Original Research

Promotive factors associated with internalising symptoms amongst college students during the COVID-19 lockdown in Enugu metropolis, Nigeria

Awoere Chinawa, Ann Aronu, Edmund Ossai, Josephat Chinawa
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 28 | a1672 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v28i0.1672 | © 2022 Awoere Chinawa, Ann Aronu, Edmund Ossai, Josephat Chinawa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 December 2020 | Published: 15 February 2022

About the author(s)

Awoere Chinawa, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Enugu State University College of Medicine, Enugu, Nigeria
Ann Aronu, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria
Edmund Ossai, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ebonyi State University, Abakiliki, Nigeria
Josephat Chinawa, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria


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Abstract

Background: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused a high burden of psychological distress amongst adolescents.

Aim: This study aimed to evaluate associations of personal strengths including resilience and social support with internalising symptoms amongst college students during the lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Setting: The study population included students from senior and junior college classes in public schools in Enugu metropolis, Nigeria.

Method: A school-based cross-sectional study design was employed for the study. A two-stage sampling technique was used to select 496 students (mean age = 16.5, s.d. = 1.9 years; 52.2% female) in six out of 33 public colleges in Enugu metropolis, Nigeria during the lockdown period occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Validated questionnaires assessing anxiety, depression, resilience and social support were used to collect information.

Results: Most of the students reported depressive symptoms, whilst just over a third of the sample reported anxiety or both depressive and anxiety symptoms. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses revealed that being male and reporting higher levels of social support and the ability to bounce back from stress were associated with less anxiety. Being younger and reporting a moderate level of support were associated with more depressive symptoms, whilst the ability to bounce back was associated with fewer depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: Good social support and the ability to bounce back from stress were linked to lower levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms amongst college adolescents during the lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic despite high prevalence rates.


Keywords

COVID-19; anxiety symptoms; depressive symptoms; college adolescents; social support; resilience, Enugu metropolis, Nigeria

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