COVID -19 Lockdown Anxieties: Is student a vulnerable group?
Background: Students staying safe and comfortable at homes during this lockdown do have much impact on the anxiety levels.
Aim: This study compares the anxiety levels of state in the first year medical students in two situations like few days prior to their scheduled internal examination and during the COVID 19 lockdown period.
Methods: This prospective study involved consenting first year MBBS students. State version of State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI – S) was used to assess the level of anxiety through Google forms. The link to the form was given two times to the students in the state of anxiety; first time, a few days prior to the scheduled internal examination and then after 54 days of the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown. The cut-off score of 40 defines probable clinical levels of anxiety.
Results: Response rates were 119 (79.3%) during the first time and 134 (89.3%) the second time. A total of 101 students (67.3%) responded to the STAI-S questionnaire in both situations. The mean anxiety scores were significantly lower in students before the internal examination than that of the COVID -19 lockdown period [(45.70±11.42) vs (47.97±10.80); p – 0.0394]. With cut off value of 40, 65 students were anxious before internal examination while 78 were anxious during the lockdown period.
Conclusions: This study reveals students are a vulnerable group having high anxiety due to COVID – 19 lockdown, which may be due to future academic uncertainties, restricted movement and adjustment with family members. It is essential that students are assessed for anxiety, stress and depression at regular intervals, and active intervention is provided to them in such situations.