COVID-19 and Mental Health of Minority Arab Higher-Education Students in Israel: Social, Economic, and Academic Factors

Samira Alfayumi-Zeadna, Lena Gnaim-Abu Touma, Maya Weinreich, Norm O’Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The mental health and well-being of higher-education students is a topic of growing interest. COVID-19 impacted higher education in many ways and the challenges were especially pronounced for minority students. This study examines the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of Arab minority students in Israel in relation to social, academic, and financial factors. We recruited 420 Arab higher-education students enrolled in academic colleges or universities in Israel who completed a battery of online questionnaires. Mental health status was measured by the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale 21 (DASS-21). Moderate to severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress were reported by 49.3%, 45.2%, and 54% of Arab students, respectively. Analyses indicate that low quality of online learning, academic difficulties, and negative economic effects of COVID-19 predicted stress, anxiety, and depression. Women reported higher levels of depression and stress; job loss predicted depression and anxiety; low income predicted depression; and COVID-19-related health concerns predicted anxiety. This study highlights the unique and multiple challenges faced by minority students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Campus programs are needed to address the emotional needs of students. Longitudinal research is needed to more fully understand the impact of COVID-19 on higher-education students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13466
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number20
StatePublished - 18 Oct 2022


  • anxiety
  • Arab students
  • COVID-19
  • depression
  • ethnic minorities
  • higher-education students
  • mental health
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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