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Home / Regular Issue / JSSH Vol. 31 (3) Sep. 2023 / JSSH-8539-2021


Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Subsequent Social Distancing on Individual's Mental Health

Sarah Abdulkareem Salih, Sumarni Ismail, Ahmed Najm and Nurhilmiyani Ismail

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 31, Issue 3, September 2023


Keywords: Behavioural health, COVID-19, Malaysia, mental health symptoms, online survey, Selangor, social distancing, social interaction

Published on: 22 September 2023

The COVID-19 coronavirus, an infectious disease originating in Wuhan, has become an outbreak worldwide, leading to unprecedented measures restricting social and physical activities in many countries. The subsequent social distancing of COVID-19 has significantly resulted in many psychological consequences. The current study examines the impact of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health symptoms of Selangor State, Malaysia residents. An online survey was conducted through social media platforms targeting residents of Selangor State in Malaysia. A convenience sampling method was led to include 258 respondents in the study. The questionnaire on the symptoms of mental health related to fear of COVID-19 included 13 items developed from the existing studies. The results showed that symptoms of mental health problems related to fear of COVID-19 are negatively associated with the likelihood of social interaction. The overall score of symptoms of mental health related to the fear of COVID-19 showed moderate symptoms of mental problems related to the fear of COVID-19. The factor of age was also associated with higher symptomatology of mental health problems related to fear of COVID-19. Thus, related measures and guidelines must consider the mental well-being of the at-risk person as the pandemic continues. The current study’s findings contribute to the knowledge gaps in behavioural health during biological disasters. It also provides a reference for professionals and policymakers to develop programs and measures to handle the psychosocial status of the affected people.

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