sweden), North America (USA and Canada), and Australia. 3 Approximately 13% of people with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection are reported to have severe respiratory symptoms, 2% have died, and 4% have been cured. 1 Human-to-human transmission is occurring, and WHO has recommended limiting human-to-human transmission by reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health-care workers, preventing transmission amplification events, and preventing further international spread.3, 4 The outbreak of 2019-nCoV in China has caused public panic and mental health stress. The increasing number of patients and suspected cases, and the increasing number of outbreak-affected provinces and countries have elicited public worry about becoming infected. The unpredictable future of this epidemic has been exacerbated by myths and misinformation, often driven by erroneous news reports and the public's misunderstanding of health messages, thus causing worry in the population. Further travel bans and some executive orders to quarantine travellers during the Spring Festival holiday might have generated public anxiety while trying to contain the outbreak. The medical health-care workers who are caring for individuals who are either severely ill, feel scared, or experiencing bereavement are themselves exposed to trauma. Health-care workers are also at risk of getting infected, and they carry a large burden in the clinical treatment and public prevention efforts in Chinese hospitals and community settings. The challenges and stress they experience could trigger common mental disorders, including anxiety and depressive disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder, 5 which in turn could result in hazards that exceed the consequences of the 2019-nCoV epidemic itself. To efficiently cope with the 2019-nCoV outbreak, the Chinese Government has implemented rapid and comprehensive public health emergency interventions. To date, all of the 31 provincial-level regions in mainland China with confirmed 2019-nCoV cases have activated so-called level 1 public health emergency responses (ie, the highest level of emergency public health alerts and responses within the national public health management system). 6 The provincial governments are responsible for organising, coordinating, and handling all emergency public health treatments, disclosing information, and gathering emergency materials and facilities under the guidance of the State Council. For health-care sectors, in addition to public health interventions, dealing with public psychological barriers and performing psychological crisis intervention is included in the level 1 response. The National Health Commission has released guidelines for local authorities to promote psychological crisis intervention for patients, medical personnel, and people under medical observation during the 2019-nCoV outbreak. 7 Peking University is preparing a mental health handbook for the public that describes how to deal with stress and other psychological problems occurring due to the outbreak of 2019-nCoV. 8 The Chinese Government strives to improve the public's awareness of prevention and intervention strategies by providing daily updates about surveillance and active cases on websites and social media. Increasingly, psychologists and psychiatrists use the internet and social media (eg, WeChat, Weibo, etc) to share strategies for dealing with psychological stress. For example, experts from Peking University Sixth Hospital made six suggestions for the public to cope with mental stress. 9 These included assessing the accuracy of information disclosed, enhancing social support systems (eg, families and friends), eliminating stigma associated with the epidemic, maintaining a normal life under safe conditions, and using the psychosocial service system, particularly telephone-based and internet-based counselling for health-care staff, patients, family members, and the public. Numerous psychiatric hospitals, psychological counselling centres, and psychology departments within universities have launched specialised hotlines to provide psychological counselling services for people in need. 7 We believe that including mental health care in the national public health emergency system will empower China and the world during the campaign to contain and eradicate 2019-nCoV.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Psychiatry Res
                Psychiatry Res
                Psychiatry Research
                Elsevier/North-Holland Biomedical Press
                0165-1781
                1872-7123
                20 March 2020
                20 March 2020
                : 112934
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Preventive Medicine, Chang Zhi Medical College, Changzhi, Shanxi, China
                [b ]Department of Neonatology, Changzhi Maternal and Child Care Hospital, Changzhi, Shanxi, China
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding authors: Department of Preventive Medicine, Chang Zhi Medical College, Changzhi 046000, China. wjcao16@ 123456czmc.edu.cn zjzhong4183@ 123456163.com
                [1]

                Wenjun Cao, Ziwei Fang, and Guoqiang Hou made equal contributions

                Article
                S0165-1781(20)30540-0 112934
                10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112934
                7102633
                32229390
                095743f9-3c5c-4bf7-a428-4e8d3e600dfe
                © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                History
                : 14 March 2020
                : 18 March 2020
                : 19 March 2020
                Categories
                Article

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                covid-19,college students,psychological
                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                covid-19, college students, psychological

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