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Students’ emotional well-being and religiosity during the COVID-19 pandemic- an international study in 7 countries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 July 2023

K. H. Karakula*
Affiliation:
I Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Early Intervention Department of Forensic Medicine
A. Forma
Affiliation:
I Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Early Intervention Department of Forensic Medicine
R. Sitarz
Affiliation:
I Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Early Intervention
J. Baj
Affiliation:
Chair and Department of Anatomy
D. Juchnowicz
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatric Nursing
J. Bogucki
Affiliation:
Chair and Department of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Lublin
W. Tuszyńska-Bogucka
Affiliation:
Department of Human Sciences, Institute of Psychology and Human Sciences, University of Economics and Innovation, Lublin, Poland
M. L. Tee
Affiliation:
College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila, Philippines
C. A. Tee
Affiliation:
College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila, Philippines
J. T. Ly-Uson
Affiliation:
College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila, Philippines
M. S. Islam
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health and Informatics, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
M. T. Sikder
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health and Informatics, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
A. H. El-Monshed
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt Nursing Department, College of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Bahrain, Manama, Bahrain
A. Loutfy
Affiliation:
Department of Pediatric Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt
M. F. Hussain Qureshi
Affiliation:
Ziauddin Medical University, Zaiuddin
M. Abbas
Affiliation:
Karachi Medical and Dental College, Karachi, Pakistan
S. Taseen
Affiliation:
Karachi Medical and Dental College, Karachi, Pakistan
M. Lakhani
Affiliation:
Ziauddin Medical University, Zaiuddin
S. Jayakumar
Affiliation:
Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Al Majmaah University, Majmaah, Saudi Arabia
S. Ilango
Affiliation:
Madha Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, India
S. Kumar
Affiliation:
Madha Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, India
Á. A. Ruiz-Chow
Affiliation:
Centro Médico ABC, Mexico City, Mexico
A. Iturbide
Affiliation:
Centro Médico ABC, Mexico City, Mexico
D. D. González-Mille
Affiliation:
Centro Médico ABC, Mexico City, Mexico
H. Karakula-Juchnowicz
Affiliation:
I Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Early Intervention
*
*Corresponding author.

Abstract

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Introduction

There are no conclusive findings about the possible protective role of religion on students’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, more research is needed.

Objectives

The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the level of emotional distress and religiosity among students from 7 different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods

Data were collected by an online cross-sectional survey that was distributed amongst Polish (N = 1196), Bengali (N = 1537), Indian (N = 483), Mexican (N = 231), Egyptian (N = 565), Philippine (N = 2062), and Pakistani (N = 506) students (N = 6642) from 12th April to 1st June 2021. The respondents were asked several questions regarding their religiosity which was measured by The Duke University Religion Index (DUREL), the emotional distress was measured by the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21).

Results

Egypt with Islam as the dominant religion showed the greatest temple attendance (organizational religious activity: M=5.27±1.36) and spirituality (intrinsic religiosity: M=5.27±1.36), p<0.0001. On another hand, Egyptian students had the lowest emotional distress measured in all categories DASS-21 (depression: M=4.87±10.17, anxiety: M=4.78±10.13, stress: M=20.76±11.46). Two countries with the dominant Christian religion achieved the highest score for private religious activities (non-organizational religious activity; Mexico: M=3.94±0.94, Poland: M=3.63±1.20; p<0.0001) and experienced a moderate level of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress. Students from Mexico presented the lowest attendance to church (M=2.46±1,39) and spirituality (M=6.68± 3.41) and had the second highest level of depressive symptoms (M=19.13±13.03) and stress (M=20.27±1.98). Philippines students had the highest DASS-21 score (depression: M=22.77±12.58, anxiety: M=16.07±10.77, stress: M=4.87±10.08) and their level of religiosity reached average values in the whole group. The performed regression analysis confirmed the importance of the 3 dimensions (organizational religious activity, non-organizational religious activity, intrinsic religiosity) of religiosity for the well-being of students, except for the relationship between anxiety and private religious activities. The result was as presented for depression: R2=0.0398, F(3.664)=91.764, p<0.0001, SE of E: 12.88; anxiety: R2=0.0124, F(3.664)=27.683, p<0.0001, SE of E: 10,62; stress: R2= 0.0350, F(3.664)=80.363, p<0.0001, SE of E: 12.30.

Conclusions

The higher commitment to organizational religious activity, non-organizational religious activity, and intrinsic religiositywas correlated with the lower level of depressive symptoms, stress, and anxiety among students during the COVID-19 pandemic, but taking into account factors related to religiosity explains the level of emotional well-being to a small extent.

Disclosure of Interest

None Declared

Type
Abstract
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Psychiatric Association
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