International students’ loneliness, depression and stress levels in COVID-19 crisis: The role of social media and the host university

Nikolaos Misirlis, HAN University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands, Miriam Zwaan, HAN University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands, Alexandros Sotiriou, Hellenic Open University, Greece, David Weber, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
Published online: 30 October 2020, JCETR, 4(2), pp. 20-25.

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4256624

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Purpose: The move to university life is characterized by strong emotions, some of them negative, such as loneliness, anxiety, and depression. These negative emotions are strengthened due to the obligatory lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this research is to analyze the loneliness, depression and stress levels among international students, based on the use of social media and the role of the host university.

Methods: The research was focused on survey data from international students In a total of 248 valid responses, we collected 171 from female students and 71 from males. 105 students are freshmen, 94 in their second year of study, 27 at the third, 20 at the fourth and 2 students graduated last summer. The dominant nationality is the Dutch (n=62) and Vietnamese (n=37).

Results: Previous research indicates association among the use of social media, university satisfaction, and aforementioned emotions. The results indicate strong correlations between anxiety, loneliness, and COVID-19-related stress with university satisfaction, together with social capital.

Implications: The present study will lead to practical implications, such as the formation of Universities Pandemic Crisis teams all over the world with common manuals and good practices, exchanging experience from research like the present.


COVID-19; Pandemic; lockdown; loneliness; depression; anxiety; international students

JEL Classification: I23, I28