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Children (Basel) ; 9(1)2021 Dec 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236622


Educational institutions in Saudi Arabia extended e-learning until the third semester of the academic calendar to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection and to achieve 70% inoculation for the Saudi population. This study assesses the impact of extended e-learning and other associated stressors on the emotional health of university students in Saudi Arabia. An online cross-sectional survey collected data between the months of January-March 2021. The emotional signs of stress were measured by using a subset of items from the COVID-19 Adolescent Symptom and Psychological Experience Questionnaire (CASPE). Data about demographic variables, educational characteristics and academic performance were also collected. A regression analysis was performed to determine predictors of emotional health. A total of 434 university students including females (63%) and males (37%) provided responses. One-third of students (33%) indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting changes including online distance studies greatly influenced their daily lives in a negative way. The regression analysis demonstrated that female students and students with average academic performance had increased vulnerability to experience emotional signs of stress (p < 0.05). The factors 'Not going to university' and 'Not having a routine life' were significant predictors of stress responses (p < 0.01) and (p < 0.001) respectively. E-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic made it possible for students to complete their studies as per academic calendar; simultaneously, it increased the vulnerability to experience stress, particularly for female students and students with average academic performance. These findings imply that academic advising and counseling services should be more readily available during digital studies to support at risk students.

Frontiers in psychology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1989272


During the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, stress and anxiety were pervasive among the masses due to high morbidity and mortality. Besides the fear of coronavirus was also particularly driven by social media. Many people started to look for faith and spiritual connections to gain comfort. The role of spiritual ties and religious beliefs in relation to coping with pandemic stress has acquired the attention of researchers in some parts of the world. This cross-sectional survey aimed at assessing the intensity of stress and anxiety symptoms experienced by people and how much they were alleviated by employing spiritual connections. The study sample comprises 795 respondents with 52% males and 48% females living in Saudi Arabia. The brief online study questionnaire collected data about background variables, anxiety and stress scale from DASS-21, and items from the WHOQOL (SRBP) instrument assessed the use of spiritual beliefs to cope. Multiple regression models were tested to determine the role of spiritual connections after adjusting demographic variables. Results illustrated that after adjusting for gender and age, participants’ anxiety symptoms decreased by (β = −0.27;p = 0.000) units with each unit increase in the use of spiritual connections, and participants’ stress symptoms reduce by (β = −0.36;p = 0.000) units with each unit increase in coping with spirituality. Additionally, females’ risk to experience anxiety and stress symptoms was more than males [(β = 0.88;p = 0.01) and (β = 0.92;p = 0.000)], respectively. An increase in age decreases the likelihood of experiencing anxiety symptoms and stress symptoms by (β = −0.75;p = 0.02) and (β = −0.11;p = 0.000) units, respectively. Findings support the protective role of spiritual connections despite small beta coefficients. The social and cultural context in Saudi Arabia favors deep-rooted connections with spirituality and faith. Our findings support the fact that the reliance on spiritual connections helped older people to deal with exaggerated fear during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and reduces the risk of experiencing anxiety and stress symptoms. Females and younger participants were relatively vulnerable to developing these symptoms. We discussed these findings considering some recent studies that reported similar relationships and made recommendations for future research.