Recent Submissions

  • The Translation and Validation of the Basic Empathy Scale (BES-AR)

    Merdad, Nesma; Hamad, Joud; Psychology
    The Arabic version of the Basic Empathy Scale demonstrates strong reliability and satisfactory validity, resembling the original scale by Farrington and Jolliffe (2006). Female participants showed higher levels of empathy compared to males. The Arabic scale correlates positively with the Perth Empathy Scale, indicating concurrent validity. A weak significant relationship was obtained between BES and SDS, suggesting an association between empathy and social desirability. There is no significant correlation observed between social interaction anxiety and empathy. The exploratory factor analysis favored a one-factor model for an overall empathy score. With Arabic-speaking people, the Arabic BES demonstrates validity and reliability for clinical and research applications, enabling assessments that are sensitive to cultural differences. Its participation in research promotes empathy awareness worldwide and helps educators and mental health professionals with diagnosis, treatment, and skill development.
  • The effectiveness of sensory processing interventions for children with Autism

    Merdad, Nesma; nesma; Masoudi, Razan; Psychology
    Children with ASD often experience significant sensory processing challenges that can affect their daily lives and overall development. These sensory issues can lead to behaviors such as avoidance of certain activities or environments, difficulty focusing, and problems in emotional regulation. Sensory processing problems can impact their ability to participate in typical activities, affecting their learning, social interactions, and quality of life. Therefore, knowing mothers’ impressions towards the interventions used, such as sensory integration therapy, applied behavior analysis, and occupational therapy can help in knowing the effectiveness of these interventions for children with ASD and how to improve it. Thus, online semi-structured interviews were conducted to 3 mothers of children with autism and it covered 2 themes (symptoms improvement and mothers’ wellbeing). Results showed positive views on the therapy’s effectiveness and showed improvement on the mothers’ overall wellbeing.
  • The Effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis for Children with Autism from Mothers' Perspectives

    Merdad, Nisma; Masoudi, Rawan; Psychology
    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by challenges in social interaction, communication, and restricted or repetitive behaviors. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapeutic approach aimed at improving these areas by breaking down skills into smaller, manageable steps and using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors. ABA interventions are structured, targeting specific behaviors through techniques such as reinforcement, prompting, and shaping. The aim of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of applied behavior analysis in the treatment of children with autism from mothers’ perspective. 3 mothers of children with autism that are receiving ABA therapy were interviewed. The interview questions covered two themes (symptoms improvement & mothers’ well-being). Results revealed positive views on the therapy’s effectiveness and showed improvement on the mothers’ overall well-being.
  • Divorce in the Middle East

    Merdad, Nisma; Alghamdi, Dana; Psychology
    This qualitative study aims to provide a detailed investigation into the various aspects of divorce in the Middle East, focusing on cultural and societal influences, effects on family structures and gender roles, social implications, and the psychological well-being of those involved. The research aims to enhance understanding and awareness of the dynamics of divorce in the Middle East. Utilizing a qualitative methodology, the study conducted online semi-structured interviews via Zoom and FaceTime with eight participants, including four parents and four children. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Key findings reveal distinct themes for both children and parents. For children, mental health, social life, and relationships with parents were predominant themes. For parents, financial child support, emotional child support, relationships with ex-partners, and pre- and post-divorce support emerged as critical areas of focus. The study concludes that both children and parents face significant challenges due to divorce, with finances and communication being particularly difficult for parents, while children struggle with mental health, social life, and maintaining parental relationships. Despite these challenges, many participants demonstrated resilience and adaptability, successfully navigating life after divorce.
  • Exploring the Differences in Family Cohesion, Depression, and Self-esteem among Adolescents and Young Adults with Divorced Parents and Those with Intact Families

    Merdad, Nisma; Taufik, Moudi; Psychology
    Many children show resilience through parental divorce, but can still be susceptible to negative experiences and consequences on their psychological wellbeing. This study aims to explore the potential differences in family cohesion, depression, and self-esteem among adolescents and young adults in divorced families and those in intact families. We hypothesize that adolescents and young adults from divorced will have significantly lower family cohesion and self-esteem and higher depression compared to those from intact families. The scales used to measure the variables was the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale (FACES), Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI), and Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale. Demographic data was also gathered to explore further moderating factors. The sample contained 111 participants between the ages of 16 and 25 in Saudi Arabia. Results showed significant difference in family cohesion and depression between participants from divorced families and those from intact families. However, there was no statistically significant difference found in self-esteem between the two groups. These findings can contribute to the understanding of the impact of parental divorce on adolescents and young adults, in addition to highlighting the need for specific or customized interventions to support individuals from divorced families.
  • The impact of early childhood education and nursery school on later-life creativity in Saudi Arabia

