Worldwide, previous studies have expressed concerns regarding the broad psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic among college students as they are considered an especially vulnerable group. However, few studies have examined the prevalence of, risk of, and protective factors associated with fear of COVID-19 among college students in Europe. We have sought to address gaps in the literature by conducting a cross-sectional survey among 517 college students (79.1% women and 20.9% men) from a public university in the southeast of Spain. Participants were asked to complete the Fear of COVID-19 scale (FCV-19S) questionnaire and answer questions related to resilience, social support, anxiety, and suicide risk levels using validated scales. The results of the analysis of the variables associated with fear of COVID-19 suggest that, in addition to gender, the factor of anxiety shows a robust positive association and effect with COVID-19 fear (p < 0.001). According to our results, university institutions must adopt support mechanisms to alleviate psychological impacts on students during this pandemic, treating it similarly to other disasters. Implications for social work to reduce COVID-19 fear are also discussed.
Keywords: COVID-19; Spain; anxiety; college students; fear; resilience; social support; suicide risk.