Psychological Wellbeing and Academic Experience of University Students in Australia during COVID-19
- How have university students in Australia been impacted by COVID-19? What were the characteristics of those affected?
- What sociodemographic factors were associated with low psychological wellbeing in university students during COVID-19?
- Was the impact of COVID-19 on university students’ learning associated with low wellbeing?
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Participants: Selection and Exclusion Criteria
2.4. Data Analysis
3.2. Impact of COVID-19 on Living and Study
3.3. Psychological Variables
3.4. Factors Associated with Low Wellbeing
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Measure||Description of Measure||Response Options/Range and Interpretation||Reliability Analysis (Cronbach’s Alpha)|
|Wellbeing ||Self-perceived wellbeing for past two weeks (e.g., over the last 2 weeks I have felt active and vigorous)||Six-point response scale (0 = at no time, 1 = some of the time, 2 = less than half of the time, 3 = more than half of the time, 4 = most of the time, 5 = all of the time)|
Raw score multiplied by 4 = 0 lowest wellbeing—to 100 highest
Further scored as ≤28 very low wellbeing, ≤50 low wellbeing, >50 high wellbeing
|Sense of Coherence ||How do you personally find your current living situation in general?||Nine-items with three subscales: a behavioural component (manageability) (2 items), a motivational component (meaningfulness) (3 items), and a cognitive component (comprehensibility) (4 items). Scored 1 to 7 with higher values indicating higher sense of coherence||Overall = 0.538|
|Future Anxiety ||Nine items: First five items from short version of future anxiety scale “Dark Future Scale” and four items from the long versionExample: I am afraid that the problems which trouble me now will continue for a long time.||Seven-point response scale (0 = decidedly false, 1 = false, 2 = somewhat false, 3 = hard to say, 4 = somewhat false, 5 = true, 6 = decidedly true)|
Higher scores indicate higher anxiety
|Dark future scale = 0.838|
Extended dark future scale = 0.817
|Subjective Social Status (SSS) ||Where would you place yourself on this ladder? Please mark a field from 1–10 where you think you stand at this time in your life relative to other people in Australia||Ten-point scale (1 to 10) with higher points indicating a higher subjective social status|
Further scored as low SSS (1–4), medium SSS (5–7), high SSS (8–10)
|Age: mean (SD)||25.74 (9.24)|
|Other/prefer not to say||9 (1.1)|
|Australian Capital Territory||45 (5.7)|
|Northern Territory||6 (0.8)|
|New South Wales||449 (57.1)|
|Western Australia||49 (6.2)|
|South Australia||28 (3.6)|
|Born in Australia: yes||514 (65.3)|
|International student: yes||180 (22.9)|
|Main language at home: English||628 (79.8)|
|Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: yes||10 (1.2)|
|Socioeconomic position (1–10)||6.07 (1.87)|
|Top 4 universities represented|
|The University of Sydney||242 (30.7)|
|University of New South Wales||47 (6.0)|
|Australian National University||40 (5.1)|
|University of Queensland||30 (3.8)|
|Top 4 areas of study|
|Medicine/Health Sciences||323 (41.0)|
|Arts and Social Sciences||61 (7.8)|
|Maths/Natural Sciences||61 (7.8)|
|Undergraduate Bachelor||461 (58.6)|
|Graduate Certificate/Diploma||23 (2.9)|
|Impact on living: yes||181 (23.0)|
|Returned to home country||16 (2.0)|
|Unable to travel to Australia||7 (0.9)|
|Moved out of student accommodation||77 (9.8)|
|Accessed support offered by university: yes||127 (16.1)|
|COVID-19 has had huge impact on my study last 2 weeks|
|Agree *||683 (86.8)|
|Neither agree nor disagree||26 (3.3)|
|Accessed extra support for living costs: yes||160 (20.3)|
|Units shifted online||524 (66.6)|
|Units of study cancelled||49 (6.2)|
|Units of study postponed||73 (9.3)|
|Changes to assessment format||460 (58.4)|
|Changes to assessment timelines||398 (50.6)|
|Changes to frequency of contact with teachers||436 (55.4)|
|Impact on overall learning experience|
|I find it more difficult to learn online than face-to-face: agree *||588 (74.7)|
|I prefer online learning to face-to-face: agree||217 (27.6)|
|I find it hard to interact with teachers online: agree||587 (74.6)|
|I find it hard to interact with other students online: agree||666 (84.6)|
|My internet is unreliable and disrupts online learning: agree||410 (52.1)|
|I find online learning less time consuming than face to face: agree||375 (47.6)|
|My home environment supports online learning: agree||435 (55.3)|
|I am confident with my computer skills: agree||672 (85.4)|
|Adjusted Odds Ratios (OR)|
|Model 1||Model 2||Model 3|
|Subjective Social Status|
|Language spoken at home|
|Sense of Coherence|
|Adjusted Odds Ratios (OR)|
|Model 1||Model 2|
|Impact on living|
|Not aware of any support||1.546||0.974–2.453|
|Overall learning experience|
|Impact on study|
|Disagree/Disagree a bit||0.471||0.182–1.126||0.438||0.166–1.158|
|Neither agree nor disagree||1.829||0.629–5.316||1.736||0.584–5.164|
|Agree a bit/Agree||1.780||0.842–3.760||1.236||0.566–2.696|
|Accessed living costs support|
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Dodd, R.H.; Dadaczynski, K.; Okan, O.; McCaffery, K.J.; Pickles, K. Psychological Wellbeing and Academic Experience of University Students in Australia during COVID-19. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 866. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030866
Dodd RH, Dadaczynski K, Okan O, McCaffery KJ, Pickles K. Psychological Wellbeing and Academic Experience of University Students in Australia during COVID-19. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(3):866. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030866Chicago/Turabian Style
Dodd, Rachael H., Kevin Dadaczynski, Orkan Okan, Kirsten J. McCaffery, and Kristen Pickles. 2021. "Psychological Wellbeing and Academic Experience of University Students in Australia during COVID-19" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 3: 866. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030866