CYBERCHONDRIA SEVERITY, HEALTH ANXIETY, AND HEALTH
LOCUS OF CONTROL: THE MEDIATION ROLE OF COVID-19
Mahfouz Abdelsattar, Esraa Derar, Ashraf Atta M.S. Salem, Fatemah Al-Mujaim
The current study investigates the relationship among Cyberchondria severity level, health anxiety and health locus of control as a direct response for COVID-19 anxiety among Arab people in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) and the Gulf States. The study employed four main scales; The Coronavirus Anxiety Scale Syndrome (CASS), Cyberchondria Severity Scale (CSS). Short Health Anxiety Inventory (SHAI) and the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control – Form C (MHLC-C). The study sample consists of 573 respondents from 15 Arab countries; 243 (42.4%) males and 330 (57.6%) females. Results of the study showed that there are no statistically significant differences between the study participants in the study variables; cyberchondria severity levels, health anxiety, and health locus of control during COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, findings revealed that cyberchondria severity was positively elated o health anxiety (r=0.14, p.03). The mediation simple model revealed that high levels of COVID-19 anxiety syndrome symptoms lead to increased levels of health anxiety, whereas, COVID-19 anxiety and health anxiety cannot mediate the relationship between cyberchondria and health locus of control. Based on the study results, it is recommended that individuals form different Arab countries differ in their COVID-19 anxiety syndrome symptoms which may lead to heightened levels of internet use to seek health information and health anxiety. Also, individuals are characterized by external locus of control, they view that protection from COVID-19 infection depends mainly on the external health systems and other experienced physicians.