Open Journal Systems

Impact of COVID-19 on education, social life, and mental health to university population in Albania: A cross-sectional survey

Gjergji Koja, Erjona Abazaj

Article ID: 1988
Vol 8, Issue 3, 2023, Article identifier:

VIEWS - 287 (Abstract) 50 (PDF)


The outbreak of COVID-19 affected the lives of all sections of society and caused serious implications for mental health. The aimed study was to investigate and analyzed the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the life of students. This cross-sectional survey was conducted from October - December 2020 on 472 students. We prepared the questionnaire addressing some factors such as demographic, education, social life, and mental health. The p < 0.05 was considered significant. The average age was 20.45, and 70% of participants were females. Approximately 23% of students referred to present problems with depression, fear, and anxiety during COVID-19. The mean value of PHQ9 resulted in the moderate range while the mean GAD7 score was in the mild range. In females, 61% are more likely to be affected by mental health during this worldwide pandemic compared to males 39%. The findings of this study identify mild levels of anxiety and depression in students. These mental health levels were related to a combination of pandemic-related stresses and limitations caused by the lockdown, negative impact on social life, poor social communication, and disturbed sleep habits. However, we strongly recommend providing students support by academics and stakeholders to reduce the likelihood of longer-term problems.


COVID-19; students mental health; education

Full Text:



1. Sarker NI, Raihan L, Yang P, et al. COVID-19: Access to information, health service, daily life facility and risk perception of foreigners during the coronavirus pandemic in South Korea. Archives of Medical Science 2021. doi: 10.5114/aoms/141164

2. Aristovnik A, Keržiˇc D, Ravšelj D, et al. Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on life of higher education students: A global perspective. Sustainability 2020; 12(20): 8438. doi: 10.3390/su12208438

3. Liu JJ, Bao Y, Huang X, et al. Mental health considerations for children quarantined because of COVID-19. Lancet Child Adolesc Health 2020; 4(5): 347–349. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30096-1

4. Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: Rapid review of the evidence. Lancet 2020; 395(10227): 912–920. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30460-8

5. Masat e vendosura nga Komiteti Teknik i Ekspertëve. Available online: (accessed on 25 September 2023).

6. Lee J. Mental health effects of school closures during COVID-19. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health 2020; 4(6): 421. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30109-7

7. Chaturvedi K, Vishwakarma DK, Singh N. COVID-19 and its impact on education, social life and mental health of students: A survey. Children and Youth Services Review 2021; 121: 105866. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105866

8. Piya FL, Amin S, Das A, Kabir MA. Impacts of COVID-19 on the education, life and mental health of students in Bangladesh. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2022; 19(2): 785. doi: 10.3390/ ijerph19020785

9. Kapadia N, Paul P, Roy A. Impact of lockdown on learning status of undergraduate and postgraduate students during COVID-19 pandemic in West Bengal, India. Children and Youth Services Review 2020; 116: 105194. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105194

10. Dutta S, Smita MK. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on tertiary education in Bangladesh: Students’ perspectives. Open Journal of Social Sciences 2020; 8(9): 53–68. doi: 10.4236/jss.2020.89004

11. Odriozola-González P, Planchuelo-Gómez Á, Irurtia MJ, de Luis-García R. Psychological effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown among students and workers of a Spanish university. Psychiatry Research 2020; 290: 113108. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113108

12. Jacob ON, Abigeal I, Lydia AE. Impact of COVID-19 on the higher institutions development in Nigeria. Electronic Research Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 2020; 2(2): 126–135.

13. Nenko Y, Кybalna N, Snisarenko Y. The COVID-19 distance learning: Insight from Ukrainian students. Revista Brasileira de Educação do Campo 2020; 5: 1–19. doi: 10.20873/uft.rbec.e8925

14. Duong V, Pham P, Yang T, et al. The ivory tower lost: How college students respond differently than the general public to the COVID-19 pandemic. arXiv 2020; arxiv:2004.09968. doi: 10.48550/arXiv.2004.09968

15. Händel M, Stephan M, Gläser-Zikuda M, et al. Digital readiness and its effects on higher education students’ socio-emotional perceptions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Research on Technology in Education 2020; 54(2): 267–280. doi: 10.1080/15391523.2020.1846147

16. Calhoun KE, Yale LA, Whipple ME, et al. The impact of COVID-19 on medical student surgical education: Implementing extreme pandemic response measures in a widely distributed surgical clerkship experience. The American Journal of Surgery 2020; 220(1): 44–47. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2020.04.024

17. Wang C, Zhao H. The impact of COVID-19 on anxiety in Chinese university students. Front Psychol 2020; 11: 1168. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01168

18. Rapanta C, Botturi L, Goodyear P, et al. Online university teaching during and after the COVID-19 crisis: Refocusing teacher presence and learning activity. Postdigital Science and Education 2020; 2(3): 923–945. doi: 10.1007/s42438-020-00155-y

19. Sundarasen S, Chinna K, Kamaludin K, et al. Psychological impact of COVID-19 and lockdown among university students in Malaysia: Implications and policy recommendations. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2020; 17(17): 6206. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17176206

