The Salusex team of the Universitat Jaume I (UJI), led by Professor Rafael Ballester, and the UJI Hàbitat Saludable programme have carried out a study on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the life of the students of the public university of Castellón. The conclusions highlight the psychological or academic impact that the students have endured as a consequence of the pandemic as well as their exemplary behaviour towards health protection and preventive measures.
The main researcher of the study, Rafael Ballester, emphasises that «contrary to the messages that are continuously spread about the irresponsibility of young people, this study shows a very different image: that of the university students of the UJI, young people deeply affected by the pandemic who are showing great maturity and responsibility in dealing with the restrictions arising from it and of whom the UJI can be very proud».
The study was based on a survey, issued in February 2021, in which 1,490 UJI students participated. Of these, 20.7% considered themselves male, 68.2% female and 0.6% non-binary. All centres were represented in the survey, with 14.6% of participants from the School of Technology and Experimental Sciences, 23.9% from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, 24.8% from the Faculty of Law and Economics and 18.8% from the Faculty of Health Sciences. As for the type of studies, 89.3% were undergraduate students and the rest were master’s and doctoral students.
Young university students at the UJI have expressed feeling very affected by the pandemic in different aspects of their lives. The results of the survey indicate a high psychological impact of the pandemic on young university students in terms of levels of concern, mood or uncertainty management, as well as resentment of social and sexual life.
From the academic point of view, the majority of students (70.9%) think that the pandemic has significantly affected their education, a high impact that, according to the results, seems to have led to a revaluation of face-to-face classes.
Regarding the health behaviours of the students and their follow-up of preventive measures, their attitude has been exemplary, with a high perception of the seriousness of the consequences of the disease and a high degree of confidence in both the methods of protection and vaccination.