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Study to examine mental health of students

By BO LEUNG in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-06-23 10:22
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The mental health and wellbeing of students at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom during the novel coronavirus pandemic is to be monitored as part of a study by psychologists.

Researchers are also reaching out to Warwick's Chinese student population to learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting them.

Working alongside the Warwick Students' Union, the Warwick Chinese Society and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, experts hope this will ensure Chinese student are represented and the data gathered reflects the diversity of the university's international cohort.

Nicole Tang from the university's department of psychology is leading this study. "We welcome students from all over the world and we have over 3,000 students from China. We really care about our Chinese students and this project is one of many initiatives to ensure a safe, pleasant and supporting environment for them," she said.

The screen and track study is led by the Sleep and Pain Laboratory at the university's psychology department. In the first phase of the study, participants will be asked to share their concerns and feelings and complete a survey of symptoms and behaviors.

In the second phase, students taking part will be offered a wearable device that tracks their mood, sleep, and physical activity in real time.

The university said the data from the study will be used to keep students safe and well, to ensure the resilience of campus support services, and to provide crucial scientific information on how COVID-19 is affecting people's mental wellbeing.

Tang said the novel coronavirus pandemic and lockdown measures have brought uncertainty to daily life. "The restriction of movement and the accompanying social distancing measures have changed our daily routine; the way we work, learn and study, the way we exercise, the way we do our shopping, the way we seek entertainment, and the way we socialize and relate with people," she said.

"The impact of these changes on our long-term mental health, however, is not well understood, and this is why we are conducting this study to track changes in wellbeing in our student participants over the next 12 months, as we gradually resume teaching and learning activities in the next phase of the pandemic."

Tiana Holgate, welfare and campaigns officer for Warwick Students' Union, said: "This unprecedented time has had a huge impact on students. This research is a vital piece of work from the psychology department, to give us a greater understanding into the unique experiences of students."

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