Introduction: The curtailment of social gatherings as well as lack of online academic engagement, during the COVID-19 lockdown, could have potentially damaging effects on the psychological state of university students in Nigerian public universities. This study examined the prevalence of anxiety and depression, including associated factors and coping methods among undergraduate students.
Methods: The study design was cross-sectional and involved 386 undergraduate students. The study was approved with an approval number UI/EC/20/0242. An online questionnaire was circulated among the students consisting mainly of Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the McMaster Family Assessment Device. The analysis was done using descriptive statistics, chi-square, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and linear logistics regression, at α 0.05.
Results: Mean age was 21±2.9 years, with a female population of 60.1%. Prevalence of anxiety and depression were 41.5% and 31.9% respectively. Students in health-related faculties were significantly less anxious than others. Inability to afford three square meals, negative family-functioning, having a chronic illness and living in a State/Region with a high incidence of COVID-19, was significantly associated with depression. These factors jointly accounted for 14% of depression. Coping methods included the use of social media, watching movies and participating in online skill development programmes.
Conclusion: There was a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression among university students with poor family functioning, inability to afford three meals/day, living in a state with a high incidence of COVID-19 and having a chronic illness. Proactive measures ought to be taken to support undergraduate students to prevent the negative consequences of poor mental health.
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