Journal of Educational and Management Studies  
J. Educ. Manage. Stud., 10(3): 55-60, September 25, 2020  
License: CC BY 4.0,  
ISSN: 2322-4770  
The psychological impact of COVID-19 on the  
college students in Nepal  
Megh Raj Dangal1 and Lumanti Siddhi Bajracharya2  
Department of Development Studies, Kathmandu University, Kathmandu, Nepal  
Email: megh@ku.edu.np;  
ABSTRACT  
Original Article  
This article focuses on the psychological impact of COVID-19 and its effect among the Nepali  
college students. As we know, the pandemic started in China with a few pneumonia-like cases  
and has spread all over the world since December 2019.The outbreak has not only caused  
suffering and fatality but also increased psychological stress and panic among people. This  
study used convenience sampling and web-based quantitative questionnaire that included the  
7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) and other basic information to identify the  
psychological impact of the pandemic. The General Anxiety Disorder Scale results indicated  
that two-third of the college students who responded to the survey had some level of anxiety,  
ranging from mild to moderate and severe. Associated gender of the respondents had some  
relation to the anxiety during this pandemic. The correlation analysis results indicated that  
certain worries related to financial impact of COVID were positively associated with anxiety  
symptoms (P<0.05). In contrast to this, support from family, friends and society was  
negatively correlated with the level of anxiety (P<0.001). It shows that social support provides  
necessary help to college students in dealing with stressors and anxiousness that comes with  
uncertain situations.  
PII: S232247702000007-10  
Rec. 28 July, 2020  
Acc. 29 August, 2020  
Pub. 25 September, 2020  
Keywords  
Psychological impact,  
COVID-19,  
Nepali college students,  
Socio-demography  
anxiety  
To minimize the gap between students and  
learning, an online approach has been adopted by  
most of the schools and colleges across the country,  
while the schools are closed. Experts have expressed  
that online classes may affect a further digital divide  
in the country (Neupane, 2020). Along with this, the  
increment in cases day-by-day has created fear, stress  
and worries which have been termed as normal  
responses by the World Health Organization in the  
milieu of COVID-19 (WHO, 2020). Studies have  
suggested that there may have been mental health  
impacts of the virus, including elevated stress, on the  
general public on top of specific groups such as  
patients, medical staff, children, older adults as well as  
A China based study suggested that young  
people were reported to have more anxiety and  
depressive symptoms as compared to older ones  
during this rampant (Huang & Zhao, 2020). Analogous  
results have been reported from another study  
INTRODUCTION  
COVID-19 belongs to a large family of viruses which  
may cause illness in animals or humans. Corona virus  
was recognized by the World Health Organization  
(WHO) as a pandemic on 11th March, 2020. Close  
contact with infected people or touching  
contaminated objects or on the surface can easily be  
transmitted (WHO, 2020) The first case of COVID-19  
was found in Nepal when a 32 year old Nepali man  
returned from Wuhan, China on 23 January 2020,  
which followed a total shutdown of all the flights  
along with the whole country going into lockdown  
from 23 March 2020 (MOHP, 2020). All the economic  
activities as well as the daily livelihood of people and  
social gatherings came to a halt. This in turn, resulted  
in over eight million students inside their homes,  
keeping them away from classroom education. Over  
35,000 schools have been closed since posing a huge  
risk over the future of education (UNICEF, 2020).  
To cite this paper: Dangal M.R and Bajracharya L.S. (2020). The psychological ımpact of COVID-19 on the college students in Nepal. J. Educ. Manage. Stud., 10(3): 55-60.  
55  
Dangal and Bajracharya, 2020  
conducted in Japan (Ueda et al., 2020). A study among  
(not at all) to 3 (almost every day), such that the total  
score ranges from 0 to 21 (Cao et al., 2020). The GAD-7  
is a well-validated screening instrument, and has  
demonstrated excellent internal consistency. The  
GAD-7 is a valid and efficient tool for screening the  
General Anxiety Disorder and assessing its severity in  
clinical practice and research (Spitzer et al., 2006).  
college students in Ethiopia advocated that most  
college students experienced some sort of anxiety or  
depressive disorder during this situation (Tadesse et  
al., 2020). Conversely, no enough efforts has been put  
to study the mental health of students facing this  
pandemic in Nepal. Hence, this research aims to study  
the psychological impacts of COVID-19 on students  
from various colleges in Nepal, along with exploring  
its association with socio-demographic and other  
related variables.  
