Lockdown during COVID-19 Pandemic: The Psychological Responses and Coping Strategies among Medical Students in a Public University in Malaysia


  • Chuong Hock Ting Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Aik Kai Tew Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  • Joel Petrus Chin Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  • Jia Yi Lim Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  • Rubeni Siva Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  • Tamendaren Salvem Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  • Denver Nichol Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)




COVID-19, psychological response, coping strategies, medical students


World Health Organization (WHO) had promulgated Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a pandemic in the early year 2020. Following that, the National Security Council of Malaysia had announced the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in March 2020 to curb the disease. This social distancing measure had inevitably induced undesirable psychological responses among the public, including medical students. In this study, we aim to determine the psychological responses of medical students during the MCO period and their coping strategies. This cross-sectional study was conducted among 245 medical students of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) from 24th to 30th April 2020, using an online questionnaire comprising demographic data, Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS-21), and Brief COPE questionnaire. Nearly 30% of medical students experienced stress, anxiety, or depression. Among all, 9.4% had reported severe anxiety. There were significant differences between avoidance coping strategies and negative psychological responses. In general, the medical students preferred approach coping strategies (M = 29.19, SD = 9.27). Religion (M= 5.62, SD =2.10) was the most favored coping strategy while the least had abused substance (M=2.16, SD.77). A significant statistical difference was revealed in the choice of coping between the genders, for positive reframing, religion, humour, and substance abuse.  Pre-clinical students were noted to have significant stress and anxiety levels and more inclined to use avoidance coping strategies.  Psychological interventions are essential to address the mental health problems among university students during current and future disasters based on the understanding of their coping strategies.


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DOI: 10.33102/uij.vol33no1.279
Published: 2021-04-30

How to Cite

Ting, C. H., Tew, A. K. ., Petrus Chin, J., Lim, J. Y., Siva, R., Salvem, T., & Nichol, D. (2021). Lockdown during COVID-19 Pandemic: The Psychological Responses and Coping Strategies among Medical Students in a Public University in Malaysia. Ulum Islamiyyah, 33(2), 4-22. https://doi.org/10.33102/uij.vol33no1.279

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