University students' psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic: A structural equation model of the role of resource loss and gain

Lauren Kelada, Miriam Schiff, Ohad Gilbar, Ruth Pat-Horenczyk, Rami Benbenishty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory, we aimed to determine whether university students' loss and gain in resources during the pandemic mediated the relationships between COVID-19 exposure/concern and depression and anxiety. In 2021, 7013 Israeli university students completed online questionnaires. We assessed the data using structural equation modeling. We found that resource loss was directly related to concern (β = 0.32, p < 0.001). Depression and anxiety were both directly related to loss of resources (depression: β = 0.75, p < 0.001; anxiety: β = 0.69, p < 0.001) and concern (depression: β = 0.06, p < 0.001; anxiety: β = 0.12, p < 0.001). Resource loss had an indirect effect on the relationships between concern and depression (β = 0.24, p < 0.001) and concern and anxiety (β = 0.22, p < 0.001). COR theory may help explain the mechanisms behind university students' mental health during the pandemic and provides a framework to better understand preparedness for future pandemics, epidemics, and major disasters. Governments and universities should help prevent the loss of resources during future emergencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3012-3028
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Volume51
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Community Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • conservation of resources theory
  • COVID-19
  • mental health
  • university students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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