The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the lives of individuals from all different age groups. In particular, the prolongation of COVID-19 and the emergence of virus variants, such as Omicron, Delta and Alpha, have caused trauma to university students amid expectations that the associated economic, social, and psychological outcomes could affect their future careers. The current study, therefore, examines how the fear of COVID-19 prolongation may affect future career anxiety (FCA) among adolescents and to what extent depressive symptoms may determine such a relationship. Using a cross-sectional design, a survey was conducted to assess depressive symptoms, FCA, and fear of COVID-19 prolongation among 605 university students in Oman, an Arabic-speaking country located in the Gulf region. Using structural equation modeling, the results showed that there were significant standardized direct effects (unmediated) of fear of COVID-19 on depression from COVID-19 and of depression from COVID-19 on FCA. Additionally, depression from COVID-19 mediated the relationship between fear of COVID-19 and FCA. The results are discussed within the Omani context of mental health service accessibility challenges and the dominant culture of perceiving mental health services with social stigma.
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