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JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(10): e26840, 2021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141319


BACKGROUND: The outbreak of COVID-19 in China occurred around the Chinese New Year (January 25, 2020), and infections decreased continuously afterward. General adoption of preventive measures during the Chinese New Year period was crucial in driving the decline. It is imperative to investigate preventive behaviors among Chinese university students, who could have spread COVID-19 when travelling home during the Chinese New Year break. OBJECTIVE: In this study, we investigated levels of COVID-19-related personal measures undertaken during the 7-day Chinese New Year holidays by university students in China, and associated COVID-19-related cognitive factors. METHODS: A cross-sectional anonymous web-based survey was conducted during the period from February 1 to 10, 2020. Data from 23,863 students (from 26 universities, 16 cities, 13 provincial-level regions) about personal measures (frequent face-mask wearing, frequent handwashing, frequent home staying, and an indicator that combined the 3 behaviors) were analyzed (overall response rate 70%). Multilevel multiple logistic regression analysis was performed. RESULTS: Only 28.0% of respondents (6684/23,863) had left home for >4 hours, and 49.3% (11,757/23,863) had never left home during the 7-day Chinese New Year period; 79.7% (19,026/23,863) always used face-masks in public areas. The frequency of handwashing with soap was relatively low (6424/23,863, 26.9% for >5 times/day); 72.4% (17,282/23,863) had frequently undertaken ≥2 of these 3 measures. COVID-19-related cognitive factors (perceptions on modes of transmission, permanent bodily damage, efficacy of personal or governmental preventive measures, nonavailability of vaccines and treatments) were significantly associated with preventive measures. Associations with frequent face-mask wearing were stronger than those with frequent home staying. CONCLUSIONS: University students had strong behavioral responses during the very early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak. Levels of personal prevention, especially frequent home staying and face-mask wearing, were high. Health promotion may modify cognitive factors. Some structural factors (eg, social distancing policy) might explain why the frequency of home staying was higher than that of handwashing. Other populations might have behaved similarly; however, such data were not available to us.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , China/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Hand Disinfection , Humans , Male , Masks , Physical Distancing , Students , Surveys and Questionnaires , Universities
JMIR Ment Health ; 8(2): e22705, 2021 Feb 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1094111


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 epidemic may elevate mental distress and depressive symptoms in various populations in China. OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the levels of depression and mental distress due to COVID-19, and the associations between cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial factors, and depression and mental distress due to COVID-19 among university students in China. METHODS: A large-scale online cross-sectional study (16 cities in 13 provinces) was conducted among university students from February 1 to 10, 2020, in China; 23,863 valid questionnaires were returned. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 was used to assess depression. Structural equation modeling was performed to test mediation and suppression effects. RESULTS: Of the 23,863 participants, 47.1% (n=11,235) reported high or very high levels of one or more types of mental distress due to COVID-19; 39.1% (n=9326) showed mild to severe depression. Mental distress due to COVID-19 was positively associated with depression. All but one factor (perceived infection risks, perceived chance of controlling the epidemic, staying at home, contacted people from Wuhan, and perceived discrimination) were significantly associated with mental distress due to COVID-19 and depression. Mental distress due to COVID-19 partially mediated and suppressed the associations between some of the studied factors and depression (effect size of 6.0%-79.5%). CONCLUSIONS: Both mental distress due to COVID-19 and depression were prevalent among university students in China; the former may have increased the prevalence of the latter. The studied cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial factors related to COVID-19 may directly or indirectly (via mental distress due to COVID-19) affect depression. Interventions to modify such factors may reduce mental distress and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Am Psychol ; 75(5): 607-617, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-647841


Quarantine plays a key role in controlling the pandemic of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This study investigated (a) the associations between mandatory quarantine status and negative cognitions (perceived discrimination because of COVID-19 and perceived risk of COVID-19 infection)/mental health status (emotional distress because of COVID-19, probable depression, and self-harm/suicidal ideation), (b) the associations between the negative cognitions and mental health status, and (c) potential mediations between quarantined status and probable depression and self-harm/suicidal ideation via COVID-19-related negative cognitions/emotional distress. An online cross-sectional survey was conducted among 24,378 students of 26 universities in 16 Chinese cities (February 1-10, 2020). Correlation coefficients, odds ratios (OR), structural equation modeling, and other statistics were used for data analysis. Mandatory quarantined status was significantly and positively associated with perceived discrimination (Cohen's d = 0.62), perceived high/very high risk of infection (OR = 1.61), emotional distress (Cohen's d = 0.46), probable depression (OR = 2.54), and self-harm/suicidal ideation (OR = 4.98). Perceived discrimination was moderately and positively associated with emotional distress (Spearman correlation = 0.44). Associations between perceived risk of infection and mental health variables were significant but relatively weak. Cross-sectional mediation models showed good model fit, but the overall indirect paths via COVID-19-related negative cognitions/emotional distress only accounted for 12-15% of the total effects between quarantined status and probable depression and self-harm/suicidal ideation. In conclusion, quarantined participants were more likely than others to perceive discrimination and exhibit mental distress. It is important to integrate mental health care into the planning and implementation of quarantine measures. Future longitudinal studies to explore mechanisms underlying the mental health impact of quarantines are warranted. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

Cognition , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Depression/psychology , Mandatory Programs , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Quarantine/psychology , Self-Injurious Behavior/psychology , Suicidal Ideation , Adolescent , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Male , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Psychological Distress , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data , Risk , SARS-CoV-2 , Self-Injurious Behavior/epidemiology , Students/psychology , Students/statistics & numerical data , Surveys and Questionnaires , Universities , Young Adult