December 1, 2022

College course delivery model linked to psychological distress during COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston, finds that college students whose classes were offered entirely online during the COVID-19 pandemic had increased psychological distress, compared with those attending a mix of in-person  and online classes.

Of 59,250 full-time undergraduate college students analyzed, 3.5% attended fully in-person classes, 61.2% attended fully online classes, and 35.3% attended a mix of in-person and online classes.

Students attending fully online classes reported higher levels of psychological distress than those attending a mix of in-person and online classes. This association remained significant after controlling for geographic region, year in school, gender, race and ethnicity, food security, current anxiety and/or depressive disorders, COVID-19 concerns, residence, and time spent socializing with friends.

The findings suggest that educational institutions and policy makers should weigh the risks and benefits when making determinations on school settings and transitions to online classes, the researchers say.

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