Psychological Impacts of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Chinese International Students: Examining Prevalence and Associated Factors

Yilin Zhao


Background: As the international community has grappled to bring the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) under control, many social factors have emerged and unbearable pressure has been placed on us all. This study aimed to explore the psychological symptoms and influencing factors of the pandemic on Chinese international students.

Method: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms and other psychological symptoms were investigated using the PTSD Checklist Civilian Version (PCL-C) and the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21). Demographic data and data pertaining to the impact of COVID-19 on Chinese international students was also collected.

Result: Chinese international students in their fourth year of university education showed higher depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and stress symptoms than students in other years of their degree programs. Each of these psychological symptoms were higher for Chinese international students in high school than for students in their first and second years of university education. Chinese international students who were abroad were found to be most anxious about the risk of infection, financial stress, and travel restrictions following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Conclusion: Our study suggest that the effect of COVID-19 on Chinese international students’ psychological symptoms are significant. Our results are valuable for legislators and healthcare providers, who may need to develop effective psychological interventions for Chinese international students.

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