Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Fei Xue

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Christopher Campbell

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Jae-Hwa Shin

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Lindsey Maxwell

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Steven Venette

Committee Member 5 School



In 2020, COVID-19 invaded the world and caused massive losses, materially, morally, and psychologically. Countries worldwide tried to mitigate the damages by taking strict precautionary measures. The response of governments to this pandemic varied. This study explored the Saudi government’s response to the pandemic by examining its official Twitter accounts. Saudi Arabia holds an important position, economically, politically, and religiously. Thus, its response to COVID-19 affects its international image and reputation, as well as the tremendous number of people who visit the country annually during the Umrah and Hajj seasons. A qualitative content analysis was conducted, and 1,007 tweets posted by the Saudi Government from 2020 to 2021 were coded. Situational crisis communication theory was used to help identify strategies used by the government. Findings suggested that the Saudi government used Twitter extensively during the pandemic in different stages of the crisis cycle. Most of the tweets focused on the government's efforts and precautionary measures it took in the very early stages, starting with closing the borders and stopping Umrah and Hajj. These actions led to a decrease in deaths and active cases, compared to other countries. As part of the apology strategy, a new theme, unity, was identified in the content analysis, which contributes to the Situational Crisis Communication Theory. Victimization and integration strategies were also found. The study did not support the theory’s assumption of connecting crisis responsibility to the crisis type. The findings suggested the need to expand SCCT to include additional crisis types and separate crisis responsibilities

Available for download on Sunday, June 01, 2025