We aimed to synthesize research findings identifying factors associated with mental health in undergraduate nursing students early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seven electronic databases were searched using key terms and subject headings. JBI Critical Appraisal Checklists were used to evaluate research report quality.
Among 23 reports (19 quantitative and four qualitative) meeting inclusion criteria, negative emotional responses to COVID-19 (fear of infection, perceived risk, uncertainty about care/future), negative behavioral responses to COVID-19 (eating behaviors, problematic internet use, insomnia), and negative coping strategies were associated with more adverse mental health symptoms. Conversely, social support, professional identity, preventive behaviors, sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), and positive coping strategies were related to fewer symptoms.
During a pandemic, undergraduate nursing students require educational support to promote their ability to avoid severe mental health disorders. Also, educators should strengthen students’ professional identity, provide infection prevention knowledge and skills, and supply sufficient PPE.
The authors thank Ms. Audrey Zenner and Mr. Jon S. Mann at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Academic Center for Excellence for editing and Ms. Rebecca Raszewski at the Library Liaison to the UIC Graduate Nursing in Chicago for consultation regarding database searches.
Research funding: None declared.
Author contributions: KS and SCV were responsible for study conception, design, and data extraction, data analysis and drafting the manuscript. KS, SCV, and RKF determined study eligibility. All authors contributed to the critical appraisal, and have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.
Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.
Informed consent: Not applicable.
Ethical approval: Not applicable.
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