The Open Public Health Journal

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The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Students of Saudi Arabia

Abdulmajeed A. Alkhamees1, *, Moath S. Aljohani2
1 Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Buraydah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Buraydah, Saudi Arabia



Since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the numbers of cases and deaths worldwide have begun to increase, the closure of schools, universities, shops, workplaces, and the vast degree of precautionary actions, have left students feeling helpless, isolated, bored, and uncertain of what would happen to their academic advancement. Our study aims to assess the degree of the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students in Saudi Arabia.


During the early days of the pandemic, the survey sample was based on non-probability sampling. We conducted an online-based survey using a snowball sample technique. The survey collected data on several aspects of the participants, including the psychological impact of COVID-19, using the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). The current study shows an extensive analysis of the survey with a focus on the impact of the pandemic on students.


A total of 336 students were recruited for the study and responded to the survey. The IES-R showed that 7.1% and 23.8% of the students experienced moderate and severe symptoms, respectively. On the DASS stress subscale, 13.4% and 10.7% of students experienced severe and extremely severe stress symptoms, respectively. With regards to anxiety, 6.0% and 15.8% of students experienced severe and extremely severe symptoms, respectively. As much as 11.6% and 17.6% of the students experienced severe and extremely severe symptoms of depression, respectively. Females were more likely to experience symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), stress, anxiety, and depression. Having a family member working in the field of health/medicine was significantly associated with depression; poor to average health and previous diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder was associated with a higher chance of developing PTSD, stress, anxiety, and depression.


During the early days of the pandemic, nearly one-fourth of students experienced moderate to severe symptoms of PTSD. Our findings could help guide schools and universities in implementing a clear, effective strategy for students to navigate the coming academic year and expand the efforts made on academic and psychological counseling, especially for the vulnerable populations.

Keywords: COVID-19, Stress, Pandemic, Depression, Students, Anxiety, IES, Saudi Arabia.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2021
Volume: 14
First Page: 12
Last Page: 23
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-14-12
DOI: 10.2174/1874944502114010012

Article History:

Received Date: 3/10/2020
Revision Received Date: 28/12/2020
Acceptance Date: 7/1/2021
Electronic publication date: 15/02/2021
Collection year: 2021

© 2021 Alkhamees & Aljohani.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Buraydah, Saudi Arabia; E-mail:

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