Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2024 Feb 20. Epub ahead of print.

Social isolation and depression in Covid times in Indian college students: tracing the dots in a suburban sample.

Mukherjee M, Chatterjee A.


Background and aims: Depression has been previously linked with solitude and lack of social interaction. Social isolation has been a part of many lives during the Covid-19 pandemic times. Students especially have experienced major upheaval during this time, almost overnight having to switch to an online mode of learning from their tried-and-true offline classroom mode of learning. In addition, suddenly, they were bereft of their friends, their peers, and isolated, albeit of necessity, but isolated none the less leading to feelings of loneliness and depression. The current research aims to find the association, if any, between social isolation and depression among college students. Methods: The present work studies social isolation, in terms of feelings of loneliness as assessed by UCLA Loneliness Scale and depression as assessed by Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)-II in a sample of 100 Indian college students (50 males and 50 females), residing in suburban Kolkata. Results: Results of data analysis indicated a statistically significant strong positive correlation (r=0.627, p<0.01) between loneliness and depression scores. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed significant variations in loneliness scores between different levels of depression as per BDI-II (F=23.841, p<0.01). Sex differences were not statistically significant for either variable. Conclusions: The present research thus presents evidence in support of the original supposition that prolonged social isolation and loneliness are connected to depression as well as their possible long-term implications on health.


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