Research shows that online learning during COVID-19 is detrimental to mental health, school satisfaction and teen performance

Online Learning

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the social and school world for teens as virtual or blended learning becomes the norm in 2020-21. Unprecedented classroom interruptions cause excessive stress, low levels of social inclusion and satisfaction with school, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Davis. low education for many people — and mental health problems for some.

The problems are particularly pronounced for youth who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming, or TGNC, and young adults who study online during the pandemic, the researchers found.

“From this study, it is clear that some individuals who finished the 2020-21 school year faced more adversity than others,” said Drew Cingel, lead author and associate professor of communications at UC Davis. . The study was published last month in the journal PLEASE ONE.

Research shows that teens who can go to school in person report a greater sense of inclusion in life. social group compared to online learners. And although traditionally used heavily in this age group, social media cannot compensate for the fact, directly social connection rooted in schools, the researchers suggest.

Data were collected from 1,256 U.S. adolescents, ages 14 to 16, to examine how their school background related to feelings of satisfaction and success at school, social connections, health mental health and media use. The findings suggest that current school interventions may be needed to help teens recover from the disparities experienced during this particular time, the researchers say.

Particularly vulnerable to health and education disparities are TGNC adolescents and young adults who only learn virtual. Both reported more significant declines in academic success and less satisfied with school in 2020-21 than the previous school year.

Young people who participate in virtual learning also report feeling less socially connected and have a higher incidence of mental health problems than their peers who can attend either face-to-face or modeled schools. combine.

Social media

And while teen social media use is reported to be more pronounced than it was before the pandemic, the growing online socialization is seen as both a positive and a problem at the same time.

“Importantly, while adolescents are adept and frequent media users and also report media use for social purposes, in the case of hey, a lot of their direct social connections have been lost, social media and gaming are unlikely to provide a sufficient mechanism protection to compensate for that loss,” the researchers said in the study.

“In fact, problematic media use (both social media and gaming) is the highest by those in online learning context. It is important that we recognize that all youth will not return to school with the same consequences of the pandemic and that resources are needed to specifically support TGNC youth and those in online learning. route at the end of last year, especially around Community Connection and mental health“Cingel said.

Co-authors include Alexis R. Lauricella, Erickson Institute, Chicago; Sarah M. Coyne, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Ellen Wartella, Department of Communication Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; and Lauren B. Taylor and Hannah R. Stevens, UC Davis.

More information:
Drew P. Cingel et al., U.S. adolescents’ attitudes toward school, social connections, media use, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Differences as an institution of gender identity and school contexts, PLEASE ONE (2022). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276737

quote: Study shows that online learning during COVID-19 is detrimental to mental health, school satisfaction, adolescent academic achievement (2022, Nov. published December 1, 2022 from

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