The Impact of COVID-19 and Trauma on Student Behavior and Considerations for Strategies for Educator to Support Students

Linda Beth Sheriff


COVID-19 has been difficult on children, and there has been an increase in anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems in schools. This article summarizes the recent literature on the effects of the pandemic on the mental and behavioral health of children and provides an overview of the root causes of the behaviors that may be exhibited by students. The impact of trauma and health on learning are well documented and supported by brain science. Schools are in a position to buffer and support students so that the negative effects of trauma can be mitigated. Recommendations on strategies that schools can take to support students are also included.


COVID-19; student mental health; social and emotional learning; trauma

Full Text:



Allensworth, E.M., Hart, H. (2018). How Do Principals Influence Student Achievement? University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.–10/Leadership%20Snapshot-Mar2018-Consortium.pdf (access: 12.04.2022).

Basch, C.E. (2011). Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in School Reforms to Close the Achievement Gap. Journal of School Health, 81(10), 593–598. doi:10.1111/j.1746–1561.2011.00632.x

Belsha, K. (2021, September 27). Stress and Short Tempers: Schools Struggle with Behavior as Students Return. Chalkbeat. (access: 12.04.2022).

Berkowitz, R., Moore, H., Astor, R.A., Benbenishty, R. (2017). A Research Synthesis of the Associations Between Socioeconomic Background, Inequality, School Climate, and Academic Achievement. Review of Educational Research, 87(2), 425–469. doi:10.3102/0034654316669821

Bethell, C.D., Newacheck, P., Hawes, E., Halfon, N. (2014). Adverse Childhood Experiences: Assessing the Impact on Health and School Engagement and the Mitigating Role of Resilience. Health Affairs, 33(12), 2106–2115. doi:10.1377/hlthaff2014.0914

Blad, E. (2022, February 24). Educators See Gaps in Kids’ Emotional Growth Due to Pandemic. Education Week. (access: 12.04.2022).

Cantor, P., Osher, D., Berg, J., Steyer, L., Rose, T. (2019). Malleability, Plasticity, and Individuality: How Children Learn and Develop in Context. Applied Developmental Science, 23(4), 307–337. doi:10.1080/10888691.2017.1398649

Darling-Hammond, L., Cook-Harvey, C.M. (2018). Educating the Whole Child: Improving School Climate to Support Student Success (p. 81). Learning Policy Institute. (access: 3.05.2022).

Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., Osher, D. (2019). Implications for Educational Practice of the Science of Learning and Development. Applied Developmental Science, 1–44. doi:10.1080/10888691.2018.1537791

Hafstad, G.S., Augusti, E.-M. (2021). A Lost Generation? COVID-19 and Adolescent Mental Health. The Lancet Psychiatry, 8(8), 640–641. doi:10.1016/S2215–0366(21)00179–6

Hattie, J., Zierer, K. (2019). Visible Learning Insights. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Hirn, R.G., Hollo, A., Scott, T.M. (2018). Exploring Instructional Differences and School Performance in High-Poverty Elementary Schools. Preventing School Failure, 62(1), 37–48.

Kolbe, L.J. (2019). School Health as a Strategy to Improve Both Public Health and Education. Annual Review of Public Health, 40(1), 443–463. doi:10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040218–043727

Michael, S.L., Merlo, C.L., Basch, C.E., Wentzel, K.R., Wechsler, H. (2015). Critical Connections: Health and Academics. The Journal of School Health, 85(11), 740–758. doi:10.1111/josh.12309

Minkos, M.L., Gelbar, N.W. (2021). Considerations for Educators in Supporting Student Learning in the Midst of COVID-19. Psychology in the Schools, 58(2), 416–426. doi:10.1002/pits.22454

Naff D., Williams, S., Furman-Darby, J., Yeung, M. (2022). Th Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 on PK–12 Students: A Systematic Review of Emerging Literature. AERA Open, 8. doi:10.1177/23328584221084722

National School Climate Center. (n.d.). The 13 Dimensions of School Climate Measured by the CSCI. (access: 27.05.2020).

Osher, D., Cantor, P., Berg, J., Steyer, L., Rose, T. (2020). Drivers of Human Development: How Relationships and Context Shape Learning and Development. Applied Developmental Science, 24(1), 6–36. doi:10.1080/10888691.2017.1398650

Plumb, J.L., Bush, K.A., Kersevich, S.E. (2016). Trauma-Sensitive Schools: An Evidence-Based Approach. School Social Work Journal, 40(2), 25.

Sacks, V., Murphey, D., Moore, K. (2014). Adverse Childhood Experiences. Bethesda, MD.

Sun, J., Singletary, B., Jiang, H., Justice, L. M., Lin, T.-J., Purtell, K.M. (2022). Child Behavior Problems During COVID-19: Associations with Parent Distress and Child Social-Emotional Skills. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 78, 101375. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2021.101375

Viner, R., Russell, S., Saulle, R., Croker, H., Stansfild, C., Packer, J., Nicholls, D., Goddings, A.-L., Bonell, C., Hudson, L., Hope, S., Ward, J., Schwalbe, N., Morgan, A., Minozzi, S. (2022). School Closures During Social Lockdown and Mental Health, Health Behaviors, and Well-Being among Children and Adolescents During the First COVID-19 Wave: A Systematic Review. JAMA Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.5840

World Health Organization. (2011). Education: Shared Interests in Well-Being and Development (Social Determinants of Health Sectoral Briefig Series 2). World Health Organization. (access: 15.03.2022).

Data publikacji: 2022-11-04 07:44:21
Data złożenia artykułu: 2022-05-31 22:07:36


Total abstract view - 267
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 149



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Linda Beth Sheriff

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.