Examination of the psychological well-being of students during the coronavirus pandemic: The case of Hungarian economic universities

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A long, familiar stage of life ends with graduation from secondary school. The closure of this phase can also be seen as a loss or mourning: saying goodbye to high school, parting with old friends, teachers, environment, etc. After entering the university, young people will be not only new students of higher education, but also new participants in the labor market, which means that they will have to satisfy both needs at the same time. The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic complicates this situation. With this in mind, the purpose of this study is to understand the mental health status and problems of first-year students currently enrolled for three undergraduate business courses in Budapest. This research paper investigates whether the pressures, isolation, uncertainty, financial worries, loss of control, and moving back in with parents caused by the pandemic have had an impact on students’ mental health. This study used the EPOCH model. The EPOCH-H questionnaire was filled in by 1,719 first-year full-time students. Based on the results, a total of 8 main groups and its subgroups of factors were affected by the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic. These students will be workers in the future carrying these effects with them. According to the results, students’ mental health needs to be strengthened in typical educational processes, and maintaining and improving students’ mental health should be the focus of all higher education institutions in the future.
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    • Figure 1. Main groups and subgroups of what the pandemic has taken away from the students
    • Figure 2. Main groups and subgroups of positive factors
    • Table 1. Main groups and subgroups of what the pandemic has taken away from students
    • Table 2. Main groups and subgroups of what the pandemic gave to students
    • Table 3. Trends in average ‘criticalʼ responses by gender
    • Table 4. Comparison of students with and without mental health problems (% within problem)
    • Table 5. Significance analysis of EPOCH responses
    • Conceptualization
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Data curation
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Formal Analysis
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Funding acquisition
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally
    • Investigation
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Methodology
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Software
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Resources
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Supervision
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Validation
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Visualization
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally, Judit Bernadett Vágány
    • Writing – original draft
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally
    • Writing – review & editing
      Szilvia Erdei-Gally
    • Project administration
      Judit Bernadett Vágány