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Psychological vulnerability and coping among management students during COVID-19 pandemic

Bijaya Kumar Sundaray (Department of Personnel Management and Industrial Relations, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, India)
Pragyan Sarangi (Department of Business Administration, Srusti Academy of Management, Bhubaneswar, India)
Soumendra Kumar Patra (Department of Business Administration, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, India)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 24 September 2021

Issue publication date: 6 October 2021




In light of growing concerns related to the psychological vulnerability during the pandemic, this study aims to examine the impact of fear or trauma of COVID-19 on stress, anxiety and depression among management students. Additionally, the study also explores the possible strategies adopted by professional students to cope with the pandemic situation.


With an approach to establish a probable concrete relationship between fear with the level of stress, anxiety and depression, the data for the study was collected from 1,408 management students through a structured questionnaire designed in Google Form and administered through WhatsApp. The survey was carried out in the month of July and August 2020 during the lockdown period. Correlation and structural equation modeling have been used to examine the relationship among the test attributes.


The results from the study discovered that “fear of COVID-19” has a significant and considerable impact on the increased level of anxiety and stress among the professional students, but the observations did not demonstrate a significant influence of the “fear” on “depression.” The responses reveal that students have developed anxiety and felt stressed mostly due to uncertainty in the upcoming academic plans, disturbances in their regular academic routines and concerns about their future careers. Further, the findings have portrayed that students have adopted both protective and avoidance coping strategies to overcome the adverse consequences of the pandemic.

Research limitations/implications

The study gives an insight on the psychological vulnerability of the management students and their capability to overcome such sudden disruptions due to pandemics. This research could thus, serve as a reference to the policymakers, universities and institutions while planning out programs and schemes, which would encourage the aspiring managers to overcome the crisis and prepare themselves to befit the vibrant corporate world.


Several studies exist on the impact of the pandemic on undergraduate students in different universities. However, there are a dearth of literature, which reflects the psychological vulnerability of professional graduates especially management students who are on the verge of starting their professional career.



Sundaray, B.K., Sarangi, P. and Patra, S.K. (2021), "Psychological vulnerability and coping among management students during COVID-19 pandemic", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 454-467.



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