Research article Special Issues

Relationship between knowledge on COVID-19 and psychological distress among students living in quarantine: an email survey

  • Received: 30 December 2020 Accepted: 07 January 2021 Published: 12 January 2021
  • Psychological distress is a generic term which refers to “feeling of emotional strain” that affects our normal mental and physical functioning. The aim of this study is to investigate the psychological distress perceived by the Pakistani students living in quarantine and to determine risk and protective factors, including knowledge of COVD-19, among this population. It is a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted from February to May 2020. Students enrolled at different colleges and universities of Pakistan participated in this survey. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) is computed for comparing knowledge scores of participants having different levels of psychological distress. A total of 937 participants completed the survey questionnaire, with slightly more male respondents (60.6%) than female (39.4%). The average age of survey participants is 22.0 years (SD = 3.01), with majority (76.2%) belonging to urban areas. The mean COVID-19 knowledge score is 8.91 (SD = 1.69, range: 1–12), suggesting an overall 74.25% precision rate for this knowledge test for individual participant. The participants scored least knowledge regarding the disease transmission, showing a percentage correctness of only 40%. Majority of the participants (57.3%) are likely to be well, while others (42.7%) have shown symptoms of mental distress. The analysis reveals that participants with moderate mental distress (M = 8.81, SD = 2.37) and those with severe mental distress (M = 8.75, SD = 2.69) scored lower than participants who were likely to be well (M = 9.49, SD = 1.71). Our study concludes that a higher knowledge base regarding the disease will help to mitigate distress levels. Our study suggests that in order to deal with this pandemic effectively, the knowledge regarding COVID-19 should be properly conveyed to general public. It is need of the hour to address mental issues of the population aggressively along with providing awareness about COVID-19.

    Citation: Areeb Khalid, Muhammad Waqar Younas, Hashim Khan, Muhammad Sarfraz Khan, Abdur Rehman Malik, Adam Umair Ashraf Butt, Basit Ali. Relationship between knowledge on COVID-19 and psychological distress among students living in quarantine: an email survey[J]. AIMS Public Health, 2021, 8(1): 90-99. doi: 10.3934/publichealth.2021007

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  • Psychological distress is a generic term which refers to “feeling of emotional strain” that affects our normal mental and physical functioning. The aim of this study is to investigate the psychological distress perceived by the Pakistani students living in quarantine and to determine risk and protective factors, including knowledge of COVD-19, among this population. It is a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted from February to May 2020. Students enrolled at different colleges and universities of Pakistan participated in this survey. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) is computed for comparing knowledge scores of participants having different levels of psychological distress. A total of 937 participants completed the survey questionnaire, with slightly more male respondents (60.6%) than female (39.4%). The average age of survey participants is 22.0 years (SD = 3.01), with majority (76.2%) belonging to urban areas. The mean COVID-19 knowledge score is 8.91 (SD = 1.69, range: 1–12), suggesting an overall 74.25% precision rate for this knowledge test for individual participant. The participants scored least knowledge regarding the disease transmission, showing a percentage correctness of only 40%. Majority of the participants (57.3%) are likely to be well, while others (42.7%) have shown symptoms of mental distress. The analysis reveals that participants with moderate mental distress (M = 8.81, SD = 2.37) and those with severe mental distress (M = 8.75, SD = 2.69) scored lower than participants who were likely to be well (M = 9.49, SD = 1.71). Our study concludes that a higher knowledge base regarding the disease will help to mitigate distress levels. Our study suggests that in order to deal with this pandemic effectively, the knowledge regarding COVID-19 should be properly conveyed to general public. It is need of the hour to address mental issues of the population aggressively along with providing awareness about COVID-19.



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    Acknowledgments



    We would like to acknowledge SYNCH Pakistan and thank all participants who provided the valuable information for this study. We are grateful to Dr. Kamran-ul-Hassan for detailed linguistic review and technical evaluation of this article. Conceived and designed the study: AK and MSK. Wrote the paper: AUAB, MWY, HK, MSK and ARM. Data analysis and interpretation: MSK. Critical Review of the manuscript: BA and MSK. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

    Ethical statement



    Consent was taken from Solidarity among Young Nation for Change (SYNCH) before sending emails to their registered members. The Kessler-10 (K10) is in the public domain. Each participant signed an informed consent form before undertaking the questionnaire.

    Conflict of interests



    The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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