Data analysis and interpretation  
The obtained data were analyzed with IBM SPSS  
version 23.0. An analysis of descriptive statistics was  
conducted to illustrate the demographic and other  
selected characteristics of the respondents. Non  
parametric test (Chi-square test) was used to explore  
the significant associations between sample  
characteristics and the anxiety level (categorized into  
no anxiety or some anxiety) during the COVID-19  
epidemic. Spearman's correlation coefficient, r, was  
used to evaluate the association between COVID-19-  
related stressors, including financial stressors and day  
to day life, as well as the stressors related to delays in  
education and learning, and anxiety among the  
college students. A two-tailed p<0.05 was considered  
statistically significant (Cao et al., 2020).  
METHODOLOGY  
Study design  
Web-based quantitative questionnaire survey  
design was used to conduct the survey among the  
students. One-time cross-sectional method, using a  
pre-determined questionnaire was used to receive  
information regarding the psychological impact of  
COVID-19 on students.  
Study population and sample  
The targeted population comprised of students  
from various high schools, colleges and universities of  
Nepal. The respondents were anonymous to ensure  
the confidentiality and reliability of data. Finally, 105  
respondents were included in the final analysis (100%  
response rate).  
Ethical considerations  
All the participants voluntarily participated in  
the study after being informed about the purpose of  
the study. Concealment of the participants were  
maintained and no identity was revealed.  
Sampling technique  
Convenient sampling technique was used to  
gather the sample. Respondents answered the  
predetermined questionnaire bundle via Google  
Forms.  
RESULTS  
The socio-demographic part of the survey indicated  
an average age of 20.95±2.81 years among 105  
respondents. The other demographic and selected  
characteristics of the study population are shown in  
Table 1. Out of the total samples of 105 students,  
majority i.e.64 (61%) were females as seen in Table 1.  
72.4% 18.1% and 8.6 of the respondents were  
undergraduate degree, graduate degree and plus two  
degree respectively along with 1 (approximately 1%)  
respondent being a student of post graduate one year  
degree. Majority of the respondents lived inside the  
capital; with 71.4% living in urban areas and the rest  
either in sun-urban or rural areas. 89.5% were  
dependents that were living with their parents or  
guardians, with majority having a steady family  
Tools of data collection  
The study instrument comprised a structured  
questionnaire format that inquired about socio-  
demographic information such as sex, age, study level,  
residency and so on as well as the worries related to  
COVID-19 and availability of social support, among  
others. Moreover, the participants responded to the 7-  
item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7). The  
GAD-7 scale consists of 7 questions that require  
approximately 12 minutes to administer (Mossman,  
et al., 2017). Similarly, the respondents reported their  
symptoms using a Liker rating scale ranging from 0  
56  
J. Educ. Manage. Stud., 10(3): 55-60, 2020  
income. Most participants lived in area where there  
COVID-19 cases had been identified.  
Table 1. Socio-demographic variables of the respondents  
Variables  
Frequency (n)  
Percentage (%)  
Male  
41  
64  
15  
90  
9
39.05  
60.95  
14.29  
85.71  
8.57  
Sex  
Female  
Less than 18  
Age Groups  
18 and above  
Plus two  
Undergraduate  
76  
19  
1
72.38  
18.10  
0.95  
Study level  
Graduate  
Others (PG Diploma)  
Inside Capital  
77  
28  
75  
30  
19  
86  
11  
73.33  
26.67  
71.43  
28.60  
18.10  
81.90  
10.48  
89.52  
22.86  
77.14  
Residency  
Outside Capital  
Urban  
Area of Residency  
Semi-urban/Rural  
No  
Steady Family Income  
Yes  
No  
Dependent  
Yes  
94  
24  
81  
No  
COVID-19 cases in your area  
Yes  
Mental health impact of the pandemic on  
college students  
demographic characteristics such as age group,  
education, region, place of residency, family income,  
dependency or living with parents as well as cases  
identified in their area had no significant effect on  
anxiety (P>0.05).  
Table 2 shows the psychological impact or the  
differing level of anxiety experienced by the students  
during the outbreak. Of the 105 college students, one-  
third (33.3%) students had no symptoms of anxiety,  
whereas the rest i.e. 66.67% or two-third had some  
level of anxiety ranging from mild to moderate and  
even severe. Out of the 70 students that experienced  
anxiety, 38.54% had mild anxiety, 34.29% had  
moderate and 27.14% had severe anxiety.  
