COVID-19 and Australian school psychology: Qualitative perspectives for enhancing future practice

Andrea Reupert, Daliya Greenfeld, Fiona May, Emily Berger, Zoe A. Morris, Kelly Ann Allen, Dianne Summers, Gerald Wurf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The challenges and changes driven by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the education sector have been linked to high rates of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic symptoms in school-aged populations. Despite this, it is also acknowledged that children and young people can be resilient and adaptable, with the right support in place. In schools, psychologists play an important role in supporting students’ learning, behavior, wellbeing, and mental health. The aim of this study is to investigate the practices of Australian school psychologists during COVID-19 related school closures, focusing on their experiences and challenges and how they adapted their practices. Twelve Australian school psychologists were interviewed and, after member checks were undertaken, interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Six interrelated themes were identified including: (a) heightened student psychological stress, (b) alternative delivery modes and associated challenges, (c) close collaboration with families, (d) participants personal challenges during COVID-19, (e) assessment during COVID-19, and (f) possible long-term practice changes post pandemic. The results of this study have implications for policies to support students in future pandemics or where physical school attendance is disrupted (e.g., natural disasters).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-236
Number of pages18
JournalSchool Psychology International
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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