Distance learning due to COVID-19 lockdown bears heavy on teens, parents
Remote learning due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has placed a heavy burden both on the adolescent students and their parents, a recent study has found. This situation is especially difficult when the student has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
“The start of the COVID-19 pandemic included the near-universal closing of schools. This study describes the remote learning practices, continuation of school services, financial burden to families, and remote learning difficulties in adolescents with and without ADHD when initial stay-at-home orders were in place in the U.S,” the researchers said.
Of a total 238 surveyed adolescent students (aged 15.64–17.99 years; 132 males), 118 had ADHD. Only 59 percent and 53 percent of the adolescents reported engaging in class meetings online or watching recorded videos, respectively.
Notably, 21 percent had not received online or remote learning during the stay-at-home orders, and this was significantly more likely to occur among low-income families (p=0.012). In conjunction, while majority (73 percent) of the families received supporting materials for remote learning, 22 percent said they took a financial burden. This was likewise significantly more common among low-income families (p=0.007). The mean cost was at USD 198 per family.
The burden associated with distance learning was significantly heavier for adolescents with ADHD, who experienced more difficulties than their non-ADHD peers (p<0.001). In turn, their parents had less confidence in managing remote learning (p=0.001).
Regression analysis confirmed that ADHD played an important role in distance learning, moderating the association between the confidence of the parent to manage remote learning and the experienced difficulties of the student (p=0.026). Conversely, better parent confidence significantly eased learning for the child, but more so for those with ADHD.