Trending Topic Research: Mental Health
Trending Topic Research: Mental Health
Mental Health

Trending Topic Research File

The turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence, and the intrusion of political partisanship into school and university governance have all contributed to the growing mental health crisis affecting students and educators.

The following compendium of open-access articles are inclusive of all substantive AERA journal content regarding mental health published since 2017. This page will be updated as new articles are published. 

AERA Journal Articles

Note: Articles are listed below in reverse chronological order of publication. 

Exposure to Adversity and Trauma Among Students Who Experience School Discipline: A Scoping Review
Jane Sanders, Andrea Joseph-McCatty, Michael Massey, Emma Swiatek, Ben Csiernik, Elo Igor
Review of Educational Research, October 2023
Researchers found that a burgeoning body of knowledge points to a significant relationship between trauma/adversity and experiencing school discipline that warrants further study and contextualizes expanded adversities, including poverty and racism as adversity.

Teacher Self-Care Mandates as Institutional Gaslighting in a Neoliberal System
Alyssa Hadley Dunn
Educational Researcher, July 2023
This article argues that narratives of self-care for educators in the midst of pandemic teaching are a form of gaslighting, supported and exacerbated by a neoliberal school system that reinforces individualist, White-normed conceptions of teaching and learning.

The Right to Belong in School: A Critical, Transdisciplinary Conceptualization of School Belonging
Paul J. Kuttner
AERA Open, July 2023
Researchers explore six aspects of belonging that are underemphasized in the school belonging literature, arguing that we should think of school belonging as agentic, intersectional, systemic, political, place-based, and a right.

Educators Are Not Alright: Mental Health During COVID-19
Matthew J. Hirshberg, Richard J. Davidson, Simon B. Goldberg
Educational Researcher, January 2023
Researchers found that most participants reported clinically meaningful anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Teachers’ Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joseph M. Kush, Elena Badillo-Goicoechea, Rashelle J. Musci, Elizabeth A. Stuart
Educational Researcher, November 2022
Researchers found that teachers reported a greater prevalence of anxiety symptoms than did those in other professions and that remote teachers reported significantly higher levels of distress than did those teaching in person.

Risk and Protective Factors of College Students’ Psychological Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Emotional Stability, Mental Health, and Household Resources
Julia Moeller, Luise von Keyserlingk, Marion Spengler, Hanna Gaspard, Hye Rin Lee, Katsumi Yamaguchi-Pedroza, Renzhe Yu, Christian Fischer, Richard Arum
AERA Open, March 2022.
Researchers found that was only little change in students’ emotions from before to after the onset of the pandemic.

When the Kids Are Not Alright: School Counseling in the Time of COVID-19
Mandy Savitz-Romer, Heather T. Rowan-Kenyon, Tara P. Nicola, Emily Alexander, Stephanie Carroll
AERA Open, July 2021.
Researchers found that there should be a concerted effort to reduce the role ambiguity and conflict in counselors’ roles so they are better able to meet students’ increased needs.

Students Attending School Remotely Suffer Socially, Emotionally, and Academically
Angela L. Duckworth, Tim Kautz, Amy Defnet, Emma Satlof-Bedrick, Sean Talamas, Benjamin Lira, Laurence Steinberg
​Educational Researcher, July 2021.
Researchers addressed the social, emotional, and academic impact of attending school remotely rather than in person, using survey data collected from N = 6,576 high school students in a large, diverse school district that allowed families to choose either format in fall 2020. 

Higher Education in Times of COVID-19: University Students’ Basic Need Satisfaction, