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Article

Addressing Depression Symptoms among University Students under COVID-19 Restrictions—The Mediating Role of Stress and the Moderating Role of Resilience

Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Chang Liu and Melinda McCabe share the first authorship of the article.
Academic Editor: Alan Apter
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12752; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312752
Received: 8 November 2021 / Revised: 26 November 2021 / Accepted: 1 December 2021 / Published: 3 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a decline in mental health globally. Compared to the general population, university students have been identified as a group vulnerable to developing depression symptoms during the pandemic. Social isolation, a signature mental health consequence under physical-distancing regulations, is a known predictor of depression symptoms during the pandemic. Yet, more research is required to understand the mechanism that underpins the isolation–depression association and identify psychological factors that may attenuate the association. The current study aimed to understand the role of stress and resilience in the isolation–depression association among university students. Methods: Data were collected from 1718 university students between 28 and 31 May 2020. Partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) was used to examine the mediating role of perceived stress and the moderating role of resilience in the isolation–depression association. Results: We found that perceived stress partially mediated the association between social isolation and depression symptoms. Both the direct and indirect effects were moderated by participants’ resilience levels. Conclusions: Social isolation during the pandemic may contribute to depression symptoms both directly and through elevated stress levels. As an internal strength, resilience may buffer the adverse effects of isolation and stress on depression symptoms. Targeted interventions including mindfulness and physical exercise training may provide promising results in reducing depression symptoms among university students and should be considered by university administrators particularly during times of imposed physical-distancing measures. View Full-Text
Keywords: isolation; stress; resilience; depression symptoms; university students isolation; stress; resilience; depression symptoms; university students
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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, C.; McCabe, M.; Kellett-Renzella, S.; Shankar, S.; Gerges, N.; Cornish, K. Addressing Depression Symptoms among University Students under COVID-19 Restrictions—The Mediating Role of Stress and the Moderating Role of Resilience. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 12752. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312752

AMA Style

Liu C, McCabe M, Kellett-Renzella S, Shankar S, Gerges N, Cornish K. Addressing Depression Symptoms among University Students under COVID-19 Restrictions—The Mediating Role of Stress and the Moderating Role of Resilience. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(23):12752. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312752

Chicago/Turabian Style

Liu, Chang, Melinda McCabe, Sebastian Kellett-Renzella, Shruthi Shankar, Nardin Gerges, and Kim Cornish. 2021. "Addressing Depression Symptoms among University Students under COVID-19 Restrictions—The Mediating Role of Stress and the Moderating Role of Resilience" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 23: 12752. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312752

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