ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202302.0302.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Dietetics And Nutrition Keywords: Learning behaviours; Eating disorders; SCOFF questionnaire; Medical Students; COVID-19 Pandemic; Barbados
Online: 17 February 2023 (07:30:16 CET)
Background: The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed medical education and is likely to have long-lasting effects on student learning, mental well-being, and eating behaviour. This study aimed to examine the learning behaviors of medical students at the American University of Integrative Sciences (AUIS), Barbados, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A cross-sectional web-based online survey was administered to medical students at AUIS from July until November 2021. The data collecting instrument recorded students’ demographic and learning behaviour information (Meo et al. 2020), and eating disorders (SCOFF questionnaire). Results: The overall response rate was 55% (n=120). In relation to learning behaviour, students agreed with the following statements: ‘deterioration in work performance and studying’ (48.4%), ‘remember subject’s contents appropriately’ (40.4%), ‘concentration on the studies’ (40.3%), ‘difficulty in performing two tasks simultaneously’ (38.7%), ‘difficulty in performing mental calculations’ (33.9%), ‘difficulty in recalling recent information’ (32.3%), and ‘difficulty in recalling old information’ (38.7%). Among the 8 dimensions of learning behaviors, deterioration in work performance or studying, and difficulties in recalling recent information were found to be significantly associated with the gender of the students. For SCOFF questionnaire, approximately 24.2% screened positive for eating disorders. Screening with the SCOFF test demonstrated that female, older (>25 years), overweight + obese, Clinical Sciences + PreMed, and non-USA-based students were at more risk of eating disorders. Conclusions: The results indicate that during the COVID-19 pandemic AUIS students have developed learning difficulties, and are likely to have eating disorders. University policymakers should take appropriate measures to support a healthy learning environment and improve students' mental well-being and eating behaviours.