Psychological Distress and Coping of Filipino University Students amidst the Global Pandemic: A Mixed-Method Study

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Jennifer O. Serrano, Marc Eric S. Reyes, Allan B. de Guzman


Due to the global health crisis, university students are forced to adapt and cope with the unplanned shift from the classroom to the online learning mode. The sudden change made them a vulnerable population and at heightened risk to experience psychological distress since they have heavy-laden academic, family, and personal life responsibilities. Despite their distress experiences, they manage to practice different coping strategies, which include cognitive/and or behavioral efforts. This sequential-explanatory mixed-method study investigated Filipino university students' psychological experience of distress and coping behavior amidst the pandemic in the year 2020. Five hundred four university students completed the Psychological Distress Scale and Brief Cope Inventory in our descriptive, cross-sectional quantitative first phase, and fourteen students participated in our phenomenological qualitative second phase. The sequential-explanatory process led to the development of the Wheel of Filipino University Students'' Psychological Distress. This conceptual model typifies Filipino university students' psychological distress experiences and coping strategies. The emerging wheel model in this study offers evidence-based information for mental health policymakers in safeguarding the physical, social, and psychological well-being of students. It can be a valuable platform for mental health professionals in developing more focused intervention and treatment programs for psychological distress following the Philippine Mental Health Act.

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