Anxiety Level, Sleep Quality and Physical Activity among Malaysian University Students in the KlangValley during COVID-19 Pandemic

Chong Peik Chee, Hip Seng Yim, Hui Suan Ng and Shashikala Sivapathy

Faculty of Applied Sciences, UCSI University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

He & Ni Academy, The Boulevard Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Centre for Research and Graduate Studies, University of Cyberjaya, Cyberjaya, Malaysia.

*Corresponding author email: (HSY) / (SS)


Introduction: The movement control order (MCO) imposed by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused several changes for all individuals including the university students. Some of the changes include lifestyle, physical activity and sleep quality that influence mental health especially the anxiety level of university students.

Objective(s): This study aims to assess the association between anxiety level, sleep quality and physical activity among Malaysian university students in the Klang Valley during COVID-19 pandemic.

Methodologies: Data from 367 Malaysian university students were collected using a convenient sampling methods in this web-based cross-sectional survey. Anxiety level, sleep quality and physical activity were assessed using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 questionnaire (GAD-7), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Short Form (IPAQ-sf), respectively.

Results: About one-third of the university students have mild anxiety (28.9%) and another 28% reported having moderate anxiety. Slightly more than half (52%) of the students reported poor sleep quality, majority of them (73%) were physically active, and a significant association was found between anxiety and sleep quality (χ2=50.13, p<0.05) of the university students.

Conclusion: The results showed that university students were experiencing some sort of anxiety and have poor sleep quality, nevertheless they were active physically during the movement restriction period due to COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the findings, it is important to introduce activities and programmes that promote mental health and sleep quality among university students so that their overall health status could be improved.

Keywords: COVID-19; MCO; anxiety; sleep quality; physical activity