Table 2. Proportion of students with varying anxiety  
Frequency  
(n)  
Percentage  
(%)  
Anxiety  
Normal (No Anxiety)  
Some form of Anxiety  
Total  
35  
70  
33.33  
66.67  
100  
105  
Factors influencing students’ anxiety during  
the pandemic  
Anxiety Categorization  
Table 3 shows the association between the socio-  
demographic variables of students and their anxiety  
associated with COVID-19. Gender of the respondents  
Mild  
27  
24  
19  
38.57  
34.29  
27.14  
100  
Moderate  
Severe  
Total  
had  
a
significant effect on the respondent’s  
anxiousness, where the females had an increased  
anxiety as compared to the male respondents  
(P<0.005). On the other hand, other socio-  
70  
57  
Dangal and Bajracharya, 2020  
Table 3. Association between the socio-demographic variables of students and the level of anxiety  
Anxiety (rounded off percent)  
Items  
Statistics  
p-value  
No Anxiety  
Some Anxiety  
Gender  
12.5  
<0.001  
Male  
Female  
22 (20.95%)  
13 (12.38%)  
19 (18.10%)  
51 (48.57%)  
Age group  
0.35  
0.554  
0.738  
Less than 18  
18 and above  
Study level  
4 (3.81%)  
31 (29.52%)  
11 (10.48%)  
59 (56.19%  
0.607  
Plus two  
Undergraduate  
Post graduate or similar *  
4 (3.81%)  
25 (23.81%)  
6 (5.71%)  
5 (4.76%)  
51 (48.57%)  
14 (13.33%)  
4.773  
5.25  
0.116  
0.22  
Residency  
Inside Capital  
Outside Capital  
21 (20%)  
14 (13.33%)  
56 (53.33%)  
14 (13.33%)  
Area of residency  
Urban  
Semi-urban/rural  
20 (19.05%)  
15 (14.29%)  
55 (52.3%)  
15 (14.29%)  
Steady family income  
0.803  
0.051  
0.972  
0.37  
No  
Yes  
8 (7.62%)  
27 (25.71%)  
11 (10.48%)  
7 (6.67%)  
Dependent  
0.822  
0.324  
No  
Yes  
4 (3.81%)  
31 (29.52%)  
7 (6.67%)  
63 (60%)  
COVID cases identified in your area  
No  
Yes  
10 (9.52%)  
25 (23.81%)  
14 (13.33%)  
56 (53.33%)  
*Graduate degrees and post graduate diploma were combined into one category  
Correlation between the COVID-19-related  
stress factors and anxiety among students during  
the COVID-19 pandemic  
The results of the correlation analysis between  
the stressors related to COVID-19 pandemic and  
anxiety among the college students are shown in  
Table 4.  
The students’ worries concerning the financial  
consequences were caused because of the lockdown  
that was enforced due to the pandemic were  
positively related to anxiety in students (r=0.297,  
P<0.05). In addition, the results also suggested a  
negative association between psychological support  
provided by friends, family and their society and  
general anxiety disorder among students during the  
COVID-19 outbreak. (r=−0.380, P<0.001).  
Table 4. Correlation analysis between the COVID-19-  
related stressors and students' anxiety (no anxiety or  
some anxiety) during the pandemic  
COVID related stress factors  
R
P-value  
0.002  
0.123  
DISCUSSION  
Worry about financial  
consequences  
Worry about delays in education  
and learning  
Influence of pandemic on day-to-  
day life  
Support from friends, family and  
society  
0.297  
0.152  
-0.141  
-0.380  
The main goal of this study was to evaluate the  
mental health or the psychological impact of students  
during this pandemic and explore the factors that  
might have been associated with their anxiety at this  
time. The outcomes of this study specified that two-  
thirds of the college students that participated in the  
0.152  
<0.001  
58  
J. Educ. Manage. Stud., 10(3): 55-60, 2020  
survey experienced some level of anxiety. Out of these  
oneself (WHO, 2020). A study in a university in  
Baoding, China suggested that increases in anxiety  
and depression were seen after the confinement of  
due to the onset of the outbreak (Li et al., 2020). The  
findings of our study indicates that female students  
experienced more stresses and negative emotions as a  
result of the pandemic, as compared to the male  
students which might have been possible due to  
emotional reasons. This is a similar result across  
various studies including one conducted in United  
al., 2020). The results also suggested positive  
association between COVID-19 related financial  
burden and psychological distress and anxiety  
symptoms in the students. Cao et. al. (2020) that  
indicated similar results, in addition to positive  
association between effects on day-to-day life and  
anxiety, which is in contrast to our study. Students in  
Nepal as well as across the globe might be worried  
about paying their tuition fees as well as concerned  
with the delays in their studies and education caused  
by this COVID-19 pandemic.  
The Education and Health Committee of the  
Parliament in Nepal had directed the schools not to  
admit new students or charge tuition fees until the  
situation returns back to normal. Conversely, defying  
the government’s directives, the guardians reported  
that pressure has been put on them to pay the fees,  
especially in case of private schools (Ghimire, 2020).  
Even though the lockdown modality has loosened a  
bit, most schools, colleges and universities have  
shifted to and are following distant schooling  
methods but the psychological factors associated as  
well as monetary factors and digital divide might have  
put more burden on the students.  
