Changes in suicidal ideation and related influential factors in college students during the COVID-19 lockdown in China

Shuiqing Huang, Dongfang Wang, Jingbo Zhao, Huilin Chen, Zijuan Ma, Ye Pan, Xianchen Liu, Fang Fan

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7 Citations (SciVal)


This study aims to investigate the patterns and predictors of suicidal ideation (SI) trajectories among college students during extended lockdowns in China. A three-wave survey was conducted during the outbreak period, remission period, and prevention period of COVID-19. Distinct patterns of SI trajectories were established by grouping respondents based on temporal changes in SI. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to examine predictors for delay-occurrence and persistent SI. From a total of 35,516 college students included in the study, rates of SI increased significantly from T1 to T2 (7.3% v. 9.4%) and from T2 to T3 (9.4% v. 12.6%). Five SI trajectories were observed: resilient (80.5% of the sample), recovery (3.6%), relapsing/remitting (4.8%), persistent dysfunction (2.3%) and delayed dysfunction (8.7%). Further, junior-year undergraduates, postgraduates, only-child families, mental health history, confirmed cases in the community of residence, depressive symptoms, and negative coping strategies were significant predictors of distinct SI trajectories, whereas greater social support, more positive coping strategies, and better family functioning were associated with a lower probability of developing delayed or persistent dysfunction during the lockdown period. These findings suggest that continuous preventive and intervening measures for college students during COVID-19 lockdowns are of global importance, particularly among vulnerable groups who experience the most distress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114653
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date4 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31871129 ); Research on the Processes and Repair of Psychological Trauma in Youth, Project of Key Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, MOE (Grant No. 16JJD190001 ); Guangdong Province Universities and Colleges Pearl River Scholar Funded Scheme ( GDUPS 2016 ); and Graduate Research and Innovation Project of School of Psychology, South China Normal University ( PSY-SCNU202017, PSY-SCNU202026 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • College students
  • COVID-19
  • Lockdown
  • Longitudinal survey
  • Suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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