Psychological Distress of University Students during COVID-19 Pandemic – A Cross-Sectional Survey

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Rasha Abu-Baker, Blessy Prabha Valsaraj, Jansi Natarajan, Aisha Alshdefat


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide emergency that necessitates immediate action to prevent the disease's rapid spread. This study attempted to examine the psychological distress University students. Students’ commitment to preventive measures is impacted by their knowledge, attitudes, and practices toward the disease. Method: A quantitative non-experimental approach was used for the study. A descriptive, comparative design was instituted among the students of Sultan Qaboos University. A valid and reliable online survey was used to gather the data. Results: We found that a significant association between psychological distress and the demographic characteristics of the participants like college, known psychological issues, current social support, and current health status at p<.05. Non-nursing college students (59.7%) were likely to be well compared to the nursing students (Ӽ2 (3) = 70.831, p<.001). Students with known psychological issues reported higher psychological distress (41.3%) than other students (Ӽ2 (9) = 8.811, p=.032). Students who received their social support from their families (48%) reported more severe psychological distress than other students (Ӽ2 (6) = 18.177, p=.006). Students who had perceived excellent health (52.6%) reported likely to be well during this COVID 19 pandemic (Ӽ2 (3) = 25.853, p=.002). Conclusion: University students experienced a moderate amount of psychological distress during the COVID- 19 pandemic. The psychological distress experienced by the university students could be associated with many factors such as their nature of studies, known psychological issues and their current health status, and the social support they had received.

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