This article was originally published here
J Prim Prev. 2021 Oct 15. doi: 10.1007/s10935-021-00649-w. Online ahead of print.
School connectedness is consistently associated with adolescent mental health and well-being. We investigated whether student perceptions of school connectedness were associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms, even during remote learning due to COVID-19. In June of 2020, after 13 weeks of remote learning, 320 middle and high school students in one Massachusetts school district completed an online survey that included questions about their perceptions of school connectedness, social connectedness, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Students were approximately evenly distributed across grades, with 37% in middle school (grades 6-8) and 63% in high school (grades 9-12). School connectedness had a significant negative association with symptoms of anxiety and depression. This association persisted in models controlling for demographic factors and social connectedness. Findings indicate that school connectedness is associated with student mental health, even in the context of remote learning due to COVID-19. Schools engaged in remote learning should consider how to foster school connectedness as a means of supporting youth mental health, particularly given expected increases in the mental health needs of adolescents.