Sampling investigation and statistical analysis for mental problems of freshmen


Descriptive statistics for the sampling investigation

The total number of valid questionnaires collected and the number of mental problems detected are in Table 2. The mental problems are divided into three levels according to the severity in descending sequence, that is, first-level is the most serious problem.

Table 2 Number of valid questionnaires and mental problems detected.

In Table 2, the total number is the number of valid questionnaires collected in each grade, and sum is the total number of students diagnosed with mental problems. Percentage is the percentage of students diagnosed with mental problems. From Table 2, the percentage of mental problems in year 2021 is significantly higher than other 3 years. The main reason is in year 2021, the pandemic has lasted for more than one year. With the passage of time, a growing number of students are influenced by the pandemic and related control measures, thus there is a marked increase on mental problems.

The descriptive statistics of the demographic and social characteristics of the participants, such as grade, gender and region are in Table 3. The percentage is in parentheses. The region is the student’s hometown region.

Table 3 Demographic and social characteristics of the participants.

The mean, standard deviation (SD) and score range of all psychological problem indicators of the participants in each year is in Fig. 1 (in appendix).

Figure 1
figure 1

The descriptive statistics for mental problems in year 2018–2021.

Comparison of the extent of anxiety and depression in pre pandemic era vs. post pandemic era

The contrast of anxiety of pre pandemic era vs. post pandemic era is in Fig. 2. From the result (a) in Fig. 2, the P value of the contrast of anxiety of pre pandemic era vs. post pandemic era is 0.0069, which means there is significant difference between the extent of anxiety between pre pandemic era and post pandemic era. Thus we have to do multiple comparison for the means of anxiety in each year.

Figure 2
figure 2

Comparison of anxiety for post pandemic era versus pre pandemic era.

From the results (b) and (c) for multiple comparison in Fig. 2, the means of anxiety in year 2020 and 2021 are marked as A, the means of anxiety in year 2019 is marked as A and B, and the means of anxiety in year 2018 is marked as B. The P value of the multiple comparison is 0.0455. This means comparing with pre pandemic era, the extent of anxiety of post pandemic era is significantly higher. The boxplots (d) also confirm that conclusion.

The contrast of depression of pre pandemic era vs. post pandemic era is in Fig. 3. From Fig. 3, the P value of the contrast of depression of pre pandemic era vs. post pandemic era is 0.0051, which means there is significant difference between the extent of depression before and after COVID-19 pandemic. Thus we have to do multiple comparison for the mean of the scores of depression in each year.

Figure 3
figure 3

Comparison of depression for post pandemic era versus pre pandemic era.

From the results for multiple comparison, the mean of depression in year 2020 is marked as A, the mean of depression in year 2021 is marked as A and B, and the means of depression in year 2018 and 2019 are marked as B. The P value of the multiple comparison is 0.0284. This means comparing with pre pandemic era, the extent of depression in post pandemic era is significantly higher. The boxplots also confirm that conclusion.

From Figs. 2 and 3, the extents of both anxiety and depression in 2020 are the highest among the 4 years. The main reason is the lockdown and containment measures of universities and even the whole society in Shandong Province is the most severe in year 2020, which caused enormous disruptions to daily life. These measures are unprecedented in most freshmen’s life, thus the psychological discomfort, including anxiety and depression is significantly more severe. On the other side, from Table 2, the percentage of mental problems in year 2021 is the highest among the 4 years.

These results indicate comparing with pre pandemic era, the extent of anxiety and depression of freshmen are significantly more severe in post pandemic era.

Lu Lin, the academician of the Chinese Academy of Science, pointed out the pandemic have severe effect on people’s mental health, especially on anxiety and depression, and nearly one third of the isolated residents suffer from depression, anxiety and insomnia (https://weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309634809997371703510). Other typical research,…



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