Document Type





Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges in various domains of life but for low and middle-income country university students very demanding situations have emerged. University students’ psychological well-being has always been an area of concern worldwide and higher rates of anxiety and depression have been extensively reported among this cohort.
Objective: To determine the frequency of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and quality of sleep and the association of sleep quality and personality traits with anxiety and depressive symptoms among university students in Karachi, Pakistan in the context of the pandemic COVID-19.
Method: This web-based cross-sectional study was conducted among the students of a renowned, private, and HEC-recognized university during March 2020 to April 2020. Google forms were used to disseminate the online questionnaire to screen for depression-Patient Health Questionnaire—PHQ-9, anxiety-Generalized Anxiety Disorder—GAD-7, sleep-quality-Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index Scale— PSQI and personality traits-Short Term Big Five Inventory—BFI-S.
Results: Among the total sample size of 227 students, a considerable proportion of student participants had symptoms of mild anxiety [34.8%], moderate anxiety [15.9%], severe anxiety [18%], mild depression [19.8%], moderate depression [21.5%], moderately severe depression [13.3%] and severe depression [12%]. The majority of them were poor sleepers [77.5%]. Poor sleep quality was also associated with the level of depression and anxiety with a p-value of <0.001. Those with Conscientiousness, Extroversion & Neuroticism were comparatively more vulnerable to anxiety and depression than people with other traits.
Conclusion: This study gives strong evidence that a large percentage of university students have been suffering from depressive and anxiety symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic accompanied by poor sleep quality. Protecting students’ mental health is an inevitable target during health crises by developing preventive strategies and interventions to address the psychological well-being of university students. The findings also highlight the significance of personality traits as a relevant component of individual differences to respond to various health-related emergencies.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Open Journal of Psychiatry

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.