20. Gao J, Zheng P, Jia Y, et al. Mental health problems and social media exposure during COVID-19 outbreak. PLoS One 2020: 15(4): e0231924. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0231924

21. Xiong J, Lipsitz O, Nasri F, et al. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the general population: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders 2020; 277: 55–64. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.08.001

22. Sanchez-Gomez M, Giorgi G, Finstad GL, et al. COVID-19 pandemic as a traumatic event and its associations with fear and mental health: A cognitive-activation approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2021; 18(14): 7422. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18147422

23. Oppenauer C, Burghardt J, Kaiser E, et al. Psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic in patients with mental or physical diseases. Front Psychol 2021; 12: 703488. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.703488

24. Thompson EJ, Stafford J, Moltrecht B, et al. Psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and life satisfaction following COVID-19 infection: Evidence from 11 UK longitudinal population studies. Lancet Psychiatry 2022; 9(11): 894–906. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(22)00307-8

25. Kartol A, Söner O, Griffiths MD. The relationship between psychological distress, meaning in life, and life satisfaction in the COVID-19 pandemic. Anales de psicología/Annals of psychology 2023, 39(2): 197–206. doi: 10.6018/analesps.518001

26. Yu Y, Yu Y, Hu J. COVID-19 among Chinese high school graduates: Psychological distress, growth, meaning in life and resilience. Journal of Health Psychology 2022; 27(5): 1057–1069. doi: 10.1177/1359105321990819

27. Dou Y, Fan H, Yang X, et al. Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Psychological Distress and Biological Rhythm in China’s General Population: A Cross-Sectional Dataset. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research; 2022.

28. Meng ZQ, Leng Q, Wang X, et al. Comparative analysis of anxiety/depression scores in COVID-19 patients with disease severity, sleep patterns, and certain laboratory test results. Archives of Medical Science 2021; 18(5): 1262–1270. doi: 10.5114/aoms/136111. eCollection 2022

29. Husky MM, Kovess-Masfety V, Swendsen JD. Stress and anxiety among university students in France during COVID-19 mandatory confinement. Comprehensive Psychiatry 2020; 102: 152191. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2020.152191

30. Patsali ME, Mousa DPV, Papadopoulou EVK, et al. University students’ changes in mental health status and determinants of behavior during the COVID-19 lockdown in Greece. Psychiatry Research 2020; 292: 113298. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113298

31. Khan AH, Sultana MS, Hossain S, et al. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and wellbeing among home-quarantined Bangladeshi students: A cross-sectional pilot study. Journal of Affective Disorders 2020; 277: 121–128. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.07.135

32. Cohen S, Kamarck T, Mermelstein R. A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 1983; 24(4): 386–396. doi: 10.2307/2136404

33. McCoach DB, Gable RK, Madura JP. Instrument Development in the Affective Domain: School and Corporate Applications, 3rd ed. Springer; 2013. pp. 277–284.

34. Spitzer RL, Kroenke K, Williams JB, Löwe B. A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: The GAD-7. Archives of Internal Medicine 2006; 166(10): 1092–1097. doi: 10.1001/archinte.166.10.1092

35. Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB. The PHQ-9: Validity of a brief depression severity measure. Journal of General Internal Medicine 2001; 16(9): 606–613. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2001.016009606.x

36. Gupta AK, Sahoo S, Mehra A, Grover S. Psychological impact of ‘Lockdown’ due to COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal: An online survey. Asian Journal of Psychiatry 2020; 54: 102243. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102243

37. Teymoori A, Real R, Gorbunova A, et al. Measurement invariance of assessments of depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-7) across sex, strata, and linguistic backgrounds in a European-wide sample of patients after Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Affective Disorders 2020; 262: 278–285. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.10.035

38. Du N, Yu K, Ye Y, Chen S. Validity study of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 items for internet screening in depression among Chinese university students. Asia-Pacific Psychiatry 2017; 9(3): e12266. doi: 10.1111/appy.12266

39. Garabiles MR, Lao CK, Yip P, et al. Psychometric validation of PHQ-9 and GAD-7 in filipino migrant domestic workers in Macao (SAR), China. Journal of Personality Assessment 2020; 102(6): 833–844. doi: 10.1080/00223891.2019.1644343

40. Lv Y, Ma C, Li X, Wu M. Big data driven COVID-19 pandemic crisis management: potential approach for global health. Archives of Medical Science 2021; 17(3): 829–837. doi: 10.5114/aoms/133522. eCollection 2021

41. Filho CIS, Rodrigues WCdLV, de Castro RB, et al. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health of medical students: A cross-sectional study using GAD-7 and PHQ-9 questionnaires. medRxiv 2020. doi: 10.1101/2020.06.24.20138925

42. Raccanello D, Balbontín-Alvarado R, da Silva Bezerra D, et al. Higher education students’ achievement emotions and their antecedents in e-learning amid COVID-19 pandemic: A multi-country survey. Learning and Instruction 2022; 80: 101629. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2022.101629

