Background: With the spread of COVID-19, the restriction strategies happened in the educational organizations to the direction of virtual education, causing several challenges in the psychological and social components for students. The main purpose of the study was to examine the effect of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) on resilience and psychological hardiness in the students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: The current study was a quasi-experimental design with pre-test/post-test scheme along with a follow-up with intervention and control groups. It was performed on 200 students of Dezful University of Medical Sciences (n=100, per each group) selected through stratified random sampling method in 2020. The intervention group was exposed to a four-month intervention based on CBT (nine interventional session). Data were collected using Connor-Davidson Resilience and Kobasa hardiness questionnaire. Data were analyzed through SPSS software version 27 using descriptive statistics same as mean and standard deviation, repeated measures ANOVA, and Bonferroni’s post-tests.
Results: The mean age of the students was 21.93±2.52 years reported as 22.21±2.89 in the intervention group and 21.61±2.62 in the control group (P=0.3115). Before the intervention, there were no differences between the intervention and control groups in the score mean of resilience (P=0.2770) and psychological hardness (P=0.1038). In the post-training period of cognitivebehavioral therapy, there was a statistically significant difference between the mean scores of resilience (P=0.0018), hardiness (P=0.0194), and their dimensions in the two groups. These differences were also observed in the follow-up after four months of intervention.
Conclusions: The results revealed that the application of cognitive-behavioral intervention in student counseling and psychological counseling centers increases the rate of resilience and happiness of students and could be employed to improve mental health and academic status of students.