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Exposure to COVID-19 among university students from six European Countries
* 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10
1  University of Technology
2  Institute of Psychology, University of Opole, Poland
3  Department of Theory and Methods of Physical Culture, Lviv State University of Physical Culture, Ukraine
4  Department of Regional and Business Economics (FRDIS), Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic
5  Department of Personality and Assessment, University of Bamberg, Germany
6  University of Bamberg, Germany
7  Department of Management, St. Petersburg School of Economics and Management, Russia
8  Faculty of Management, University of Primorska, Slovenia
9  Faculty of Management, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland
10  Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Opole University of Technology, Poland
Academic Editor: Gregory Hand (registering DOI)

Background: Global pandemic COVID-19 has strongly affected all areas of life, particularly physical and mental health, as well as professional and economic status. This research aims to examine exposure to COVID-19 in areas of health, professional and economic status among university students in six European countries.

Methods: Cross-sectional study was conducted in a total sample of 1685 university students in European countries: Russia (n = 285, 17%), Germany (n = 270, 16%), Ukraine (n = 310, 18%), Poland (n = 301, 18%), Slovenia (n = 209, 13%), and Czech Republic (n = 310, 18%), including a total of 1160 (69%) female students.

Results: Overall, 10% of European university students experienced COVID-19 symptoms and observed infection among family, while 4% were tested, 6% were in strict quarantine, but a few individuals (0.2%) have been hospitalized. Nearly 1.5% of European university students experienced death among friends and family due to COVID-19. Over 22% of participants reported losing a job, and 44% declared deterioration of economic status due to a pandemic. German and Russian university students experienced significantly more COVID-19 symptoms, reported a higher prevalence of strict 14-days quarantine and infected friends and relatives. Russian participants were tested for COVID-19 the most frequently. They experienced the highest number of death cases within the family due to a pandemic. In contrast, in Poland and the Czech Republic, there were no death cases in students’ families. The highest percentage of university students or their families losing a job was observed in Poland and Ukraine, whereas the lowest in the Czech Republic.

Conclusions: There are significant differences in exposure to COVID-19 between university students from distinct European countries. The knowledge about exposure to coronavirus may help to explain mental health issues among university students and to develop prevention programs at universities.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; exposure to COVID-19; European students; health; economic status