Factors Related to Psychological Distress Among Nursing Students During the Coronavirus 2019 Disease Outbreak

  • Chaowalit Srisoem
  • Wichittra Chitrak
  • Buppha Jaimun
  • Pitchayanika Chuakan
Keywords: psychological distress, nursing students, COVID-19


The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the mental health of nursing students. The aim of the study was to examine the relationships between knowledge about COVID-19, social support, anxiety about COVID-19, and psychological distress among nursing students amid the COVID-19 outbreak between May and July 2020. Participants were 315 nursing students in their 1st to 3rd year from four different nursing education institutes who recruited using a multi-stage sampling method. Five questionnaires were used in the study: The Demographics record, the General Health Questionnaires (Thai version), the Anxiety about COVID-19 Questionnaire, the Social Support Questionnaires, and the COVID-19 Knowledge Test. The questionnaire’s Cronbach’s alpha coefficients were .76, .81, .86, and .72 respectively (reliability for the demographics record were not calculated). Descriptive statistics and Spearman's rank-order correlations were used to analyze the data. The results of the study illustrated that most of the participating nursing students had a moderate level of anxiety about COVID-19 (60.31%) and had minimally higher levels of psychological distress than at baseline (86.98%). It was also revealed that the psychological distress of the students was negatively related to their knowledge about COVID-19 (rS= -.291, p = .013) and amount of peer support (rS = -.193, p = .003), but was positively related to anxiety about COVID-19 (rS = .572, p = .002). Therefore, students with greater knowledge about the disease and higher levels of social support from friends would have lower levels of psychological distress, and those with higher levels of anxiety would also have higher levels of psychological distress. Therefore, nursing education institutes should provide their students with thorough knowledge about the disease and promote social support networks among their students, as well as take measures to ensure that those students with higher levels of anxiety receive proper care to prevent excess psychological distress.


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