43. Mechili EA, Saliaj A, Kamberi F, et al. Is the mental health of young students and their family members affected during the quarantine period? Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic in Albania. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 2021; 28(3): 317–325. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12672

44. Olum R, Atulinda L, Kigozi E, et al. Medical education and e-learning during COVID-19 pandemic: Awareness, attitudes, preferences, and barriers among undergraduate medicine and nursing students at Makerere university, Uganda. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development 2020; 7: 2382120520973212. doi: 10.1177/2382120520973212

45. Ihm L, Zhang H, van Vijfeijken A, Waugh MG. Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health of university students. International Journal of Health Planning and Management 2021; 36(3): 618–627. doi: 10.1002/hpm.3145

46. Fawaz M, Samaha A. E-learning: Depression, anxiety, and stress symptomatology among Lebanese university students during COVID-19 quarantine. Nursing Forum 2021; 56(1): 52–57. doi: 10.1111/nuf.12521

47. Charles NE, Strong SJ, Burns LC, et al. Increased mood disorder symptoms, perceived stress, and alcohol use among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatry Research 2021; 296: 113706. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113706

48. Ramasaco L, Abazaj E, Brati B. Mental health burden among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 time in Albania. ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry 2023; 24(1): 1–13.

49. Chi X, Becker B, Yu Q, et al. Prevalence and psychosocial correlates of mental health outcomes among Chinese college students during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Frontiers in Psychiatry 2020; 11: 803. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00803

50. Tang W, Hu T, Hu B, et al. Prevalence and correlates of PTSD and depressive symptoms one month after the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in a sample of home-quarantined Chinese university students. Journal of Affective Disorders 2020; 274: 1–7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.05.009

51. Wathelet M, Duhem S, Vaiva G, et al. Factors associated with mental health disorders among university students in France confined during the COVID19 pandemic. JAMA Network Open 2020; 3(10): e2025591. doi: 10.1001/ jamanetworkopen.2020.25591

52. Horita R, Nishio A, Yamamoto M. The effect of remote learning on the mental health of first-year university students in Japan. Psychiatry Research 2021; 295: 113561. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113561

53. Amaral-Prado HM, Borghi F, Mello TMVF, Grassi-Kassisse DM. The impact of confinement in the psychosocial behaviour due COVID-19 among members of a Brazilian university. International Journal of Social Psychiatry 2021; 67(6): 720–727. doi: 10.1177/0020764020971318

54. Son C, Hegde S, Smith A, et al. Effects of COVID-19 on college students’ mental health in the United States: Interview survey study. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2020; 22(9): e21279. doi: 10.2196/21279

55. Aylie NS, Mekonen MA, Mekuria RM. The psychological impacts of COVID-19 pandemic among university students in bench-sheko zone, south-west Ethiopia: A community-based cross-sectional study. Psychology Research and Behavior Management 2020; 13: 813–821. doi: 10.2147/PRBM.S275593

56. Kaparounaki CK, Patsali ME, Mousa DPV, et al. University students’ mental health amidst the COVID-19 quarantine in Greece. Psychiatry Research 2020; 290: 113111. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113111

57. Basheti IA, Mhaidat QN, Mhaidat HN. Prevalence of anxiety and depression during COVID-19 pandemic among healthcare students in Jordan and its effect on their learning process: A national survey. PLoS One 2021; 16(4): e0249716. doi: 10.1371/journal. pone.0249716

58. Van de Velde S, Buffel V, van der Heijde C, et al. Depressive symptoms in higher education students during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. An examination of the association with various social risk factors across multiple high- and middle-income countries. SSM—Population Health 2021; 16: 100936. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100936

59. Martínez-Lorca M, Martínez-Lorca A, Criado-Álvarez JJ, et al. The fear of COVID-19 scales: Validation in Spanish university students. Psychiatry Research 2020; 293: 113350. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113350

60. Holmes EA, O’Connor RC, Perry VH, et al. Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: A call for action for mental health science. The Lancet Psychiatry 2020; 7(6): 547–560. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30168-1

61. Islam MA, Barna SD, Raihan H, et al. Depression and anxiety among university students during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh: A web-based cross-sectional survey. PLoS One 2020; 15(8): e0238162. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0238162

62. Aucejo EM, French J, Ugalde Araya MP, Zafar B. The impact of COVID-19 on student experiences and expectations: Evidence from a survey. Journal of Public Economics 2020; 191: 104271. doi: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104271

63. Rehman U, Shahnawaz MG, Khan NH, et al. Depression, anxiety and stress among Indians in times of COVID-19 lockdown. Community Mental Health Journal 2021; 57(1): 42–48. doi: 10.1007/s10597-020-00664-x

64. Lai AYK, Lee L, Wang MP, et al. Mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on international university students, related stressors, and coping strategies. Frontiers in Psychiatry 2020; 11: 584240. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020. 584240

(287 Abstract Views, 50 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Gjergji Koja, Erjona Abazaj

License URL: