City Research Online

Mental health, loneliness and stress of Asian, Black and White UK university students before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Schochet, E., Haenschel, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-7855-2735, Gaigg, S. B. ORCID: 0000-0003-2644-7145 & Fett, A-K. ORCID: 0000-0003-0282-273X (2023). Mental health, loneliness and stress of Asian, Black and White UK university students before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social Sciences & Humanities Open, 8(1), article number 100697. doi: 10.1016/j.ssaho.2023.100697


The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of UK university students. However, the knowledge on the impact on students from different ethnic groups is limited. We investigated mental health, loneliness, and perceived stress in 656 university students with an Asian, Black and White ethnic background across three cohorts, before (2019-2020), during (2020-2021), and at the end of the pandemic (2021-2022). Students at City, University of London completed an online study, including the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms, the UCLA loneliness scale, the perceived stress scale, and questions about COVID-19. Substance-use concerns were highest before the pandemic compared to during the pandemic. Academic distress and loneliness were higher during the pandemic than before. COVID-19 related anxiety was significantly related with poor mental health across groups. Students with an Asian or Black ethnic background had slightly lower reported mental health difficulties than White students, which appeared to be partly driven by lower substance-use concerns. However, students from an Asian or Black ethnic background reported being more financially impacted by the pandemic and reported more loneliness than White students. The findings reflect pandemic-related changes in student life, characterized by reduced socializing with fellow students and suggest that overall students adapted well to these changes in terms of their mental health.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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