Stress and coping strategies for international students in China during COVID-19 pandemic
Keywords:International students, china, stress, anxiety, indoor physical activities, coping strategy
Background: The contagious COVID-19 coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan city of China and its rapid spreading led to the historic nationwide lockdown of China from January to April 2020, which imposed a heavy impact on both the routine life and the mental health. The international students studying in China experienced this lockdown, during which their stress, anxiety and the coping strategies employed need to be explored.
Methods: One hundred international students studying in different provinces/cities in China were surveyed by completing online questionnaire to evaluate the stress and anxiety and to identify the factors responsible for the stress and the effective coping strategies used during the nationwide lockdown of China.
Results: The study reveals that 84% of the students were worried about the pandemic while 70% of students were observed to be stressed at the self-identified medium level during the nationwide lockdown. Factors closely related to study performance were the most influential for international students. Indoor aerobic physical exercises were most widely employed by international students to cope with stress. In this study, we also noticed that 15% of international students did not do any particular activities to cope with stress or use alcohol or smoking as a stress-coping strategy.
Conclusion: The study recommends that international students in China need to be trained and educated in stress awareness and coping to improve their physical and mental health for better academic performance during an emergency situation like a nationwide lockdown.
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