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Psychological problems among university students in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic
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  • Zeinab Mohammed,
  • Ahmed Arafa,
  • El-Sayed Atlam,
  • Nader El-Qerafi,
  • Momen El-Shazly,
  • Omar Al-Hazazi,
  • Ashraf Ewis
Zeinab Mohammed
Beni-Suef University
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Ahmed Arafa
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El-Sayed Atlam
Taibah University
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Nader El-Qerafi
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Momen El-Shazly
Taibah University College of Medicine
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Omar Al-Hazazi
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Ashraf Ewis
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Abstract: Background: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is a public health emergency and constitutes a challenge to psychological health. This study aimed to assess the psychological conditions among university students in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Material and Methods: During the period between the 4th and 18th of June 2020, the students at Umm AlQura University in Saudi Arabia were invited to complete an online survey. The survey assessed their sociodemographic characteristics, educational disciplines, and manifestations of depression, anxiety, and stress as determined by the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21). Results: The study included 936 students. 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 from COVID-19, watching or reading news about the pandemic ≥2 hours/day, and not having 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. Psychological counseling and support should be provided to university students in Saudi Arabia. Keywords: Depression; Anxiety; Stress; COVID-19; University students; Saudi Arabia

Peer review status:IN REVISION

13 Jan 2021Submitted to International Journal of Clinical Practice
28 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
28 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
05 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Jun 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor