The Psychological and Academic Impact of COVID-19 among Students of College of Medicine in Saudi Arabia 2020-2021
Background: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an emerging infection causing a widely spread pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The continuous spread of COVID-19, strict isolation measure, delays in starting colleges, attending offline classes, facing challenges to conduct high school grades for medical students across the country is expected to influence the psychological health and academic yielding of the students of colleges of medicine in Saudi Arabia.
Objectives: This study aims to assess the psychological and academic impact of COVID-19 among the students of colleges of medicine in Saudi Arabia.
Methodology: This cross-sectional study conducted from October 2020-March 2021 in which a survey conducted among medical students from 10 colleges of medicine in Saudi Arabia. An online questionnaire was conducted using social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Twitter, as well as email. The survey requested demographic and socioeconomic information, in addition to 4-point Likert Scale to assess the psychological and academic impact.
Results: There were 661 responses in total. Most of the participants were female 51% (n=332), from Majmaah University 20.6% (n=134), and from the sixth year 26.3% (n=171). Majority of the participants were between the ages of 18 and 23 years 59.6% (n=388). The prevalence of COVID-19 among the participants was only 11.06% (n=72). During the height of the pandemic, 39.6% of the participants (n=258) stated that their GPA had risen. The extent of psychological distress was calculated using a 4-point Likert Scale, and the majority of the students (n=328) had moderate psychological distress. Similarly, most of the students had moderate academic impact 34.87% (n=227) due to COVID-19. There were a significant association between the degree of psychological distress and gender with male students reporting more mild 7.2% and moderate distress 23% while female students reported more moderately severe 20.1% and the severe distress 4.3%. In addition, there were an association between the level of stress and the academic performance.
Conclusion: The result suggest that the COVID-19 has a moderate psychological distress and also moderate academic impact among students of colleges of medicine in Saudi Arabia.