Coping with challenges of the first months of COVID-19 pandemic among medical university community: a mixed-method study from Poland
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Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland (Department of Psychosocial Rehabilitation)
Online publication date: 2023-08-28
Corresponding author
Jarosław Rakoczy   

Medical University of Lodz, Department of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Lindleya 6, 90-131 Łódź, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(3):365-78
Objectives: Universities played a significant role in meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, with both students and staff having to identify and use available coping resources. The main aim of the study was to describe the academic community’s experiences of the pandemic and their impact on health and wellbeing. Related variables were also explored, such as sense of coherence (SOC), gratitude, and subjective health assessment (SHA). Material and Methods: During the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic, an online questionnaire was sent to the community of the Medical University of Lodz. It included 4 open-ended questions on ways to remain healthy during the pandemic. The responses (N = 144) were analyzed using a general inductive approach. For the purpose of this study, the resource utilization rate (RUR) was defined and calculated based on the number of categories with responses indicating resource usage. Additionally, a Polish adaptation of the 29-item Sense of Coherence scale (SOC-29), the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6), and subjective health assessment were measured. Correlations between variables were calculated. Results: The main areas of resource identification and utilization were interpersonal relationships, views of reality, physical activity, pleasure activities, social contacts, and healthy diet. Physical activity has been found to be the most commonly-reported strategy of taking care of both health and emotional state more frequently among students than employees (p < 0.01). The RUR was strongly associated with SOC in male employees (ρ = 0.7, p < 0.05) and with GQ-6 in both male and female student groups (ρ = 0.56, p < 0.05 and ρ = 0.28, p < 0.05, respectively). Conclusions: Relationships between RUR and SOC seem to be gender- and age-related. The relationships between health and resource utilization are worth exploring in the university setting. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(3):365–78
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