Understanding the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and well-being among university students in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A nested mixed-methods study.

Publication date: Mar 30, 2024

University students are more at risk of mental illness compared with the general population. Declaration of a global COVID-19 pandemic led the Bangladesh government in March 2020 to implement a national lockdown, home quarantining, social distancing measures, and closure of educational institutions. We aimed to explore the impact of lockdown on the mental health and well-being of university students in Bangladesh. A nested mixed-methods survey design was undertaken using a semi structured questionnaire and in-depth interviews conducted by telephone of 73 university students (mean age of 22 years, range 18 to 26-years-old) attending public and private academic institutions in Dhaka. A questionnaire was developed de-novo and pre-tested. Qualitative, open-ended questions were used to understand experiences regarding students’ mental health and well-being, their perceptions of COVID-19, and coping strategies. Fifty nine percent of students reported that lockdown had a significant impact on their mental health and well-being. They described difficulties with social isolation and loneliness, motivation, and interpersonal conflict within families. Students’ knowledge of COVID-19 were high with television, newspapers, online, and social media were main sources of information; few relied on government reports. Most pressing concerns were timely graduation and employment (83%), not being able to socialize (46%), being stuck at home (37%), and financial difficulties regarding university fees (29%). Additional underlying stressors included financial insecurity of respondents’ households and parental health. Coping strategies included watching television or films, online meetings with friends, social media, as well interactions with family. As a result of Bangladesh’s first national lockdown, university students experienced negative effects on their mental health and well-being. There is an urgent need for greater proactive measures within educational settings, such as mental health literacy programmes and diagnosis management that could mitigate and prevent adverse impacts of future lockdowns.

Concepts Keywords
Bangladesh Bangladesh
Interviews Behaviour
Literacy COVID-19
Pandemic Fears
Television Lockdown
Mental health
University students


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease MESH mental illness
disease VO population
disease MESH loneliness

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