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The Impact of Knowledge, Anxiety and Fear on Psychological Distress during COVID-19 among Residents of the United Arab Emirates

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Objectives: COVID-19 has become a global concern, affecting both physical and mental health. In this study, we measured knowledge, fear, anxiety, and psychological distress related to COVID-19 among residents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Methods: A total of 1053 adult participants completed a Web-based cross-sectional survey.

Results: Our data revealed 75.7% of the sample to be knowledgeable about COVID-19, 15.3% had experienced anxiety and 50.4%, psychological distress about COVID-19. Being knowledgeable about COVID-19 was significantly associated with having spent one to 2 hours reading about COVID-19. There was also an association between being knowledgeable about COVID-19 and low levels of anxiety and psychological distress. Psychological distress was associated with a history of mental illness (76.2%), anxiety (85.1%), and fear of COVID-19 (21±6.6). Age, history of mental illness (OR = 3.70, 95% CI = 2.35-5.82, p < .001), and COVID-19 anxiety (OR = 2.48, 95% CI = 1.48-4.13, p < .001) and fear (OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.14-1.20, p < .001) were risk factors for psychological distress.

Conclusion: Our results showed significant psychological distress in the UAE population. Providing pre-recorded workshops and continuous telemedicine on biopsychosocial perspectives of COVID-19 may enhance the COVID-19 insight and reduce the COVID-19 anxiety and psychological distress.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Coumaravelou Saravanan, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; [email protected] com 2: Ibrahim Mahmoud, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Publication date: July 1, 2021

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

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