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J Family Community Med. 2020 Jan-Apr;27(1):53-61. doi: 10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_140_19. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Anxiety and depression and their relation to the use of electronic devices among secondary school students in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, 2018-2019.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia.
Ministry of Health, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.



Adolescence is a critical transitional period for the development of mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, and these days, adolescents spend less time playing outside than they do using electronic devices. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between the use of electronic devices and anxiety and depression in female secondary school students in Al-Khobar City, KSA.


This cross-sectional study included 903 female students selected from the four educational districs (Al-Khobar, Al-Thuqbah, Al-Dhahran and Al-Rakah). Data was collected using a self-administered anonymous questionnaire that included questions related sociodemographics and the use of electronic devices, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale. Data analysis included descriptive statistics frequencies and percentages for categorical variables, and mean and standard deviation for continuous variables. Chi-square test was performed to test for significance for association between categorical variable. Odds ratios were calculated for association of anxiety and depression with various independent variables including the use of electronic devices. A binary logistic regression model was used to determine factors associated with anxiety and depression. All test were performed at 5% significance level.


The mean age of the participants was 16.29 years (SD=0.84). About 98% reported using electronic devices; 67.3% used electronic devices 2 or more hours daily, and 81.5% used them at bedtime. About 66% students had moderate-to-severe anxiey and 70/5% had mild-to-severe depression. The logistic regression model showed that users of electronic devices at bedtime were 1.524 more likely to have anxiety (P=0.026), while spending more than 2 hours on the devices at bedtime were significantly associated with depression.


The high prevalence of anxiety and depression among female students is worrisome. Finding suggests that adolescents might benefit from a restricted use of electronic devices. It is necessary to develop age-specific guidelines regarding duration of the use of electronic devices and to integrate the development of psychosocial skills into the school curriculum.


Adolescent; anxiety; depression; electronic devices; mental health

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