Perceived stress, coping strategies and emotions pre- and post-COVID-19 vaccination in university healthcare students
As a consequence of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many studies have identified differences in attitude towards vaccination by university students. The aim of the present study was to investigate various psychological, emotional and behavioral responses influenced by the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in a sample of university students in healthcare professions.
An ad hoc questionnaire was created and made available through the Google Modules platform. The questionnaire consisted of the following: a) the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) measuring the degree to which situations in a person's life can be evaluated as stressful, unpredictable, uncontrollable or overloaded; b) the Brief Coping Orientation to the Problems Experienced (Brief COPE) inventory to measure effective and ineffective ways of coping with a stressful life event; and c) seven questions created ad hoc that investigated emotions and moods pre- and post-vaccination.
A total of 344 students from the following faculties participated in the study: medicine and surgery (37.5%), nursing (32.8%), obstetrics (15.4%) and physiotherapy (14.2%) at the University of Salerno, Italy.
In relation to the time of vaccination, 56.7% of the sample showed a moderate level of stress. Many students used emotion-focused and avoidant coping. Females were found to have implemented avoidance strategies more often than males.
In the pre-vaccination analysis, it is interesting to note that "fear" was the emotion most experienced by the students, as this is the primary emotion characterized by the use of avoidance strategies for survival. Furthermore, the words "hope" and "vaccination" were most often recorded in the post-vaccination phase with correspondingly positive headwords such as: colleague, start, day, result, emotion and able to. This association shows the students' ability to adapt and be resilient through change, and conveys that self-perception is important.
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