Changes in lifestyle habits and its association with depression during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic among University students in India

To combat COVID-19 pandemic, measures like self-isolation and closure of colleges have struck students with challenges directly impacting their lifestyle habits resulting into psychological problems like depression. The present study analyses the prevalence of depression and lifestyle habits changes in the COVID-19 pandemic among university students and their association. A cross-sectional web-based survey was done with validated questionnaire to assess the changes in lifestyle and depression (PHQ-9) among University students (N=222) across India. About 31.98% students reported mild depression while 5.40% had severe depression. In terms of lifestyle habits, females reported high prevalence of increased positive habits (82.4%) as compared to males (69.8%) and males reported an increase in their negative habits (47.7%) than females (44.1%). A significant increased risk for depression was found among students who had a decrease in positive lifestyle habits and who had an increase in negative lifestyle habits respectively. The measures adopted to control corona-virus have mixed impact on the lifestyle habits. Among students, the adaptation of negative lifestyle habits is one of the potential causes of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. These observations can help aid the development of recommendations to maintain physical as well as mental health of University students during the COVID-19 pandemic.