The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging period of upheaval for higher education students. This study aims to assess the factors associated with psychological stress during the COVID-19 pandemic among a sample of students in health-related fields at Munich universities in Germany. Students (n = 623) from KSH Munich and LMU Munich completed an online cross-sectional survey. Information on demographics and academic and everyday difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as data on physical and mental health were collected. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with the outcome. The prevalence for higher psychological stress was 44% among the study population. Factors associated with higher psychological stress were: lower overall life satisfaction (p < 0.0001), worsened health situation (p < 0.0001), lack of social support (p = 0.0301) and social interaction (p = 0.0115), worries about financial difficulties due to loss of income (p = 0.0134), stressful thoughts about a second wave (p < 0.0001), feeling unable to positively influence the situation (p = 0.0262) and study-related effects, such as perceived study burden (p = 0.0003) and likely delay in studies (p = 0.0178)). The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant negative impact on the mental health of students in health-related fields. Proactive efforts to support the mental health and well-being of students are needed.
Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; mental health; psychological stress; students.