The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Emergency Distance Teaching on the Psychological Status of University Teachers: A Cross-Sectional Study in Jordan

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Dec;103(6):2391-2399. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-0877. Epub 2020 Oct 27.


The COVID-19 pandemic has struck many countries globally. Jordan has implemented strict nationwide control measures to halt the viral spread, one of which was the closure of universities and shifting to remote teaching. The impact of this pandemic could extend beyond the risk of physical harm to substantial psychological consequences. Our study aimed at assessing 1) psychological status, 2) challenges of distance teaching, and 3) coping activities and pandemic-related concerns among university teachers in Jordan in the midst of COVID-19-related quarantine and control measures. We conducted a cross-sectional study using an anonymous online survey. The measure of psychological distress was obtained using a validated Arabic version of the Kessler Distress Scale (K10). Other information collected included sociodemographic profile, methods used to handle distress, motivation to participate in distance teaching, and challenges of distance teaching as well as the most worrisome issues during this pandemic. Three hundred eighty-two university teachers returned completed surveys. Results of K10 showed that 31.4% of respondents had severe distress and 38.2% had mild to moderate distress. Whereas gender was not associated with distress severity, age had a weak negative correlation (Rho = -0.19, P < 0.0001). Interestingly, most teachers had moderate to high motivation for distance teaching. Engagement with family was the most reported self-coping activity. More than half of the participants were most concerned and fearful about SARS-CoV-2 infection. In conclusion, university teachers have shown to exhibit various levels of psychological distress and challenges during the implementation of precautionary national measures in the battle against COVID-19 in Jordan.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Education, Distance
  • Faculty / psychology*
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jordan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Pandemics*
  • Physical Distancing
  • Psychological Distress
  • Quarantine / psychology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities