College students’ well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic : an exploratory study

23 Jul 2021

This study explored college student’s well-being priorities and capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 2 213 South African undergraduate students answered an open-ended question to elicit interpretive, reflective, analytic, and evaluative written response types on the factors that support their well-being at university. Two thirds of the participants were female, almost half (48.94%) were black African, and most (67.46%) were between 18 and 21 years of age. Interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) of the data revealed COVID-19 mitigation that prioritised support from family, friends, and lecturers by spending time together and connecting online. The students also relied on a variety of spiritual coping strategies to manage feelings of despair and despondency, and to cope with high workloads, social distancing, and online learning. The study revealed high resourcefulness of undergraduate students in supporting their own well-being.