Since the end of 2019, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak rapidly became a pandemic. The psychological state of people during the COVID-19 pandemic has gained interest. Our aim was to study the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and stress in college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A systematic search of Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library was conducted up to September 20, 2020. Reviewers independently assessed full-text articles according to predefined criteria. Stata14/SE was used to calculate the prevalence and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of anxiety, depression, and stress among college students from different countries. A random effects model was adopted. The Egger test was used to determine publication bias. Results: A total of 280 references were retrieved, and 28 papers met our inclusion criteria, for a total of 436,799 college students. Thirteen studies involved non-Chinese college students, and 15 studies involved Chinese college students. The prevalence of anxiety, depression, and stress was 29% (95% CI, 19-25%), 37% (95% CI, 32-42%), and 23% (95% CI, 8-39%), respectively. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative psychological effect on college students, and the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and stress among Chinese college students is lower than among non-Chinese college students.
Keywords: COVID-19; anxiety; college student; depression; meta-analysis; stress.