Psychological problems among the university students in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic

Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Sep 13:e14853. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.14853. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is a public health emergency that represents a challenge to psychological health. This study aimed to assess the psychological conditions among university students in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS: During the period between the 4th and 18th of June 2020, the students of Umm AlQura University in Saudi Arabia were invited to complete an online survey. The survey assessed their sociodemographic characteristics, educational disciplines, and manifestations of psychological health problems including depression, anxiety, and stress as determined by the Arabic version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21).

RESULTS: The study included 936 university students (56.4% women and 43.6% men). Of them, 41.1% had depressive symptoms (31.7% mild to moderate and 9.4% severe to very severe), 26.9% had anxiety symptoms (15.8% mild to moderate and 11.1% severe to very severe), and 22.4% had stress symptoms (15.2% mild to moderate and 7.2% severe to very severe). Students who reported having a friend or relative infected with or died of COVID-19, watching or reading news about the pandemic ≥2 hours/day, and not getting emotional support from family, university, and society were more likely to show psychological problems.

CONCLUSION: Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress were common among Saudi university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological counseling and support should be provided to university students in Saudi Arabia.

PMID:34516702 | DOI:10.1111/ijcp.14853

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