    Merdad, Nisma; Asfari, Shahad; Psychology
    This study examined the impact of nursery attendance on later life creativity in Saudi Arabia. Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of nursery, yet the specific influence of nursery attendance on creativity has rarely been explored. A sample of 119 individuals aged 18 to 40 years participated in the study. The Creative Behavior Inventory and Creative Attitude Survey were utilized to assess their creative behaviors and attitudes. The findings revealed a significant positive association between nursery attendance and creativity, indicating that individuals who attended nursery demonstrated higher scores of creativity compared to those who did not attend nursery. These findings have important implications for early childhood education, suggesting that nursery attendance may have a positive influence in fostering children's creativity. Future research should further investigate the underlying mechanisms and potential long-term effects of nursery attendance on creativity, considering contextual factors and individual differences.
  • The Effect of Language Barrier in Work Related Stress in Non – Arabic Workers

    Merdad, Nesma; Amanulla, Ayesha; Psychology
    In present day society, it is common for people from different backgrounds to be working under the same company. Studies show that employees experience higher levels of stress when operating in a second language. However, there is not a lot of research that looks into language related stress that may be faced by workers in Saudi Arabia who are not familiar with the national language. This study uses qualitative methods to understand their experience with the Arabic language specifically if they experience any stress related to language ability. Six participants who were working in Effat University were selected using convenience sampling and were interviewed. This study showed that the workers had mostly beginner level of proficiency in Arabic and experienced stress during meeting, when understanding written material and while speaking with colleagues who were not fluent in English. The participants also shared some factors that prevents them from improving the ability in Arabic. This study shows the importance of language related classes in helping to mitigate language barriers in multinational workplaces.
  • The Impact of Language Barrier in Work Related Stress in Non – Arabic Workers

    Merdad, Nesma; Amanulla, Ayesha; Psychology
    In today’s globalized society, it is common for people from different backgrounds to be working under the same company. Studies show that employees experience higher levels of stress when operating in a second language. However, there is not a lot of research that looks into language-related stress that may be faced by workers in Saudi Arabia who are not familiar with the national language. This study uses qualitative methods to understand their experience with the Arabic language specifically if they experience any stress related to language ability. Six participants who were working in Effat University were selected using convenience sampling and were interviewed. This study showed that the workers had mostly beginner level of proficiency in Arabic and experienced stress during meeting, when understanding written material and while speaking with colleagues who were not fluent in English. The participants also shared some factors that prevents them from improving the ability in Arabic. This study shows the importance of language related classes in helping to mitigate language barriers in multinational workplaces.
  • The Stigma of Mental Health in Arab Culture vs. Western Culture

    Merdad, Nesma; Saeed, Leena; Psychology
    The mental health stigma has become a part of social turmoil since the inception of modern generation of humans. However, the division among people is still existed on the topic of mental health stigma. The aim of this research is providing a difference between Western and Arab cultures on the perspective of mental health stigma by analyzing how social and cultural norms impact behavior of individuals and how they take serious and treatment of mental health. In this study, the research will examine the role of cultural norms of Western and Arab cultures where how people view and reaction on mental health. Western culture has a higher level of social acceptance and the range of accessible treatments of mental health. Mental health and psychological disorder is considered and treated in well manner by mental health professional. However, Arab culture faces mental health stigma and abstain from mental health care and even want to confidential their mental health. This research must be conducted to analysis the particular effects of mental health stigma on individuals in Arab and Western communities. We can immediately response and confront it and provide people awareness and counselling of mental health by identifying the main causes of the stigma. This will make mental health is more widely accepted and reduce the social stigma of mental health, they are suffering from it, will disappear.
  • The Impact of the Quran and Music on Anxiety Levels

    Merdad, Nisma; Wali, Maimounah; Psychology
    Calm music has been used to treat mental health problems and has been incorporated into relaxation techniques to treat psychological issues as supported by the research in mental health. The holy Quran is a holy book in Islam and has been used by Muslims for its healing properties. This quantitative study focused on exploring the effect of listening to the Quran versus calm music on anxiety levels. The current study measured the anxiety levels of participants by using Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Thirty-six individuals participated in the current study and were divided into two groups, the Music Group (n=20) who listened to a five minute audio of calm music, and the Quran group (n=16) who listened to a five-minute audio of Surat Yusuf. Anxiety levels were measured by administering questionnaires. For analysis of the results, paired sample t-test and independent sample t-test were applied. Within group difference results showed that Quran and music are both effective in decreasing anxiety levels. However, between-group differences, it was found that post-audition anxiety levels of people who listened to the Quran were lower than people who listened to music. There were no significant differences in the results of previous experiments with listening to music and listening to the Quran. This shows that the Quran has healing properties and may be effective for therapeutic techniques. The impact of listening to the Quran may be further explored in future studies with different areas of other mental health problems.
  • Can Nurturing a Houseplant Promote College Students' Mental Wellbeing?

