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There are no conclusive findings about the possible protective role of religion on students’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, more research is needed.
The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the level of emotional distress and religiosity among students from 7 different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data were collected by an online cross-sectional survey that was distributed amongst Polish (N = 1196), Bengali (N = 1537), Indian (N = 483), Mexican (N = 231), Egyptian (N = 565), Philippine (N = 2062), and Pakistani (N = 506) students (N = 6642) from 12th April to 1st June 2021. The respondents were asked several questions regarding their religiosity which was measured by The Duke University Religion Index (DUREL), the emotional distress was measured by the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21).
Egypt with Islam as the dominant religion showed the greatest temple attendance (organizational religious activity: M=5.27±1.36) and spirituality (intrinsic religiosity: M=5.27±1.36), p<0.0001. On another hand, Egyptian students had the lowest emotional distress measured in all categories DASS-21 (depression: M=4.87±10.17, anxiety: M=4.78±10.13, stress: M=20.76±11.46). Two countries with the dominant Christian religion achieved the highest score for private religious activities (non-organizational religious activity; Mexico: M=3.94±0.94, Poland: M=3.63±1.20; p<0.0001) and experienced a moderate level of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress. Students from Mexico presented the lowest attendance to church (M=2.46±1,39) and spirituality (M=6.68± 3.41) and had the second highest level of depressive symptoms (M=19.13±13.03) and stress (M=20.27±1.98). Philippines students had the highest DASS-21 score (depression: M=22.77±12.58, anxiety: M=16.07±10.77, stress: M=4.87±10.08) and their level of religiosity reached average values in the whole group. The performed regression analysis confirmed the importance of the 3 dimensions (organizational religious activity, non-organizational religious activity, intrinsic religiosity) of religiosity for the well-being of students, except for the relationship between anxiety and private religious activities. The result was as presented for depression: R2=0.0398, F(3.664)=91.764, p<0.0001, SE of E: 12.88; anxiety: R2=0.0124, F(3.664)=27.683, p<0.0001, SE of E: 10,62; stress: R2= 0.0350, F(3.664)=80.363, p<0.0001, SE of E: 12.30.
The higher commitment to organizational religious activity, non-organizational religious activity, and intrinsic religiositywas correlated with the lower level of depressive symptoms, stress, and anxiety among students during the COVID-19 pandemic, but taking into account factors related to religiosity explains the level of emotional well-being to a small extent.
TDuring COVID-19 pandemic, it was noticed that it was students who were mostly affected by the changes that aroused because of the pandemic. The interesting part is whether students’ well-being could be associated with their fields of study as well as coping strategies.
In this study, we aimed to assess 1) the mental health of students from nine countries with a particular focus on depression, anxiety, and stress levels and their fields of study, 2) the major coping strategies of students after one year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We conducted an anonymous online cross-sectional survey on 12th April – 1st June 2021 that was distributed among the students from Poland, Mexico, Egypt, India, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, Philippines, and Bangladesh. To measure the emotional distress, we used the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21), and to identify the major coping strategies of students - the Brief-COPE.
We gathered 7219 responses from students studying five major studies: medical studies (N=2821), social sciences (N=1471), technical sciences (N=891), artistic/humanistic studies (N=1094), sciences (N=942). The greatest intensity of depression (M=18.29±13.83; moderate intensity), anxiety (M=13.13±11.37; moderate intensity ), and stress (M=17.86±12.94; mild intensity) was observed among sciences students. Medical students presented the lowest intensity of all three components - depression (M=13.31±12.45; mild intensity), anxiety (M=10.37±10.57; moderate intensity), and stress (M=13.65±11.94; mild intensity). Students of all fields primarily used acceptance and self-distraction as their coping mechanisms, while the least commonly used were self-blame, denial, and substance use. The group of coping mechanisms the most frequently used was ‘emotional focus’. Medical students statistically less often used avoidant coping strategies compared to other fields of study. Substance use was only one coping mechanism that did not statistically differ between students of different fields of study. Behavioral disengagement presented the highest correlation with depression (r=0.54), anxiety (r=0.48), and stress (r=0.47) while religion presented the lowest positive correlation with depression (r=0.07), anxiety (r=0.14), and stress (r=0.11).
1) The greatest intensity of depression, anxiety, and stress was observed among sciences students, while the lowest intensity of those components was found among students studying medicine.
2) Not using avoidant coping strategies might be associated with lower intensity of all DASS components among students.
3) Behavioral disengagement might be strongly associated with greater intensity of depression, anxiety, and stress among students.
4) There was no coping mechanism that provided the alleviation of emotional distress in all the fields of studies of students.
Proper nutrition with fats has a protective effect on the functioning of the nervous system. However, a disturbed ratio of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids supply is nowadays a common phenomenon. A diet overloaded with saturated fats and a shortage of those essential ones in the company with possibly some unfavorable genetic endowment could lead to the release of psychosis from the framework of diet defined by nature for thousands of years.
The study aims to review the literature to assess the influence of supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids in the occurrence of psychotic disorders prevention, as well as their impact on remission prolongation.
Literature review in PubMed, Google Scholar, and Web of Science using the keywords [psychosis] OR [psychotic] OR [schizophrenia] OR [unipolar] OR [bipolar] OR [schizoaffective] OR [depression] OR [manic] OR [hypomanic] OR [mania] OR [hypomania] OR [first episode psychosis] OR [ultra-high risk] OR [UHR] AND [polyunsaturated fatty acids] OR [PUFA] OR [prostaglandin] OR [phospholipid] OR [phospholipase A2] OR [arachidonic acid] OR [linoleic acid] OR [alpha-linolenic acid] OR [omega-3] OR [omega-6] OR [nutrition] OR [diet]. The review included original articles, reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and case reports from 1977-2022 in Polish and English.
86 articles devoted to diet and nutrition in psychotic disorders were analyzed. Patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorders exhibit deficiencies in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Such results may indicate compliance with David Horrobin’s theory of the psychotic disorders development in predisposed individuals.
Supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids may be a chance for a selected group of patients to prolong remission but also hope to prevent the occurrence of psychotic disorders in particularly vulnerable individuals.
Disclosure of Interest
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