70 students that were found to have some level of  
anxiety, 38.54% had mild anxiety, 34.29% had  
moderate and 27.14% had severe anxiety. The Centers  
for Disease Control and Prevention in United States  
suggests that any new disease or uncertainty can be  
overwhelming and cause strong reactions of panic  
and worry among adults and children (CDC, 2020). A  
study on psychological impacts of the pandemic  
conducted in Ethiopian students suggested that most  
of the participants (77.2%) were reported to have  
experienced some psychological impact due to  
Anxiety disorders are more likely to occur  
and deteriorate in the absence of interpersonal  
communication or social support, especially among  
college students (Cao et al., 2020) which may have  
occurred as a result of social distancing and lockdown.  
The anxiety disorders might also result in the loss of  
activeness and productivity in a person resulting to a  
poor and a difficult life. In any given situation,  
support; especially psychological support, is said to  
ease mental health turmoil such as depressive  
thoughts, fear, anxiousness and worry. Societal  
support was negatively correlated with the anxiety of  
the students in a Chinese university in a study by Cao  
et. al. (2020). Similar findings were seen in this study  
as well, where support from friends, family as well as  
society was negatively correlated with experiences of  
anxiousness among college students. Social support  
not only moderates the psychological pressure during  
these emergencies but also changes the attitude  
regarding social support and help-seeking methods  
and also calms down a person`s mind to bring in  
positive thoughts instead of a tangled mind (Cao et al.,  
The shortage of Personal Protective Equipment,  
specifically during the early onset period, combined  
with the overwhelming news headlines and  
inaccurate news reports have only added to the  
anxiety and fear experienced by students (Ayittey et  
al., 2020). Even the World Health Organization has  
suggested to reduce watching, reading or listening to  
news about COVID-19 and to only seek information  
from reliable sources, mainly because the abrupt and  
continuous stream of news and reports regarding the  
outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious and  
worried which in return causes even greater harm to  
CONCLUSIONS  
This study intended to find the psychological impact  
or the mental health situation of college students  
caused by the unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic. The  
results of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7)  
scale found that majority (70 students or two-thirds)  
of the students have experienced anxiety because of  
this pandemic, out of which 38.6% experienced mild  
anxiety, 34.3% experienced moderate and 27.1%  
experienced severe anxiety. Gender of the student was  
found to be a factor for experienced anxiousness  
59  
Dangal and Bajracharya, 2020  
Ghimire, B. (2020, July). Defying government’s directives  
among students. The female respondents were found  
to have increased levels of anxiety as compared to  
males. The worries related to financial aspect of the  
pandemic were positively associated with the anxiety  
among students, whereas collective support from peer  
groups, family as well as the society was negatively  
correlated with their anxiety.  
and parliamentary committee’s order, private schools  
ask parents to pay tuition fees. The Kathmandu Post. Link  
Huang, Y., and Zhao, N. (2020). Generalized anxiety disorder,  
depressive symptoms and sleep quality during COVID-  
19 outbreak in China: A web-based cross-sectional  
survey.  
Psychiatry  
Research,  
288,  
1-6.  
DOI:  
In conclusion, a significant amount of students  
are experiencing anxiety during this situation, not  
only in Nepal but throughout the world due to various  
reasons. With the uncertainty that has arisen with the  
circumstances caused by COVID-19 virus, students  
require support, help and attention from personal  
groups as well as the surrounding society, educators  
and institutions. Psycho-social help must be offered to  
the students in need, not only from educational  
institutions but also from governments and related  
psychological and non-government organizations.  
Li, H. Y., Cao, H., Leung, D. Y., & Mak, Y. W. (2020). The  
Psychological Impacts of a COVID-19 Outbreak on  
College Students in China: A Longitudinal Study.  
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public  
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MOHP. (2020, July). Nepal’s latest statistics. Kathmandu:  
Ministry of Health and Population.  
MOHP. (2020). Health sector emergency response plan:  
COVID-19 pandemic. Ministry of Health and Population.  
Mossman, S. A., Luft, M. J., Schroeder, H. K., Varney, S. T.,  
Fleck, D. E., Barzman, D. H., . . . Strawn, J. R. (2017). The  
generalized anxiety disorder 7-item (GAD-7) scale in  
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DECLARATIONS  
Author’s contribution  
Both authors contributed equally to this work.  
Neupane, A. R. (2020, May). Virtual learning during  
lockdown. My Republica. Link  
Competing interests  
The authors declare that they have no competing  
interests.  
Perz, C. A., Lang, B. A., and Harrington, R. (2020, June).  
Validation of the fear of COVID-19 scale in a US college  
sample. International Journal of Mental Health and  
Addiction,  
1-11.  
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