University students' perceived peer support and experienced depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating role of emotional well-being

Yao SUN, Shiang-yi LIN, Kevin Kien Hoa CHUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has adversely affected individuals’ mental health. Social isolation as a result of social distancing during the pandemic potentially affects the associations among perceived available peer support, emotional well-being, and depression in university students. The present study examined the associations among university students’ perceived available peer support, emotional well-being (as indicated negatively by loneliness and negative affects and positively by positive affects and hope), and depressive symptoms. During the third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in July, 2020, 255 students at a public university in Hong Kong participated in an online-based survey that assessed their perceived available peer support, emotional well-being, and depressive symptoms. Results showed that perceived available peer support negatively contributed to depressive symptoms; both negative and positive indicators of emotional well-being mediated the association between perceived available peer support and depressive symptoms. Our results also suggested that university students showed signs of elevated depressive symptoms during the pandemic. Thus, our study advanced the theoretical understanding of university students’ mental health in the time of a global pandemic. Our study also highlighted the practical needs for preventive efforts and accessible care to support the psychological and emotional needs of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Copyright © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9308
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number24
Early online date12 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Citation

Sun, Y., Lin, S.-Y., & Chung, K. K. H. (2020). University students' perceived peer support and experienced depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating role of emotional well-being. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(24). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249308

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Peer support
  • Emotional well-being
  • Loneliness
  • Hope
  • Positive and negative affects

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