Satisfaction With Tele-Psychotherapy Among Students of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Khalil Kimiafar, Masoumeh Sarbaz, Ali Darroudi, Atefeh Sadat Mousavi, Marziyeh Raei Mehneh, Seyyedeh Fatemeh Mousavi Baigi, Mojtaba Esmaeili
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Abstract

Introduction: Previous experiences have shown that mental health is one of the areas that is quickly affected during an epidemic. Students, in particular, require guidance and consultation with psychologists in various aspects of their lives. This study aimed to investigate the satisfaction and effectiveness of tele-psychotherapy among students at Mashhad university of medical sciences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Material and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from September 2022 to March 2023. A standard questionnaire developed by Ghalibaf et al. was used. Three experts in related fields confirmed the content validity of the questionnaire, and its internal consistency was assessed using Cronbach's alpha coefficient. Questionnaires were distributed to all students from affiliated faculties at Mashhad university of medical sciences who had utilized tele-psychotherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize and analyze the data, while analytical statistics provided a basis for inference and interpretation.

Results: The majority of students reported engaging in informal counseling through virtual communication methods such as chat and voice (47.7%), while video communication methods like video conferences were less commonly used (0.05%). Overall, most students (50%) expressed moderate overall satisfaction with tele-psychotherapy. However, only a small percentage (16.7%) agreed or strongly agreed that they would continue with this style of counseling in the future. Gender was found to have a significant relationship with satisfaction in tele-psychotherapy (p<0.001), with female students reporting higher levels of satisfaction. Additionally, confidence in the confidentiality of conversations on the Internet also had a significant relationship with satisfaction in tele-psychotherapy (p<0.001).

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a sudden shift from face-to-face psychotherapy consultations to tele-psychotherapy for students, presenting them with unique challenges. The results of our study demonstrate that tele-psychotherapy can be a satisfactory option for ensuring continuity during crises. Furthermore, tele-psychotherapy offers flexibility in terms of time and location, allowing for quicker appointments if more frequent sessions are required or during emergencies.

Keywords

Teleconsultation; Telepsychotherapy; Digital Mental Health; Telemedicine; Mental Health Services

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30699/fhi.v13i0.516

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