Mental Health Problems among College Students in India during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Context of Disruptions in Academics and Interpersonal Relationships

  •  Elizabeth Thomas    
  •  Vaishali V. Raval    
  •  Annie James    
  •  Anjali T. Jain    
  •  Tony Sam George    


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant disruptions in daily lives, contributing to mental health problems around the world, with young adults being a particularly vulnerable population for mental health problems (Varma et al., 2021). In the current study, we explored perspectives on how the pandemic had affected their lives, and examined frequency of mental health problems among college students in India during the middle phase of the pandemic. Participants (N = 455, 65% women, Mage = 20.62 years) responded to open-ended questions and completed self-report measures of anxiety, depressive symptoms, emotion dysregulation, and dysfunctional coping, and skills use. Thematic analysis of open-ended responses yielded nine themes across three domains: Major concerns, impact on academics and learning, and impact on relationships. Mental health symptomatology was identified as the most common concern, and approximately 50% of the sample scored above the clinical cut off on the self-report measure for either anxiety or depression, indicating a moderately high level of distress. Difficulties in effectively regulating one’s negative emotions and dysfunctional coping uniquely predicted higher anxiety and depression, whereas adaptive coping predicted lower depression. The findings demonstrate that college students in India are struggling with mental health during the pandemic. Facilitating emotion regulation and coping may be potential targets for intervention.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0526
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0534
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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