The impact of Covid-19 on wellbeing in higher education: the student and academic in the pandemic

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


This research seeks to explore the impact that the pandemic, SARs-COV-2 (Coronavirus disease, 2019) has on the mental health and wellbeing of students and academics in higher education. The aim of the project is to explore the effect of common stressors (including social media use and work-life conflicts), health promoting behaviours (including physical activity and sleep/substance use) and resilience on the mental health and wellbeing of students and academics.
Using mixed methods and volunteer/snowballing sampling the preliminary phase of the study has recruited academics and students from higher education institutions across England. Participants completed cross-sectional questionnaires (N=25 academics / N=46 students) and semi-structured interviews (N=5 academics) and were asked to reflect on variables pre covid and during the first national lockdown. Data were quantitatively analysed using repeated measures ANOVA and multiple regression and qualitatively analysed using a thematic approach followed by synthesis using a concurrent triangulation mixed method framework.
There was a significant time difference for academics and student in the level of wellbeing, depression, anxiety, life satisfaction, resilience, sleep/substance use and work-life conflicts. Group effects were found for resilience and anxiety. The regression analysis revealed a highly significant model with 75.5% of the variance being predicted. Individuals with higher level of resilience and life satisfaction with lower level of work-life conflicts reported higher level of wellbeing during the lockdown. Qualitative findings are still underdoing preliminary analysis however early themes demonstrate the importance of physical activity, resilience, coping and a work-life balance.
These findings highlight specific risk factors for poor wellbeing. Though generalizability is limited by a small sample size, there is a need to explore how everyday stressors, work-life conflict, life satisfaction, and resilience can be improved to reduce the impact on the general wellbeing of students and academics in higher education.
Period21 Apr 2021
Event titleUON Annual Spring Psychology Research Conference
Event typeConference