Effect of COVID-19 outbreak on anxiety among students of higher education; A review of literature

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Background and Purpose

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health of students and exacerbated the prevalence of anxiety among them. The purpose of the literature review was to consolidate evidence for the prevalence of anxiety among students of higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic and to underscore the effect of various pandemic-related factors on this anxiety.


A comprehensive literature search was conducted utilizing various databases such as MEDLINE, PsycInfo Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Embase to identify relevant studies. To be incorporated in this review, studies had to include students of higher education, measure the prevalence of anxiety, and assess anxiety during Covid-19 pandemic.


37 studies met the inclusion criteria and assessed the prevalence of anxiety among students during confinement. Studies showed that more than one-third of the students suffered from anxiety during the early stages of the pandemic. Moreover, being a female, living in rural areas, facing financial hardship, working full-time, spending the quarantine in isolation, worrying about infection for themselves and others, having the uncertainty of the future, having reduced sleep quality, and transitioning to online learning, were factors associated with increased anxiety during the pandemic.


Anxiety was shown to be highly prevalent among the student population during the Covid-19 pandemic. Higher education institutions and governments should take action to ensure the safety and the physical, social, and mental wellbeing of the students.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.