Retrospective Cohort Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. Jun 19, 2021; 11(6): 232-241
Published online Jun 19, 2021. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i6.232
COVID-19 impact on high school student’s education and mental health: A cohort survey in China
Zhong-Ren Ma, Wei-Hua Ma, Sakinah Idris, Qiu-Wei Pan, Zulqarnain Baloch
Zhong-Ren Ma, Wei-Hua Ma, Qiu-Wei Pan, Biomedical Research Center, Northwest Minzu University, Lanzhou 730030, Gansu Province, China
Sakinah Idris, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Batu Caves 68100, Selangor, Malaysia
Zulqarnain Baloch, Center for Molecular Medicine in Yunnan Province, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Kunming 650500, Yunnan Province, China
Author contributions: All authors contributed to the concept of this study; Baloch Z, Pan QW and Ma ZR designed the study; Ma WH and Baloch Z acquired and analyzed data; Baloch Z, Idris S and Pan QW wrote the manuscript; All the authors reviewed and approved the final manuscript.
Institutional review board statement: The Institutional Review Ethical Committee of Northwest Minzu University reviewed and approved the protocol used in this study.
Informed consent statement: Consent was obtained individually from each participant.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All authors declare no competing interests.
Data sharing statement: The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to the risk of compromising the individual privacy of participants, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
STROBE statement: The authors have read the STROBE Statement-checklist of items, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the STROBE Statement-checklist of items.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Zulqarnain Baloch, PhD, Professor, Center for Molecular Medicine in Yunnan Province, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Wu Jiaying Street, Chenggong District, Kunming 650500, Yunnan Province, China.
Received: December 12, 2020
Peer-review started: December 12, 2020
First decision: January 7, 2021
Revised: January 25, 2021
Accepted: April 26, 2021
Article in press: April 26, 2021
Published online: June 19, 2021
Research background

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic control measures are disturbing every aspect of our daily lives. School closures have been widely implemented according to COVID-19 cases in the world. Therefore, approximately 90% of the global student population is confined at home.

Research motivation

School education was suddenly replaced with a virtual education system but the education sector was not ready to adopt it. Therefore, the effects of this new education system on student learning remain ambiguous. Additionally, the risks of infection and confinement at home are affecting student education and psychological health.

Research objectives

The current study was designed to explore the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and their associated factors in high school students and their assessment of the online education system.

Research methods

The first, second and third-year students of a high school at Lanzhou were invited to participate via WeChat, a local social media app in this study. Descriptive and inferential statistics were calculated using SPSS version 20.0 for Windows (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, United States). All statistical tests were two-sided, and a P value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Research results

In total, 883 students were included in this study. Among them, 33.4% were first year, 23.6% were second year, and 43.0% were third year students. The majority (98.1%) of students’ families were well-aware of COVID-19. Overall, 41.6% of students were affected economically, and 22.1% were affected psychologically due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Interestingly, 14.9% of students said that they were not affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. In this study, the prevalence of PTSD symptoms was 33.0%, and its prevalence was significantly higher in rural students (P = 0.001) than in urban students. The high prevalence of PTSD symptoms significantly correlated with the education level, residential background, parent’s profession and family monthly income.

Research conclusions

In summary, our results showed that the prevalence of PTSD symptoms was 33.0% among high school students due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and a significantly high prevalence occurred in students who live in rural areas and whose parents had low-grade jobs and education level. Our results further highlighted that the COVID-19 epidemic has also affected the final year student’s national college entrance exam preparation. Most notably, the majority of respondents were not pleased with the virtual education system.

Research perspectives

Education department officials should take measures to optimize the online education system and guarantee equal access to the digital learning devices. Further, we suggest that effective measures should also be implemented to minimize the risk of psychological issues caused by COVID-19 on students.