Anxiety is common among university students and previous research has highlighted the association between the COVID-19 pandemic and higher anxiety scores in the public.
In this regard, this study aimed to evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the anxiety status of pharmacy students studying in Northern Cyprus and analyze the role of some parameters on the observed anxiety scores.
Anxiety scores of 185 pharmacy students studying at two universities in Northern Cyprus were evaluated using Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) assessments. Additionally, the information of participants was recorded in terms of sociodemographic and educational characteristics, antidepressants and anxiolytic use, and consumption of vitamin-mineral supplements. The questionnaires were distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic from December 11, 2020, to January 4, 2021, online via the Microsoft Teams® platform. It should be mentioned that responses were anonymous.
The mean BAI and GAD-7 scores of pharmacy students were 13.1±11.2 and 10±6.7, respectively. Based on the results, 6% of the students (n=11) revealed potentially concerning levels of anxiety in their BAI responses. Moreover, 31.9% of the pharmacy students (n=59) demonstrated severe anxiety scores on the GAD-7. Positive COVID-19 cases in the family led to statistically significant increases in anxiety on both instruments. Pharmacy students with five years of education (B.Pharm/M.Pharm) showed significantly higher anxiety scores on the BAI. Besides, age correlated negatively with anxiety scores on the GAD-7. Neither antidepressant and anxiolytic use nor vitamin/mineral supplement use were not related to the anxiety scores of participants.
Results of this study demonstrated an alarming anxiety status among pharmacy students during the COVID-19 pandemic period. Diagnosis of a family member with COVID-19 was observed to be critical in triggering the anxiety of pharmacy students. Data from this study should raise awareness to take action plans for the mental well-being of pharmacy students during pandemics.
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