Psychological Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Students of the School of Medicine University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, Ghana

Author(s): Rejoice Enyonam Hoedoafia, Peter Mintir Amadu, Hawawu Hussein

Background: COVID-19 pandemic is a severe acute respiratory infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome virus and has psychological impact on many people with COVID-19, including students. Mental health and psychological well-being have been a concern of the World Health Organization since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Objective: This study sort to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on students of the School of Medicine (SoM), University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale Dungu Campus.

Method: An online survey was sent to the medical students of the University for Development Studies through online communication during the first week of June 2022 by using a non-probability snowball sampling. The survey included a short version of Depression, Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) and socio-demographic data. These completed questionnaires were analysed based on the objectives of the study using the STATA 13 software.

Results: The results revealed that students experienced stress, anxiety and depression. About 10 % to 8.0% experienced mild to moderate levels of stress. In respect of anxiety, about 5.3% and 9% respectively, experienced severe to extremely severe forms of anxiety. The proportion of students who experienced depression, mild to severe forms, ranged between 8% to 9 %. The results of the bivariate and multiple binary logistic regression test show that being in Problem Based Learning 6 (PBL 6) and sleeping less than 6hours increased the risk of stress among UDS medical students that produced p-values of 0.001 and 0.007 respectively for anxiety. Being in PBL 4 & 6 and sleeping less than 6 hours increase the risk of anxiety with a p-value of 0.007and 0.001 respectively. The results further reveal that students in PBL 6 had significant p-value of 0.001 for stress and those with sources of support from benefactors had a significant p-value of 0.02.

Conclusion: The study revealed that COVID-19 had a psychological impact on medical students in the clinical years whereby some of the students experienced extremely severe form of anxiety, severe form of depression and moderate level of stress. Efforts should be made to provide, encourage and support students of the UDS School of Medicine to adopt proper coping mechanisms to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on their psychological wellbeing.

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