Three researchers in mental health are conducting a study on the young people of Quebec primary and secondary school in order to know the effects of the pandemic on their psychological health.
Since some students have returned to school in mid-may and that others have not, the results will help us understand the impact of confinement on young students.
“We want to see what [the confinement] was able to change about their attitudes to the school,” explained Julie Leclerc, one of the researchers in charge of the study. Is it that there are students who derive gains from not going to school?”
She mentioned the children who are victims of bullying among those who could have benefited from a distance education. And then, there are those who have anxiety disorders or those who have a fear of public failure. The study will be used to identify the type of students that benefit from distance education.
On the other hand, it is also possible that the containment could worsen situations that are already a concern for some students.
“Several new factors are influencing now the psycho-social health of students,” said Ms. Leclerc. Is it that the student has a quiet place to do homework in the home environment? Is it that a teenager who found a job at the grocery store when the pandemic will want to go back to school in September?”
That said, the school is a second family environment for many young people in Quebec. They spend a lot of time and become attached to them very easily. It may therefore not be able to see their friends and their teachers has probably disrupted their way of life.
“We want that they come to a conclusion themselves about how their life has been turned upside down,” explained the psychologist. This is why the researchers recommend the children to respond to the questionnaire without their parents, with the goal of raising their own opinions.
“I recently heard a student tell me he was bored of going to school,” said Ms. Leclerc. Is it a sense anecdotal or generalized? The study will surely tell us.”
The minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, announced this week that all students will have the obligation to return to the school in person, next September, except for those who “have a medical condition that made it very special”.
However, the purpose of the study is to propose “solutions to give to the government for the new school year in September,” has Julie Leclerc.
Preliminary data from the study should be available towards the end of July. By then, the young quebec students can participate in the online survey at the following web address:
The study is conducted by Ms. Leclerc in collaboration with Geneviève Gariépy, an epidemiologist and a professor under a grant assistant at the School of public health, University of Montreal, and Dr. Marie-France Marin, a professor in the department of psychology at UQAM, for the CIUSSS of the East-of-the-Island-of-Montreal.