    Merdad, Nisma; Rozi, Fatima; Psychology
    Agricultural research proves that adding indoor plants into personal spaces can have multiple benefits to people physically and mentally. And numerous other studies have been conducted on the prevalence of mental health issues in college students. This experimental study aimed to explore the effects of nurturing a houseplant on college students’ depressive mood, stress, and motivation levels. The participants were 12 Effat university students from the psychology department. They were randomly divided into a control group and a study group who were given plants to nurture for six weeks. The results indicated no statistically significant difference in change in scores of depression, stress, and motivation in pre, mid, and post-intervention. If future studies with a larger, more enhanced design could confirm the positive effects of plants on college students’ mental wellbeing, plants could be used as a support system for college students on universities scale.
  • Perspectives on Mental Health Problems, Mental Healthcare, and Quality of Life for People Living in Areas of Crisis.

    Merdad, Nisma; Alfadhel, Orjuwan; Psychology
    This study aims to explore mental health (e.g. depression and PTSD) as well as the quality of life for people living in or coming from areas of crisis. The study also linked these mental health variables and quality of life (QoL) with access to mental healthcare; as well as QoL with receiving mental healthcare. The research also aims qualitatively to discover healthcare workers’ perspective about access to mental healthcare, treatment methods, barriers to seeking therapy and number of beneficiaries in those countries. Studies have shown that individuals in Yemen, Sudan, and Syria have been facing recurrent exposure to stress, loss, and trauma, resulting in severe mental health difficulties and reduction in QoL. Common mental disorders prevalent among those exposed to war and conflict include PTSD and depression. Limited access to mental healthcare exacerbates the situation, affecting people’s mental health and QoL. The study employed a mixed methods approach. PCL-5, PHQ-9, and WHOQOL-BREF questionnaires are used for PTSD, depression, and quality of life among 118 Syrian, Yemen, and Sudan adults. Semi structured interviews were conducted with 3 healthcare workers to explore access to mental healthcare, treatment methods, and number of beneficiaries. Over 52.5% exhibited high PTSD risk, and 55% showed moderate to severe depression symptoms. More than half lacked mental healthcare access, and most hadn't received prior care. There were significant differences in mental health disorders and QoL with the accessibility to mental healthcare. There was no significant difference in QoL between those who received mental healthcare and those who did not. Thematic analysis identified two master themes: access to mental healthcare and barriers to seeking therapy.
  • The Relationship between Parenting Styles and Children Anxiety Disorders Among Children aged six to twelve years in The Western Region of Saudi Arabia

    Jaber AlGhalib, Dr Saddiga; Alhussini, Lama; Psychology
    purpose: the aim of this research is to examine the relationship between parenting styles and children's anxiety disorders among children aged six to twelve years in the western region of Saudi Arabia. The lack of research in Saudi Arabia and the inconsistent findings in the literature was the motivation for the researcher to examine this relationship. Methods: A cross-sectional design is used to collect the data. An online questionnaire was distributed with the following tools: SCARED and PCDQ. The data was analyzed using SPSS. Results: The researcher has found that the authoritarian (M = 3.62, SD = .46). and Permissive (M = 2.93, SD =.82) parenting styles were statistically significant in predicting child anxiety. Authoritative (M = 3.62, SD = .46) was found to be a insignificant predictor of childhood anxiety.
  • The Impact of Growing up in a Polygamous Family on Adult’s Current Self Esteem and Level of Stress

    Merdad, Nisma; Alamoudi, Eman; Psychology
    Studies show that adults who grow up in polygamous families have a higher rate of mental health challenges, including elevated stress levels and diminished self-esteem. However, there are no studies investigating their relations with parents, siblings, and step siblings. Aim: This research aims to determine the relationship between growing up in polygamous families and the level of self-esteem and stress in adults while also investigating how these experiences may influence adults’ relationships with parents and siblings. Methods: A total of 104 participants in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia were recruited through voluntary participation, and they were assessed using the Rosenburg self-esteem scale and the Perceived stress scale. Results: Adults from polygamous families exhibited slightly higher self-esteem, but also experienced elevated stress levels compared to those from monogamous families. Additionally, adults from Polygamous families reported poorer relationships with both parents and siblings compared to their counterparts in monogamous families. Implications: This study stresses the significance of employing family therapy and parenting workshops to contribute and help address these relational challenges and improve communication, understanding, and overall family bonds and cohesion.
  • EXAMINING THE LINK BETWEEN MASCULINE NORMS, ALEXITHYMIA, AND MENTAL WELL-BEING IN MALES AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THEIR LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT WITH THEIR CHILDREN.

