Personal, academic and stress correlates of gastroesophageal reflux disease among college students in southwestern Saudi Arabia: A cross-section study

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2019 Oct 10:47:61-65. doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2019.10.009. eCollection 2019 Nov.


Background: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a worldwide prevalent gastrointestinal disorder which has negative impacts on quality of life, health and economy. The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of GERD among college students in southwestern Saudi Arabia and to evaluate its personal, academic and stress correlates.

Materials and methods: Through a cross-sectional study design, a self-reported questionnaire was distributed between a representative sample of students in health and non-health care colleges in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The questionnaire included data for personal characteristics, academic study, and Arabic versions of GERD questionnaire (GerdQ) and Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale.

Results: Out of 2878 studied students, GERD was reported by 28.6% and 36.6% of students in health and non-health care colleges respectively with an overall prevalence rate of 33.18%. It was associated with impacts on daily life in 17.2% of students. By multivariable regression analysis, GERD was significantly higher among males (aOR = 1.44, 95% CI:117-1.65), ex-smokers (aOR = 1.87), current smokers (aOR = 1.71), non-health care students (aOR = 1.36) and those exposed to high perceived stress (aOR = 1.30).

Conclusion: GERD is a prevalent problem among college students in southwestern Saudi Arabia as it affects about one third of the students. Considering high prevalence of GERD, associated daily life impacts, young age of the studied subject and the risk of future complications, this condition could represent a challenging health and economic problem. The risk of GERD is higher among; males, smokers, former smokers, non-health care colleges students and subjects exposed to high perceived stress.

Keywords: College students; GERD; Gastroesophageal reflux disease; Perceived stress; Prevalence.