The COVID-19 pandemic led world authorities to adopt extraordinary measures to coun-teract the spread of the virus. The Italian government established a national lockdown from 9 March to 3 May 2020, forcing people in their homes and imposing social distancing. During the pandemic emergency, university students emerged as a vulnerable category. Indeed, higher rates of sleep problems and mental disorders were reported in this population. However, these outcomes were derived from cross-sectional investigations adopting retrospective assessments. Retrospective evaluations suffer from different biases, putatively leading to erroneous outcomes. To overcome this limitation, we adopted a between-subject approach comparing a sample of 240 Italian undergraduate university students assessed in 2016 (mean age ± standard deviation, 20.39 ± 1.42, range 18–25; 80.42% females), with an age/gender-matched sample of university students assessed during the third week of lockdown in Spring 2020. We evaluated sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, and depressive symptomatology using validated questionnaires. We found worse sleep quality, a delayed bedtime, and more severe insomnia and depression symptoms in the students sampled under COVID-19 restrictive measures. We suggest paying special attention to this at-risk population during the current pandemic emergency and applying preventive and supportive interventions to limit the exacerbation of sleep and psychological problems.

Sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, and depressive symptomatology among italian university students before and during the covid-19 lockdown

Viselli L.;Salfi F.;D'atri A.;Ferrara M.
2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic led world authorities to adopt extraordinary measures to coun-teract the spread of the virus. The Italian government established a national lockdown from 9 March to 3 May 2020, forcing people in their homes and imposing social distancing. During the pandemic emergency, university students emerged as a vulnerable category. Indeed, higher rates of sleep problems and mental disorders were reported in this population. However, these outcomes were derived from cross-sectional investigations adopting retrospective assessments. Retrospective evaluations suffer from different biases, putatively leading to erroneous outcomes. To overcome this limitation, we adopted a between-subject approach comparing a sample of 240 Italian undergraduate university students assessed in 2016 (mean age ± standard deviation, 20.39 ± 1.42, range 18–25; 80.42% females), with an age/gender-matched sample of university students assessed during the third week of lockdown in Spring 2020. We evaluated sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, and depressive symptomatology using validated questionnaires. We found worse sleep quality, a delayed bedtime, and more severe insomnia and depression symptoms in the students sampled under COVID-19 restrictive measures. We suggest paying special attention to this at-risk population during the current pandemic emergency and applying preventive and supportive interventions to limit the exacerbation of sleep and psychological problems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/176227
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