Note: The write-up below is abstracted from an original research article published by Dr B. Swathi. The title of the original article is A study on Perceived Stress in college Students During Covid-19 Pandemic, published in the Journal of Emerging Technologies and Innovative Research (JETIR) ( www.jetir.org ) ISSN UGC Approved (Journal No: 63975) with 7.95 Impact Factor. Volume 9 Issue 3, March-2022
The whole World is affected due to COVID-19 pandemic and it had a great impact on the lives and mental health of the people. The spread of the virus was very swift and caused global health threats affecting adults and children. The routines were disturbed drastically and many psychological changes were observed in the population due to pandemics like fear, stress, anxiety, insecurity or depression. One of the primary precautions to reduce the spread of the pandemic was social distancing which led to further isolation of people from one another leading to emotional imbalances and mental strain.
The closure of educational institutions was one of the key decisions taken by the Government to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Teaching methodology shifted from physical teaching to virtual mode teaching using technology. Many interactive tools were designed and developed by the institutions / organizations to bridge the gap and facilitate online teaching. These tools demanded smart devices, the support of technology, learning support services and connectivity so on which deprived the majority of the students in attending online classes and completing their courses. Research studies reveal that the new normal situation had a tremendous impact on student drop out ratio, as they lacked the essential tools and services due to the drastic and sudden change in the teaching pedagogy. Students who handled this situation and who continued studies showed poor performance as they lacked the ability to balance the stress and pressure. Therefore, the present study focused on understanding and exploring the perceived stress level amongst students during the Pandemic.
Stress is dynamic and it is influenced by factors like demographic, economic, social and environmental factors. Drastic rate of increasing stress levels in the population is an indication of unresolved problems and tensions prevailing in the material world which are accelerated due to the above factors. Previous research proves that large outbreaks of diseases do have an impact on individual and family’s mental health for eg Ebola, SARS, HINI Swine Flu etc which showed high stress levels amongst middle aged women. Further the degrees of stress levels were higher for the age groups 16 to 25 years. Similarly, socio demographic factors like gender, educational levels, economic status and behavioral factors are also associated with stress amongst adult individuals aged between 25 years to 55 years. Covid 19 pandemic resulted in a state of Perceived stress. It can be defined as the feelings or thoughts that an individual has about how much stress they are under at a given point or over a period of time. Perceived stress measures are used to examine the relationship between stress and other behavioral factors which influence them. The Covid protocols imposing restrictions on daily routine led to massive stress especially to the student community where schools and colleges were closed indefinitely exposing them to uncertainty. The otherwise busy communities suddenly were isolated with fear, panic, depression, de motivation etc. There are many studies conducted worldwide to prove that students have stress about their studies. Therefore, the present study aimed to understand the stress levels and their mental condition in students during Covid-19. The study was based on a sample of 312 respondents, in the age group of 15 to 22 years studying Intermediate and Graduation courses.
Findings and Conclusions
The study finds that the majority of the sample experienced moderate to high stress levels during the pandemic period. Student community was drastically affected due to lockdown, home isolation, closure of educational institutions, online classes etc. Students were not able to cope with online methodology of teaching as they were used to physical or otherwise face to face teaching with personal attention and interaction with the faculty. They were not happy and satisfied with the online classes as it affects their performance in the examination and scores. This really stressed students and affected their mental health which is evident as per the results. Online classes were technology driven which required modern gadgets like smart phones, broadband with continuous connectivity and so on which was an added burden to the family to meet the requirements during pandemic where revenue resources were not continuous or blocked due to lockdown.
In the present study, intermediate students showed less stress than the undergraduate students. This can be due to the fact that the pandemic might affect their future plans like higher education, placements, future concerns etc. As per the gender female showed higher stress levels than male, one reason for this can be due to higher composition of female sample in the study and the other might be due to the household responsibilities, parental pressures, scores in board examinations, emotional balances, expression of thoughts etc. It can be concluded that perceived stress has become a common phenomenon in students irrespective of age and gender and if proper controlling measures are not adopted this will affect their physical and mental well being.