Social Determinants of Health and Distance Learning in Italy in the Era of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic

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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 9;19(9):5741. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095741.


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the experiences by distance learning (DL) method during the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Italy, and to search for correlations with purported experiences and respective levels of social determinants of health (SDH).

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Cross-sectional online survey, investigating various SDH and parents’ attitude towards DL, proposed 6 months after the beginning of the pandemic to a sample population of parents with school-aged children throughout Italy.

RESULTS: A total of 3791 questionnaires were analyzed. Non-Italian parents complained more frequently of difficulties in providing support to their children in DL due to poor digital skills (p = 0.01), lack of good-quality digital equipment (p = 0.01), problems with the Italian language (p < 0.001), and a lower level of education (p < 0.001). When parents lived apart, greater difficulties in concentration in children using DL (p = 0.05) and a lower parental capacity to support DL (p = 0.002) were reported. Adequate digital structures appeared related to living in owned compared to rented property, higher levels of parental education, and better familial financial situations.

CONCLUSIONS: Students from families with financial difficulties and low levels of parental education, or even those living in houses for rent or having separated parents, may be disadvantaged in an educational context since the introduction of DL.

PMID:35565136 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph19095741