The effect of COVID-19-related school closures on students’ well-being: Evidence from Danish nationwide panel data

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New research from Denmark suggests that in some respects students’ wellbeing improved during the Spring 2020 lockdown, and that this effect was strongest among students of lower socioeconomic status.

The study used data from the Danish Student Wellbeing Study, which is carried out nationwide on an annual basis. It compared responses from students aged 12-15 who filled in a wellbeing questionnaire during the lockdown with those who filled it in beforehand – a total of 123,500. The research was also able to track responses from previous years.

The study looked at two indicators: whether students liked school, and whether they felt lonely. The results showed students were more likely during lockdown to report liking school; and that school closures had no effect on reported levels of loneliness. The spring lockdown seemed to have a more positive impact among students of lower educated mothers.

However, the researchers concluded that the factors potentially leading to an increase in students’ well-being – such as having more free time – could also lead to learning losses, which tend to be more concentrated among students of lower socioeconomic status.