Middlesex University and mental fitness app Fika have launched a nationwide study to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the emotional and physical wellbeing of higher education staff and students.
MDX and Fika academics will explore how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the mental and physical health and fitness of students in both the short and longer term.
They are encouraging staff and students at HE institutions across the UK to complete an online survey, which lasts about 20 minutes, answering questions about their experience during the global health crisis.
The project is a collaboration between MDX staff Dr Camille Alexis-Garsee, an Associate Professor in Health Psychology, and Dr Nicola Payne, an Associate Professor in Psychology, and Dr Zornitza Yovcheva-Dimova from Fika.
The survey findings will be collected over different stages to measure the impact of COVID-19 and it is hoped initial survey results will be available in the summer with the final report published later in the year.
Drs Payne and Alexis-Garsee said: "There is currently a lot of concern about the impact of COVID-19 and social isolation on mental health.
"Research is beginning to investigate this but we want to go further by examining predictors of mental and physical health and well-being, including coping, rumination and experiences of remote working or studying.
"The current situation is uniquely challenging for both groups due to ongoing teaching, learning and assessment requirements, and having to get used to new ways of working and studying online, while potentially managing additional family demands at home and worries about COVID-19.
"This research is important so that we may better understand how to support those in the HE sector over the coming years, as they continue to deal with worries about COVID-19, and eventually, its psychological, social and financial aftermath."
Fika’s Head of Research Dr Zoe Dimov said: “We’re really proud to be working with Dr Alexis-Garsee and Dr Payne on this research, which will offer urgent and essential insight into COVID-19’s impact on the higher education community.
“The study aims to assess both the short-term and long-term impact of the pandemic on students’ and staff’s mental and physical health, so we will be collecting the findings in three phases.
"The findings will be important to our overall work at Fika, as they will inform future content we create but we also hope the study will help to shape the sector’s response to COVID-19."
*This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and Middlesex University is holding a number of virtual events over the coming days, including coffee breaks, yoga, fitness workouts and staff development, to mark the occasion.
Find out more about psychology at Middlesex
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