Problem: Sentiment Analysis (SA) automates the classification of the sentiment of people’s attitudes, feelings or reviews employing natural language processing (NLP) and computational approaches. Deep learning has recently demonstrated remarkable success in the field of SA in many languages including Arabic. Arabic sentiment analysis, however, still has to be improved, due to the complexity of the Arabic language’s structure, the variety of dialects, and the lack of lexicons. Moreover, in Arabic, anxiety as a psychological sentiment has not been the target of much research. Aim: This paper aims to provide solutions to one of the challenges of Arabic Sentiment Analysis (ASA) using a deep learning model focused on predicting the anxiety level during COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A psychological scale to determine the level of anxiety was built and validated. It was then used to create the Arabic Psychological Lexicon (AraPh) containing 138 different dialectical Arabic words that express anxiety, which was used to annotate our corpus (Aranxiety). Aranxiety comprises 955 Arabic tweets representing the level of user anxiety during COVID-19. Bi-GRU model with word embedding was then applied to analyze the sentiment of the tweets and to determine the anxiety level. Results: For SA, the applied model achieved 88% on accuracy, 89% on precision, 88% on recall, and 87% for F1. A majority of 77% of tweets presented no anxiety, whereas 17% represented mild anxiety and a mere 6% represented high anxiety. Conclusion: The proposed model can be used by the Saudi Ministry of Health and members of the research community to formulate solutions to increase psychological resiliency among the Saudi population.


© 2023 Almeqren, Almuqren, Alhayan, Cristea and Pennington. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Almeqren, M., Almuqren, L., Alhayan, F., Cristea, A. & Pennington, D. 2023, 'Using deep learning to analyze the psychological effects of COVID-19', Frontiers in Psychology, 14, article no: 962854. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.962854

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Last updated: 05 September 2023
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