Following news about Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine may cause stressful emotions and experiences. The University of Eastern Finland is involved in an international study exploring how watching the Russo-Ukrainian war is associated with university students’ experiences of stress, interference with study or work, and psychological well-being. The study found that the more a student follows news about the war, the more depressive symptoms and interfering thoughts they have.
“The study was conducted in Finland, Canada and Germany, with each country showing similar results: watching the war is associated with interfering thoughts that are linked to experiences of depressive symptoms,” says Professor of Health Psychology Taina Hintsa.
This information is useful for, e.g., providers of student health care and other experts working with university students.
“International collaboration on this topic continues. In Finland, we have also collected data on students’ sleep and sleep difficulties, with new findings to be published later on,” says University Lecturer of Psychology Petri Karkkola.
The international study was launched immediately after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in spring 2022, and it is led by Professor Esther Greenglass at the University of Toronto in Canada. Finland was also invited to participate in the study. The article on the association of watching the Russo-Ukrainian war with mental well-being was published in Journal of Health Psychology in June.
Begic, P., Greenglass, E., Hintsa, T., Karkkola, P. & Buchwald, P. (2023). Mediation of cognitive interference on depression during the Russo-Ukrainian war in three national samples. Journal of Health Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1177/13591053231184065