Lifestyle behaviours and mental health and wellbeing of tertiary students during COVID-19 lockdown in Australia: A cross-sectional study

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Dash, Sarah ORCID: 0000-0002-7694-3027, Bourke, Matthew, Parker, Alexandra ORCID: 0000-0002-2398-6306, Dadswell, Kara ORCID: 0000-0003-3192-7960 and Pascoe, Michaela ORCID: 0000-0002-3831-5660 (2022) Lifestyle behaviours and mental health and wellbeing of tertiary students during COVID-19 lockdown in Australia: A cross-sectional study. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 116. ISSN 0010-440X


Background: Australia experienced significant COVID-19 lockdown restrictions throughout 2020 that had an impact on mental health and disrupted health-promoting lifestyle behaviours. Lockdowns may have exacerbated existing mental health concerns among tertiary students, who experience higher levels of mental health concerns compared to the wider community. This study aimed to investigate the association between modifiable lifestyle factors and wellbeing of students at a Melbourne-based tertiary education institution during COVID-19 lockdown. Methods: This quantitative, cross-sectional study was conducted across campuses in Melbourne and Sydney. Data was collected via online questionnaire during the 7th week of a second-wave lockdown. Descriptive statistics were calculated for demographic variables (n = 239). Linear regression models were estimated to determine multivariate associations between lifestyle variables and psychological distress. Results: Participants were on average 30.98 years old (SD = 9.78), predominantly female, domestic students, undergraduate, not the first member of their family to attend university and living out of family home. Mindfulness, diet quality, sleep quality and moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were all inversely correlated with psychological distress. Unadjusted and adjusted models show that mindfulness, sleep quality, and MVPA were all independently inversely related to psychological distress. Greater mindfulness, sleep quality and engagement in MVPA were associated with lower psychological distress during COVID-19 lockdowns. Limitations: As this study is cross-sectional and we cannot rule out reverse causality. Conclusion: This study highlights the potential for lifestyle focused mental-health promotion delivered through tertiary education institutions to support students in times of crisis as well as more generally.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1016/j.comppsych.2022.152324
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 5203 Clinical and health psychology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords mental health, lifestyle, bevavior, lockdown, Australia, Covid 19
Citations in Scopus 2 - View on Scopus
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