The relationship between screen time exposure and the presence of anxiety-related disorders among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study


screen time
anxiety-related disorders
Saudi Arabia

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Alsaigh, R. R., Assas , G. E., Yahia , N. H., Sharaf , N. F. ., Shaikh, S. F. ., Alghamdi, H. M., Badr, H. A., & Alghamdi, S. A. (2022). The relationship between screen time exposure and the presence of anxiety-related disorders among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study. Belitung Nursing Journal, 8(3), 251–257.
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Accepted for publication: 2022-06-04
Peer reviewed: Yes

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Background: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic prompted rules and laws such as lockdown, which contributed to staying at home and participating in sedentary activities such as using smartphones, tablets, televisions, gaming devices, and computers. As a result of the increased use of digital screen time, a worldwide issue has arisen among various age groups, especially adolescents, which may have affected their psychological well-being, increasing their susceptibility to anxiety-related disorders.

Objective: This study aimed to assess the relationship between screen time exposure and the presence of anxiety-related disorders among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: A quantitative descriptive cross-sectional design using convenience sampling was used in this study. The online self-administered questionnaire, including the Arabic-translated version of the Screen for Child Anxiety-related Disorders (SCARED-C), was distributed through social media using Google forms between February and April 2021. The Chi-Squared test was used for data analysis.

Results: Of 625 participants, majority were females (n = 527, 84.3%) than males (n = 98, 15.7%). A significant difference between screen time and the presence of an anxiety-related disorder among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic (p = .021) was noted. More than half of the participants (n = 410, 65.6%) scored above 25 in the SCARED-C test, indicating the presence of an anxiety-related disorder regardless of the type. Of those, more than a quarter (n = 176, 28.2%) used screens for more than 8 hours a day.

Conclusion: The results indicated a relationship between screen time exposure and the presence of anxiety-related disorders among adolescents during the pandemic. In particular, adolescents are more susceptible to the adverse effects of increased exposure to screen time, which is constantly on the rise. Therefore, nurses and other healthcare professionals can play a significant role in providing guidance and advice to parents, caregivers, and adolescents themselves on how to limit screen time exposure. The findings can also be useful for future studies to build on and develop screen time management interventions and guidelines.


Copyright (c) 2022 Rasha Rashad Alsaigh, Ghadeer Essam Assas , Nashwa Hussain Yahia , Najwan Faisal Sharaf , Shahad Fareed Shaikh, Hadeel Majed Alghamdi, Hanan Abdullah Badr, Salmah Awad Alghamdi

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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Declaration of Conflicting Interest

The authors declare that no conflict of interest in this study.





Authors’ Contributions

All authors equally substantially contributed to the work design, acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of the data; Drafting or revising it critically for important intellectual content; Final approval of the version to be published; Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

Data Availability

The dataset generated during and/or analyzed during the current study is available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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