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Psychological impact of COVID-19 on university students in Oman: an examination of stress, resilience and meaning in life

Moon Fai Chan (Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman)
Tamadhir Al-Mahrouqi (Oman Medical Speciality Board, Muscat, Oman)
Salim Al-Huseini (Department of Psychiatry, Government of Oman Ministry of Health, Muscat, Oman)
Maryam Al-Mukhaini (College of Pharmacy, National University, Muscat, Oman)
Manar Al Shehi (College of Medicine Health Sciences, National University, Muscat, Oman)
Firdous Jahan (College of Medicine Health Sciences, National University, Muscat, Oman)
Mohammed Al-Alawi (Department of Behavioral Medicine, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 10 November 2023

Issue publication date: 20 November 2023

70

Abstract

Purpose

This cross-sectional online survey in Oman in April 2021 aimed to assess university students' resilience, stress levels and meaning during the COVID-19 pandemic and identify characteristic profiles.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional survey design was used to collect data from full-time students at one University in Oman. Outcomes included sociodemographic information, the brief resilience scale, the perceived stress scale-4 and the meaning in life questionnaire to explore the students' profiles.

Findings

A total of 964 students participated (response rate = 34.8%), of which 35% had low resilience scores. The average perceived stress, presence of meaning in life and search for meaning in life scores were 7.9 ± 2.3, 24.2 ± 6.9 and 24.9 ± 7.7, respectively. Cluster analysis identified three groups: low-risk and fewer impacts (cluster A, n = 503, 523%), moderate-risk and moderate impacts (cluster B, n = 160, 16.6%) and high-risk and more impacts (cluster C, n = 301, 31.2%). Cluster C students experienced more psychological problems and were at high risk during the pandemic.

Research limitations/implications

The respondents' honesty is a possible error that could influence the results. Low response rates limit its generalizability, and cause-effect relationships among mental health outcomes cannot be discerned.

Practical implications

This study identified three distinct groups of students, each with different levels of severity in their health problems. There is an increased need for education and counseling to support students during this period, and university management should focus on implementing personal precautionary measures and providing high-tech, user-friendly platforms for students to enhance their learning.

Originality/value

These findings suggest that tailored strategies should be developed to address the unique psychological needs of each group. The study provides important information for university management to understand the pandemic's psychological impact on students and develop effective interventions to support their well-being.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the participants who contributed to their work.

Funding: No grant was received to support this study.

Citation

Chan, M.F., Al-Mahrouqi, T., Al-Huseini, S., Al-Mukhaini, M., Al Shehi, M., Jahan, F. and Al-Alawi, M. (2023), "Psychological impact of COVID-19 on university students in Oman: an examination of stress, resilience and meaning in life", Health Education, Vol. 123 No. 3/4, pp. 105-119. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-05-2023-0061

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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