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Psychological Distress in Quarantine Designated Facility During COVID-19 Pandemic in Saudi Arabia

Authors Alkhamees AA, Aljohani MS, Alghesen MA, Alhabib AT

Received 2 October 2020

Accepted for publication 3 December 2020

Published 24 December 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 3103—3120


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Abdulmajeed A Alkhamees,1 Moath S Aljohani,2 Mohammed A Alghesen,3 Ali T Alhabib4

1Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Mlida, Al Qassim, Saudi Arabia; 2Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Mlida, Al Qassim, Saudi Arabia; 3Psychiatry Mental Hospital, Ministry of Health, Buraydah, Al Qassim, Saudi Arabia; 4King Fahd Medical City Academy for Postgraduate Studies in Family Medicine, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Abdulmajeed A Alkhamees
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Buraydah, Al Qassim, Saudi Arabia
Email [email protected]

Background: Quarantine is a useful measure for preventing and controlling pandemics; however, it might be stressful for quarantined individuals. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming. These emotions were reported for individuals in involuntary quarantine facilities dedicated to quarantine purposes.
Methods: This cross-sectional study surveyed the individuals in involuntary quarantine institutions (for a planned period of 14 days of quarantine) in two regions of Saudi Arabia. The mental health status of individuals was assessed using the Revised Impact of Event Scale (IES-R) and Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21).
Results: The study surveyed 214 quarantined/isolated individuals. The stress, anxiety, and depression rates were 25.7%, 21.5%, and 32.7%, respectively. On the IES-R, 28.0% of the participants met the criteria for psychological distress. Female gender, self-reported history of psychiatric disorder, and average health status were significantly associated with negative psychological impact and depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms (p< 0.05). Watching television was found to be a factor in reducing rates on the IES-R and DASS-21 scale while working out lowered rates on the IES-R alone (p< 0.05).
Conclusion: During an institutional involuntary quarantine, additional attention should be paid to vulnerable groups like females and individuals with a history of psychiatric illness. More than one-fourth of our sample experienced a negative psychological impact; therefore, coping practices like working out should be encouraged. This study contributes to the ongoing discussion about the psychological aspects of being quarantined. Much work remains to be done to identify strategies that prevent and mitigate psychological distress throughout the quarantine experience and to determine whether these impacts will last for an extended period of time.

Keywords: COVID-19, anxiety, IES, depression, knowledge, quarantine, psychological impact, stress, pandemic, Saudi Arabia

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