Psychological Well-being Impacts of University Students on Online Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic



Online learning has been implemented by universities in Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic. This long-time remote learning is very challenging to some university students. The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of psychological well-being on depression, anxiety and stress of university students on online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The quantitative data were collected from 325 students from a university in the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The survey was conducted online through Google Forms. Two instruments were used, they were Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS-21) and the Psychological Well-Being Scale (PWBS-8). Descriptive and inferential analysis were used to analyse the data. The study found that 34.9% of the students were depressed, 60.9% were anxious, and 32% were stressed. Psychological Well-Being (PWB) was also connected to university students' despair, anxiety, and stress. 23 percent of the variability in PWB effected on university students’ depression, anxiety and stress. This finding demonstrates the magnitude of burden that university students now bear during online learning. Therefore, higher education institutions can play a fundamental role in assisting students to cope with their depression, anxiety and stress.  Authorities should also prioritise determining appropriate student facilities and resources. Structured programmes for distress reduction and blended learning are suggested to be implemented in teaching and learning.  


. Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, Woodland L, Wessely S, Greenberg N, Rubin GJ. The Psychological Impact of Quarantine and How to Reduce It: Rapid Review of The Evidence. Lancet. 2020 Mar 14;395(10227):912–920. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30460-8. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar].

. Wu, P., Fang, Y., Guan, Z., Fan, B. et al (2009). The Psychological Impact of The SARS Epidemic On Hospital Employee in China: Exposure, Risk, Perception, And Altruistic Acceptance of Risk. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 54(5), 302– 311.

. Le, H. T., Lai, A. J. X., Sun, J., Hoang, M. T., Vu, L. G., Pham, H. Q., Nguyen, T. H., Tran, B. X., Latkin, C. A., Le, X. T. T., Nguyen, T. T., Pham, Q. T., Ta, N. T. K., Nguyen, Q. T., Ho, R. C. M., & Ho, C. S. H. (2020). Anxiety and Depression Among People Under The Nationwide Partial Lockdown in Vietnam. Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 589359. .

. Titik, R., Siska, N.I., Dewi, S., Ieva, B.A., & Roy, R.M. (2021). A Nationwide Survey of Psychological Distress Among Indonesian Residents During The COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Public Health Science (IJPHS), 10(1), 119-126. DOI: 10.11591/ijphs. v10i1.20609.

. Al-Rabiaah, A., Temsah, M. H., Al-Eyadhy, A. A., Hasan, G. M., Al-Zamil, F., Al-Subaie, S., Alsohime, F., Jamal, A., Alhaboob, A., Al-Saadi, B., & Somily, A. M. (2020). Middle east respiratory syndrome-corona virus (MERS-CoV) Associated Stress Among Medical Students at A University Teaching Hospital in Saudi Arabia. Journal of Infection and Public Health, 13(5), 687– 691.

. Cao, W., Fang, Z., Hou, G., Han, M., Xu, X., Dong, J., & Zheng, J. (2020). The Psychological Impact of The COVID-19 Epidemic On College Students in China. Psychiatry Research, 287, 112934.

. Liu, N., Zhang, F., Wei, C., Jia, Y., Shang, Z., Sun, L., Wu, L., Sun, Z., Zhou, Y., Wang, Y., & Liu, W. (2020). Prevalence and Predictors of PTSS During COVID-19 Outbreak in China Hardest-Hit Areas: Gender Differences Matter. Psychiatry Research, 287, 112921.

. Moldofsky, H., & Patcai, J. (2011). Chronic Widespread Musculoskeletal Pain, Fatigue, Depression and Disordered Sleep in Chronic Post-SARS Syndrome; A Case-Controlled Study. BMC Neurology, 11(37), 1– 7.

. Qiu, J., Shen, B., Zhao, M., Wang, Z., Xie, B., & Xu, Y. (2020). A Nationwide Survey of Psychological Distress Among Chinese People in The COVID-19 Epidemic: Implications and Policy Recommendations. General Psychiatry, 33, 1– 2.

. Stamp, E., Crust, L., Swann, C., Perry, J., Clough, P. & Marchant, D. (2015). Relationships Between Mental Toughness and Psychological Wellbeing in Undergraduate Students. Personality and Individual Differences, 75, 170-174. Doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.11.038.

. Archuleta, K. L., Dale, A., & Spann, S. M. (2013). College Students and Financial Distress: Exploring Debt, Financial Satisfaction, and Financial Anxiety. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 24(2), 50-62.

. Hartley, M. T. (2011). Examining the Relationships between Resilience, Mental Health, and Academic Persistence in Undergraduate College Students. Journal of American College Health, 59(7), 596-604. Doi: 10.1080/07448481.2010.515632.

. Siddiqui, Z. U. & Khan, M. I. (2016). Psychological Well-Being among University Students. The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 3(4), 114-118.

. Akin, A. (2008). The scales of Psychological Well-Being: A Study of Validity and Reliability. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 8(3), 741-750.

. Eisenberg D, Downs MF, Golberstein E, Zivin K. Stigma and Help Seeking for Mental Health Among College Students. Med Care Res Rev. 2009 Oct;66(5):522–41. doi: 10.1177/1077558709335173. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar].

. Sahu, P. (2020). Closure of Universities Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Impact on education and mental health of students and academic staff. Cureus, 7541, 1– 6.

. Gan, W.Y., Mohd Nasir, M.T., Shariff, Z.M. and Hazizi, A.S. (2011). Disordered Eating Behaviours, Depression, Anxiety and Stress among Malaysian University Students. College Student Journal, 45, 296. Retrieved from

. Al-Ani, Radeef, A.S. & Ghazi, F.G. (2015). Depression, Anxiety and Stress among Undergraduate Science Students in Malaysia. 17th Johor Mental Health Conference, Malaysia, 17-18 April 2015, Unpublished. Retrieved from

. Andrews,B., Wilding, J.M.(2004). The Relation of Depression and Anxiety to Life-Stress and Achievement in Students. Br J Psychol., 95,509-521.

