University students are commonly identified as susceptible, suffering from higher anxiety, stress, and depression than the overall population. During the Corona Virus Disease pandemic (COVID), education was shifted to the virtual learning environment. Students' ambiguity regarding academic accomplishment, imminent careers, changes in social life, and other concerns all these factors played a role in amplifying their stress levels, anxiety, and depression worldwide. This study investigates university students' self-esteem and depressions after they have been online learning for over 1 year due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia.
For this research, an adapted questionnaire of Rosenberg (Self-Esteem Scale) and Zung (Self-Rating Depression Scale) was used to get the responses of the participants of public and private universities in Saudi Arabia during March-April 2021. We received a total of 151 valid responses from respondents. For data analysis, we used descriptive statistics, ANOVA, multiple regression and binary logistic regression.
The results showed that 75% of the students experienced different levels of depressions, with half (37.5%) having moderate to extreme levels of depression. A total of 41% of students experienced low self-esteem (38% females and 45% males). The regression results indicated depressive symptoms for low self-esteem. Furthermore, results of logistic regression showed that high self-esteem reduces the chances of getting depressive symptoms by 17%. The depressive symptoms were higher in female students than their male counterparts; furthermore, males experienced depressive symptoms less than females by 38%.
Based on the current research results, it is concluded that the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the depressive symptoms in students, especially in female students. The findings suggested instant consideration and support for students. It is also suggested to the quest for potential managing policies that have been known and effective during the pandemic. Moreover, training should be provided for students to shift their educational experience mindset to an adaptive mindset, which can help them adapt to the new ways of learning and education.