Social distancing and emotional state of university students in the COVID-19 pandemic: a descriptive-exploratory study
HTML (Português (Brasil))
PDF (Português (Brasil))
EPUB (Português (Brasil))


Mental Health
Pandemics Saúde Mental

PlumX Metrics


Objective: To understand the experience of social distancing in the initial period of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emotional state of university students. Method: A qualitative, exploratory-descriptive study was carried out with 237 students from a public higher education institution located in the Midwest region of Brazil. Data was collected virtually by electronic questionnaires, released in a spreadsheet, and subjected to descriptive analysis and thematic content analysis. Results: Two categories emerged: "Between emotional changes and difficulties in adapting to remote teaching" and "Social distancing and approximation with the self". The narratives suggest the experience of worries, anxiety, shock, and emotional instability due to social distancing and remote teaching during the pandemic and denote more time for self-care and family coexistence. Conclusion: It is necessary to develop intersectoral strategies for health promotion and prevention of mental disorders, in partnership with the educational institutions, adjusted to the current context.
HTML (Português (Brasil))
PDF (Português (Brasil))
EPUB (Português (Brasil))


Xiong J, Lipsitz O, Nasri F, Lui LMW, Gill H, Phan L, et al. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the general population: A systematic review. J Affect Disord. 2020;277(June):55–64. PMid:32799105

Son C, Hegde S, Smith A, Wang X, Sasangohar F. Effects of COVID-19 on college students’ mental health in the United States: interview survey study. J Med Internet Res. 2020;22(9):1–14. PMid:32805704

Santos GMRF, Silva ME, Belmonte BR. COVID-19: emergency remote teaching and university professors’ mental health. Rev Bras Saúde Matern Infant. 2021;21(suppl 1):237–43.

Aquino EML, Silveira IH, Pescarini JM, Aquino R, Souza-Filho JA, et al. Social distancing measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic: potential impacts and challenges in Brazil. Cienc Saude Colet. 2020;25:2423–46. PMid:32520287

Chaturvedi K, Vishwakarma DK, Singh N. COVID-19 and its impact on education, social life and mental health of students: A survey. Child Youth Serv Rev. 2021;121(July 2020):105866. PMid:33390636

Aguilera-Hermida AP. College students’ use and acceptance of emergency online learning due to COVID-19. Int J Educ Res Open. 2020;1(August):100011. PMid:

Odriozola-González P, Planchuelo-Gómez Á, Irurtia MJ, Luis-García R. Psychological effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown among students and workers of a Spanish university. Psychiatry Res. 2020;290(May):113108. PMid:32450409

Patias ND, Von Hohendorff J, Cozzer AJ, Flores PA, Scorsolini-Comin F. Mental Health and Coping Strategies in Undergraduate and Graduate Students During COVID-19 Pandemic. Trends Psychol. 2021;29:414–433.

Baticulon RE, Sy JJ, Alberto NRI, Baron MBC, Mabulay REC, Rizada LGT, et al. Barriers to Online Learning in the Time of COVID-19: A National Survey of Medical Students in the Philippines. Med Sci Educ. 2021;31(2):615–26. PMid:33649712

O’Brien BC, Harris IB, Beckman TJ, Reed, Cook DA. Standards for reporting qualitative research: a synthesis of recommendations. Acad Medi. 2014;89(9):1245-1251.

Bardin L. Análise de conteúdo. Paris: PUF; 2011.

Chu DK, Akl EA, Duda S, Solo K, Yaacoub S, Schünemann HJ. Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The lancet. 2020;395(10242):1973-1987. PMid:32497510

Zhang R, Li Y, Zhang AL, Wang Y, Molina MJ. Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117(26):14857–63. PMid:33020309

Fernandes S, Nascimento M, Chagas J, Angelo J, Rocha A, Souza V. Facebook e pandemia da COVID-19: Um estudo sobre o compartilhamento de crenças online. New Trends in Qualitative Research. 2021;(8):78-87.


Araújo APF, Ribeiro Neto FAB, Nunes IA, Coelho NL, Caldas Júnior PF, Santos MD, et al. Como a pandemia tem influenciado no perfil psicológico das pessoas? Uma revisão de literatura acerca do acometimento das pessoas pelos transtornos da ansiedade e da depressão frente aos desafios de sobreviver na pandemia. Brazilian J Heal Rev. 2021;4(3):12300-12307.

Gracino YLL, Louverina MH, Gaudioso CE, Souza JC. Somatoform disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Res Soc Dev. 2020;9(9):e902998019.

Gomes AD, Tavares CMM, Carvalho JC, Souza MT, Souza MMT. Emotions manifested by school adolescents in the COVID-19 pandemic. Res Soc Dev. 2021;10(3):e47110313179.

Oliveira Neto L, Elsangedy HM, Tavares VDO, Teixeira CVLS, Behm DG, Da Silva-Grigoletto ME. TrainingInHome - training at home during the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic: physical exercise and behavior-based approach. Rev Bras Fisiol Exerc. 2020;19(2supl):S9-S19.

Parisi R, Lagomarsino F, Rania N, Coppola I. Women Face to Fear and Safety Devices During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy: Impact of Physical Distancing on Individual Responsibility, Intimate, and Social Relationship. Front Public Health. 2021;9:151. PMid:33777882

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2022 Array