    Merdad, Nisma; El-Ghali, Jana; Psychology
    Masculine norms refer to specific behaviours expected from men in a society. These norms can hinder men's mental well-being by discouraging emotional expression, leading to male normative alexithymia. Additionally, these norms could also contribute to the father’s emotional state and his level of engagement with his children. This paper aims to find a relationship between adherence to masculine norms, normative male alexithymia, and the mental well-being of males living in KSA. It further aims to describe a connection between a father’s emotional state and level of engagement with his children. The study uses a mixed-method design. The quantitative method involved an online self-report questionnaire distributed to participants, consisting of demographic factors, the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) to assess mental well-being, the Perth Alexithymia Questionnaire-Short Form (PAQ-S) to measure alexithymia, and the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory-22 (CMNI-22) to evaluate adherence to masculine norms. The qualitative method involved face-to-face interviews with five fathers recruited through random professors at Effat University. The coded interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Results of the quantitative survey showed a significant weak positive correlation between masculine norms and alexithymia. A non-significant weak negative correlation between mental well-being and alexithymia. A non-significant weak positive correlation between masculine norms and mental well-being. The results of the interviews showed that most fathers tend to detach from their children when faced with stress. However, maintaining active engagement, particularly through positive interactions, can potentially reduce their distress. Disengaging children during challenging periods may undermine fathers' mental well-being, emphasizing the importance of maintaining involvement. These findings highlight the significance of tailored parenting programs and interventions for fathers, having mental health support services for males, and promoting awareness of men’s mental health through educational campaigns.
  • Implementing Islam in Mental Health Treatment and Exploring the Impact of the Sense of God's Presence in Therapy

    Merdad, Nisma; Marar, Rinal; Psychology
    Psychologists have primarily applied Western psychology when treating Muslim individuals. However, it is essential to address the religious needs of Muslim individuals in therapy to gain significant outcomes. This study aims to examine the psychologists' and clients’ acceptance of incorporating Islam in psychotherapy and, to prove the effectiveness of the sensation of God’s presence in therapy. This study is qualitative and was conducted through two types of semi-structured interviews; (1) 6 clients who suffered from mental health problems, and (2) 5 psychologists who are providing mental health treatment sessions. In this study, 5 themes were found. Two themes for the clients; (1) clients’ opinions about Islamic integrations and, (2) the effect of Islamic integration on clients’ lives and therapy. Three themes for psychologists’; (1) psychologists’ opinions about Islamic integrations, (2) the effect of integrating the sensation of God’s presence, and (3) disorders that could benefit from the integration. This study holds significance in examining the influence of integrating Islam into psychotherapy. The results of this study show different positive aspects of the integration that benefit the therapeutic outcomes
  • Short – term Versus Long – term Relationship Preferences Among Men and Women: A Case of Saudi Arabia

    Merdad, Nisma; Alghamdi, Asmaa; Psychology
    When engaging in long-term or short-term relationships, it is essential to understand that not both genders have the same preferences; it differs from gender to gender and if the relationship is being considered for a longer bond like marriage or otherwise. The following paper attempts to highlight these differences in choice between men and women in Saudi Arabia by studying the results of a quantitative methodology, surveying the population for their preferences, and then comparing them. This was done via an online survey link sent to 70 participants, who were asked to choose their more considered preferences when choosing a mate. The results revealed the differences between long-term and short-term relationship preferences between the two genders and concluded that females are more likely to consider factors like religious and shared values for long-term relationships in comparison to men, along with many other factors to be studied below. It aims to determine the factors that push the perspectives of the residents to sway the way that they do.
  • Stigmatization of Personality Disorders: A Qualitative Approach

    Jaber AlGhalib, Dr Saddiga; Abduljawad, Jade; Psychology
    Personality disorders were always the most stigmatized disorders when it came to putting into the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) coined the term "psychopathic personalities" to describe personality types in modern psychiatric classification. Personality disorders are classified as a manner of thinking, feeling, and acting that differs from cultural norms produces distress or impairment in functioning and persists over time. My research is targeted to understand and highlight all aspects of personality disorders in a small sample of university students. A simply qualitative study was done in order to understand this phenomenon. 5 participants responses were chosen and compared. The results showed that more research is needed in the middle east to understand if religion is the factor that is stigmatizing personality disorders.

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