. Freire, C., Ferradas, Del. M., Valle, A., Nunez, J. C. & Vallejo, G. (2016). Profiles of Psychological Well-being and Coping Strategies among University Students. Frontier in Psychology, 7,1-11. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01554.

. Brockelman, K. F. & Scheyett, A. M. (2015). Faculty Perceptions of Accommodations, Strategies, And Psychiatric Advance Directives for University Students with Mental Illnesses. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 38(4), 342-348.

. Brook, C. A. & Willoughby, T. (2016). Social Anxiety and Alcohol Use Across the University Years: Adaptive and Maladaptive Groups. Developmental Psychology, 52(5), 835-845.

. Majumdar, B. & Ray, A. (2010). Stress and Coping Strategies Among University Students: A Phenomenological Study. Indian Journal of Social Science Research, 7(2), 100-111. 30.

. Bayram, N. & Bilgel, N. (2008). The Prevalence and Socio-Demographic Correlations of Depression, Anxiety and Stress Among A Group Of University Students. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 43(8), 667-672. http://doi: 10.1007/s00127-008-0345-x.

. Bernhardsdóttir, J. & Vilhjálmsson, R. (2013). Psychological Distress Among University Female Students and Their Need for Mental Health Services. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 20(8), 672-678. doi: 10.1111/jpm.120029.

. Prima,V., Muhammad Nubli,A.W.& Ahmad.O.(2010). A Research for Identifying Study Anxiety Sources among University Students. International Education Studies,3(2), 189-196.

. Hung ML, Chou C, Chen CH, Own ZY. Learner Readiness for Online Learning: Scale Development and Student Perceptions. Comput Educ. 2010; 55(3):1080-90.

. Bolliger DU, Halupa C. Student Perceptions of Satisfaction and Anxiety in An Online Doctoral Program. Distance Educ. 2012; 33(1):81-98. 11

. Prater MR. Teaching Millennials and Generation Z: New Opportunities in Undergraduate Medical Education. In: Gotian R, Kang Y, Safdieh J Handbook of Research on the Efficacy of Training Programs and Systems in Medical Education. IGI Global 2020; 72–91.4.

. Dimock M. Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Generation Z Begins. Pew Res Cent. 2019; 17, 1-7. accessed: October 2020.

. Akar F. Examining The Meaningful Work Level of Generation X and Generation Y Teachers. Elem Educ Online. 2020;19(3):1225–41. https://doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2020.728029 .

. Persada SF, Miraja BA, Nadlifatin R. Understanding The Generation Z Behaviour On D-Learning: A Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) Approach. Int J Emerg Technol Learn. 2019; 14(05), 20-33.

. Bickel J, Brown AJ. Generation X: Implications for Faculty Recruitment and Development in Academic Health Centers. Acad Med. 2005 Mar 1;80(3):205-10. accessed: October 2020. 10

. Shatto B, Erwin K. Moving on from Millennials: Preparing for Generation Z. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2016; 47(6):253-4.

. Gauer J, Jackson JB. Relationships of Demographic Variables to USMLE Physician Licensing Exam Scores: A Statistical Analysis On Five Years of Medical Student Data. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2018; 9, 39–44. https://doi:10.2147/AMEP.S152684.

. Alabbasi D. Exploring Graduate Students’ Perspectives Towards Using Gamification Techniques in Online Learning. Turk. Online J. Distance Educ. 2017; 18(3): n3

. Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Biswas-Diener, R., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D.-W., & Oishi, S. (2009). New Measures of Well-Being. Social Indicators Research Series, 39, 247-266. cc8fj9.

. Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D.-W., Oishi, S., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). New Well-Being Measures: Short Scales to Assess Flourishing and Positive and Negative Feelings. Social Indicators Research, 97, 143-156.

. Dorn LD, Negriff S, Huang B, Pabst S, Hillman J, Braverman P, et al. (2009). Menstrual Symptoms in Adolescent Girls: Association with Smoking, Depressive Symptoms and Anxiety. J Adolesc Health. 2009; 44:237–43.

. Anand, K., and Nagle, Y. K. (2016) Perceived Stress as Predictor of Psychological Well-being among Indian Youth. The International Journal of Indian Psychology Volume 3, Issue 4, No. 68.

[54]. Stallman, H. M., Ohan, J. L. &Chiera, B. (2017). The Role of Social Support, Being Present, and Self-kindness in University Student Psychological Distress. Australian Psychologist, 53(1), 1- 8.

. Deci EL, Ryan RM. Handbook of Self-Determination Research [Internet]. New York: University Rochester Press; 2002.

. Claudiu, C., Laurentiu, T., Luiza, M.S., Carmen, S., Maria, C.B. (2020). Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education during the Coronavirus Pandemic: Students’ Perspective. Open Acess Journal of Sustainability, 12, 1-24.

. Yamini, C. (2021). Online Education During COVID-19: Perception of Academic Stress and Emotional Intelligence Coping Strategies Among College Students. Asian Education and Development Studies, 10(2), 229-238.

. Allam, S. N. S., Hassan, M. S., Mohideen, R. S., Ramlan, A. F., & Kamal, R. M. (2020). Online Distance Learning Readiness During Covid-19 Outbreak Among Undergraduate Students. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 10(5), 642–657.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

International Journal of Public Health Science (IJPHS)
p-ISSN: 2252-8806, e-ISSN: 2620-4126

View IJPHS Stats

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