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The magnitude of COVID-19 related stress, anxiety and depression associated with intense mass media coverage in Saudi Arabia

1 Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Hail, Hail, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Hail, Hail, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Histopathology and Cytology, Faculty of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan

Special Issues: Coronavirus disease 2019: Modeling, Control and Prediction

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in catastrophic consequences in many aspects of life; including negative psychological effects. We aimed to assess the mental health status of a group of Saudi population during this pandemic. Also, we aimed to assess the effect of the intensive media coverage of the pandemic news on mental health status. A questionnaire was distributed online to test depression, anxiety, and stress (using the DASS-21 scale) and their relationship to certain variables. A total of 215 respondents were included. Higher mental health prevalence rates were reported in non-Saudi participants compared to Saudi ones (i.e., 50.74% vs. 30.40%; 34.23% vs. 13.51% and 59.70% vs. 27.70%; for depression, anxiety and stress, respectively). About 55.8% of the participants felt the extensive coverage in the media of COVID-19 news, which caused higher mental sufferings. Higher mental health prevalence rates were reported in females compared to males participants (i.e., 56.97% vs. 23.25%; 30.23% vs. 13.17% and 54.65% vs. 26.35%; for depression, anxiety and stress, respectively). Reasonable following of the COVID-19 news; and less exposure to the pandemic information could help in reducing the mental health issues related to the ongoing pandemic. Special care and attention should be paid to females and younger people who seem to be particularly affected during the era of COVID-19.
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© 2020 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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