Healthy lifestyle behaviors are major predictors of mental wellbeing during COVID-19 pandemic confinement: A study on adult Arabs in higher educational institutions

PLoS One. 2020 Dec 14;15(12):e0243524. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243524. eCollection 2020.


Background: In the past infectious diseases affected the quality of lifestyle during home confinement. The study conducted examines the influence of home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak on lifestyle, mental wellbeing, nutritional status, and sleeping pattern.

Method: An online multicategorical questionnaire was distributed to collect demographic information combined with the following tools: Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), WHO-5 wellbeing score, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). A snowball non-discriminate sampling procedure was conducted to collect data from people attending or working at higher institutions from March 1, 2020 to April 24, 2020. A total of 1723 completed responses (917 males, 37.4 ±13.4 years old and 806 females 32.2 ± 11.5 years old) were collected.

Results: The female participants had significantly lower mental health scores than males (53.9% vs. 46.1%). The mental wellbeing scores were higher among participants with medium and high physical activity (PA) levels (p < 0.00). Additionally, the mental wellbeing scores were significantly improved by dietary quality and it's sleeping score (p < 0.001). However, PA was by far the major determinant of the mental health scores.

Conclusion: Factors such as PA, diet, and sleeping patterns were associated with mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 confinement among Arab participants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arabs
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / pathology
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Healthy Lifestyle / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics*
  • Quarantine
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity*
  • Schools
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This study was supported by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (JO) (84811) to HAK. Additionally, MH is a paid employee of Actness, but was not representing Actness when working on this study. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.