An online art intervention reduces university students’ COVID-19 stress levels
Keywords:COVID-19 related stress, general stress, well-being, art intervention, university students
Recent research investigating university students with respect to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic found high levels of anxiety, worries about academic progress as well as stress imposed by the disruption of daily routine among students. However, the engagement with art presents an effective intervention for stress reduction. Accordingly, we designed and implemented a cross-cultural online art workshop for students in which they were invited to discuss and write their perceived challenges and coping strategies during the pandemic, practiced deep-listening, which includes focusing on the surrounding environment, and produced audio-visual material.
The workshop lasted for 8-days during three weeks at the beginning of the summer term in March 2021. Eighteen pedagogy students (15 females, Mage = 21.2) from Universities of Greifswald (Germany) and Szczecin (Poland) filled in a questionnaire about perceived COVID-19 stress, general stress, and well-being before and after the intervention. Randomly chosen pedagogy students from both universities assigned to the control group (n=17, 16 females, Mage = 21.7), filled in the same questionnaires during the same period of time.
Statistical analyses indicate that students’ COVID-19 stress reduced among the art workshop group, whereas their perceived general stress increased, and their well-being did not change. For students from the control group no significant changes were found. In addition, general stress and COVID-19 stress did not correlate, which might be an indication that these two types of stress are not related to one another. The results underline the positive impact that engagement with art may have on COVID-19 stress reduction.