The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Residents of Saudi Arabia

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Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2022 May 13;15:1221-1234. doi: 10.2147/PRBM.S360772. eCollection 2022.


PURPOSE: This study aimed to determine the stress levels and identify various factors responsible for causing high-stress scores during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Saudi population.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, from June 2020 until December 2020 on 4052 respondents from the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. An online survey was used to collect information about various stress factors. The psychological impact of COVID-19 was measured by using the COVID-19 impact event scale (COVID-19 IES), whereas general stress levels were assessed by K10 Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10).

RESULTS: The psychological impact of the COVID-19 outbreak revealed that 35.4% of participants suffered from moderate or severe psychological impact (score>33); 19.7% had a mild psychological impact (scores24-32), whereas 44.9% reported minimal psychological impact (score <23). The factors significantly associated with higher stress scores and COVID-19 IES included male gender, low monthly income, having a private business, living in apartments/residential complexes, poor general health status, visit hospital/doctor in the past three months, presence of chronic disease, direct/indirect contact with someone diagnosed with/suspected to have COVID-19, contact with surfaces/tools infected with COVID-19, getting screened or quarantined for COVID-19, follow-up of the latest news about COVID-19 and knowledge of a greater number of people infected and died with COVID-19 (p < 0.05). In contrast, being an elementary school student, having 4-10 children, observing various protective measures, and staying home for 4-12 hours were associated with lower COVID-19 IES (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: During the initial six months of the COVID-19 outbreak in Saudi Arabia, 35.4% participants suffered from moderate to the severe psychological impact. This study identified various factors responsible for high COVID-19 IES and K10 stress scores. These findings can help formulate psychological interventions for improving the stress scales in vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMID:35592764 | PMC:PMC9113481 | DOI:10.2147/PRBM.S360772