Toward an Understanding of the Russian-Ukrainian War Impact on University Students and Personnel

Anton Kurapov, Valentyna Pavlenko, Alexander Drozdov, Valentyna Bezliudna, Alexander Reznik, Richard Isralowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Background: On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine provoking the most serious military conflict in Central Europe since 1945. By mid-May 2022, thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed or injured and millions relocated in the country or dispersed to other, mostly European, countries. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the impact of the war on the mental and emotional well-being of Ukrainian civilians—university students and personnel. Methods: A snowball, non-probability sampling technique, was used for online survey data collection among students and personnel of 4 universities from May 5 to May 17, 2022. Four reliable instruments were used to collect information on the fear of war, resilience, burnout, and loneliness. Additional information was collected on substance use and eating behavior. Results: Most respondents (97.8%) reported deterioration of their psycho-emotional status including depression (84.3%), exhaustion (86.7%), loneliness (51.8%), nervousness (84.4%), and anger (76.9%)—students more than personnel, females more than males. The use of substances (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, pain relievers, and sedatives) has increased as well as loneliness associated with fear, burnout and lower resilience. However, despite these conditions, 12.7% of the respondents have reported the war has not affected them. Conclusion: Study findings are preliminary and limited in terms of time and location of data collection. However, results confirm the negative effects of war associated with mental health, fear, substance use, stress, loneliness, burnout, and other related conditions. Further research is needed to confirm the findings including the long-term impact of the war on the health and well-being of Ukrainian citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Loss and Trauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Russian-Ukrainian War
  • eating behavior
  • loneliness
  • mental and emotional well-being
  • stress
  • university students and personnel mental health
  • war and substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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