The impact of distance learning on mental health may vary by age, race, ethnicity, family income
September 15, 2021
2 minutes to read
Distance schooling may further harm the mental health of older children, black and Hispanic, and those from low-income families, according to a nationally representative cross-sectional study in JAMA network open.
“Young people may be particularly susceptible to mental health issues if they experience pandemic disruption of in-person schooling intersecting with other adverse circumstances, such as racism, poverty, food insecurity. or the instability of the home ” Matt Hawrilenko, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “The loss of access to school-based mental health care may be of greater importance to youth from low-income families, as they are more likely to receive mental health services only from their school. “
Hawrilenko and colleagues interviewed 2,324 adults aged 18 to 64 who had at least one child aged 2 to 17 living at home from December 2, 2020 to December 21, 2020, about children’s mental health issues (emotional issues, peer issues, driving, hyperactivity) and whether they were receiving distance education, in person, or hybrid.
Most children (58%) attended a fully isolated school, 415 (18%) attended hybrid classes, and 55 (24.1%) attended in-person school. While the socio-demographic structure was similar between in-person and blended learning, larger proportions of children in distant classrooms had parents of a non-Hispanic race / ethnicity other than white. For example, 30.2% of distant students had Hispanic parents, while 18.2% of the in-person group and 17.9% of the hybrid group had Hispanic parents.
Children attending a distant school were from households with an income approximately $ 10,000 lower than children attending hybrid or in-person classes (mean difference, $ 9,719; 95% CI, $ 15,111 to 4 $ 327; P
Age and type of education were significantly associated with mental health problems (standardized effect size, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.07-0.39, per year of child age ), with older children in distant classes having more problems than in-person students. age; Young children in remote schools were expected to have less difficulty than in-person students their age.
Higher income and an education format were significantly associated with mental health problems. In-person schooling was more beneficial for children in high-income families than for low-income families (B = 0.2; 95% CI 0.1 to 0.3, per $ 10,000 of increase in annual income; P
Mental health in hybrid education did not differ from other modalities by age or income.
In addition, the learning modules – in which 17.1% of distance participants and 29.3% of hybrid participants participated – “completely stamped the associations of hybrid schooling (d = 0.25; 95 CI %, 0.47 to 0.04) but not distance schooling (d = 0.04; 95% CI, 0.1 to 0.18) with negative results for mental health, ”Hawrilenko wrote and his colleagues.
The study was limited by the observational design, non-differentiation as to whether distance learning was optional, and the exclusion of potentially important variables such as children’s race / ethnicity.
The researchers suggested that future studies examine the mechanisms between distance education and mental health issues to help create solutions to children’s mental health issues.
“Ensuring that all students have access to additional educational and mental health resources must be an important public health priority, with appropriate funding and increased enrollment, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. They wrote.