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Social Distancing and its Relationship to Psychological Stress among a Sample of Saudis during COVID-19 Pandemic

Abstract

Fertaj F. Alzween*, Mohammad O. Bashatwa and Burhan M. Hamadneh

The aim of the current study is to identify the commitment level to social distancing and its relationship to psychological stress among members of Saudi society during COVID-19 pandemic. To achieve the purposes of the study, a descriptive correlational design was used. The sample of the study consisted of (536) Saudis selected using convenient sampling method from the regions of Taif, Makkah, Najran and Al-Jawf in Saudi Arabia. In data collection, the study used two instruments developed by the researchers: “social distancing scale” and “psychological stress scale.” The study concluded that the commitment level to social distancing by the study sample during COVID-19 pandemic was moderate. It also revealed that there are statistically significant differences in the total commitment to social distancing due to age (in favour of 41-50 aged group), and the scientific qualification (in favour of holders of postgraduate degree), and that there were no statistically significant differences due to gender. The study concluded that the psychological stress level among the study sample was moderate. It also revealed that there are statistically significant differences in the psychological stress level among the study sample due to gender (in favour of females), and the scientific qualification (in favour of a secondary level or less), and that there were no statistically significant differences due to age. Furthermore, the study revealed a statistically significant negative correlation between the commitment level to social distancing and the exposure to psychological pressures. The study recommends the necessity for health and social care institutions to provide support, advice and counselling services that enhance community members’ awareness about the application of social distancing, in addition to activate the strategies and methods of dealing with psychological pressures during crises and epidemics.

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