THE MAIN IMPACTS OF THE LOCKDOWNS AND THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ON THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ MENTAL HEALTH
Istanbul University-Cerrahpasa (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Since 2020, the university students have faced serious problems and conflicts from having their personal health problems and their close people’s health concerns, economic crises to socio-cultural problems, and particularly the adaptation process of the digital transformation. According to World Health Organization, most of the people, particularly the university students who were remaining indoors from quarantining were critically affected by the specific risk factors, such as anxiety and stress disorders. Additionally, the recent studies show that young people in isolation and quarantine experience are considerable under distress in the form of anxiety, frustration, uncertainty, and symptoms post-traumatic stress. In other words, young people live significant psychopathology and mental problems. Furthermore, those young people at the universities are under pressure to access and to adapt to the digital transformation from buying new gadgets, having enough the Internet package to using simple and advance level applications and programs, like Zoom, YouTube, and Google applications.
In this research project, to analyse deeply what the main impacts of the lockdowns and the digital transformation on the university students’ mental health, the qualitative research was conducted in the Fall and Spring semesters of 2021. The primary goal of the qualitative data collected from the university students was to profoundly figure out how the lockdowns had affected the students. In the second phase, the impacts of the digital transformation on the university students’ mental health were critically overviewed to arrange the new mental health programs and interventions at the universities; therefore, the focus groups were organized in the different departments of the public university through the Zoom meetings. The intensive data analyses were conducted for the two phases. Then, the collected data were designed in the subgroups taken from the semi-structured questionnaires. Finally, the NVivo was used to answer the hypothesis of the research projects.
As a result, the analyses of this research study were presented in two phases. In the first phase, the main impacts of the lockdowns were analyzed on the university students’ mental health. Then, in the second phase, the main impacts of the digital transformation on the university students’ mental health were mastered. The well-structured analyses clearly pointed out even the students, who did not have any mental health problems, mentioned that the lockdowns were affected because of five reasons: The first one was having their personal and the close people’s health problems. Especially, those, who lost their parents, had deep mental health problems. The second concern mentioned by the students was losing their career. The third one was the weaknesses in teaching and learning. The fourth one was loosing their social network. The last one was about loneliness and lack of encouragement by their ecosystem.
In the second phase, the analyses related to the impacts of the digital transformation on the university students’ mental health were defined in three subsubjects. The first one was related to the lack of financial support given by their families. The second one, the technological access where they were quarantining since the Internet access was so poor to connect. The last one was the lack of technology based knowledge. Consequently, there should be proactive policies to improve the mental health of the university students.
Keywords: Lockdowns, Digital Transformation, University Students Mental Health, University Management.