COVID-19 Fear Impact on Israeli and Maltese Female “Help” Profession Students

Mor Yehudai, Marilyn Clark, Andrew Azzopardi, Shai Li Romem Porat, Adi Dagan, Alexander Reznik, Richard Isralowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the impact of COVID-19 fear on the well-being of Israeli and Maltese female “help” profession (e.g., social work and psychology) undergraduate students. This cross-national comparison includes factors of depression, anxiety, anger, loneliness, nervousness, substance use, eating behavior, burnout, and resilience. The study hypothesis is that country status, even with different social–cultural characteristics including religiosity, is not a significant factor associated with COVID-19 fear impact on select behavioral characteristics of female university students. Methods: A total of 453 female “help” profession students completed an online survey from January to July 2021. Various statistical methods of analysis including regression were used for this study. Results: The mean COVID-19 fear scores were the same among Israeli and Maltese students. Resilience was found to be higher among Israeli females; burnout was found to be higher among those from Malta. Substance use (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, or prescription drugs) in the last month was reported by 77.2% of the respondents. No significant differences were found for previous-month substance use based on country status. Regardless of country, respondents who reported more previous-month substance use had higher COVID-19 fear and burnout scores, as well as lower resilience. Due to COVID-19, most respondents (74.3%) reported deterioration of their psycho-emotional well-being in the last month; however, no significant differences were found based on country and religiosity statuses. Furthermore, no significant differences were found for eating behavior changes and weight increase based on country and religiosity statuses. Conclusion: Study findings showed the impact of COVID-19 fear on the well-being of Israeli and Maltese female “help” profession undergraduate students. This study examined only female students; however, additional research is needed to address male students and their experiences. Prevention and treatment intervention measures aimed to increase resilience and decrease burnout, including those that can be made available on campus, should be thought about by university administration personnel and student association leaders in consultation with mental health professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3968
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19 fear
  • Israel
  • Malta
  • mental health
  • professional students
  • substance use
  • university students
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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