Relationship between Mental Health and COVID-19 amongst the University Students in South Africa

Proceedings of The 5th International Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2022



Relationship between Mental Health and COVID-19 amongst the University Students in South Africa

Tlou Daisy Raphela



Literature around the world have reported disaster to exacerbate mental health status of the affected communities. However, mental health research have received little attention especially in developing countries. Moreover, mental health status of university students has received little attention. This study therefore, aim to understand the relationship between mental health and COVID-19 amongst the university of the Free State (UFS) students in South Africa using depression as a mental health measure.

I tested wether several demographic variables of the students and other variables that have been reported to have an influence on human mental health were significant predictors of depression amongst the UFS students.

Using data from an online survey, I applied Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs) to assess depression as the only outcome variable used by this study.

The results of the GLMMs did not reveal a significant relationship between biological science majors, preffered source of COVID-19 news, the gender of the students and depression reports. However, a statistically significant relationship was shown for age of the students and depression reports. Also, the students’ year of study had a significant influence on the depression reports.

The study confirms ealier studies, that indicated age as a predictor of depression, also studies that link the female gender with depression. A new variable that predicted depression reports was the year of study of the student. Even though, source of media did not predict depression reports, this is one of the most important variables when testing mental health amongst communities especially during a pandemic. More studies within government should consider this variable especially with social media taking up the world as we move towards the 4th industrial revolution.

keywords: depression, gender, age, COVID-19, mental health, university students .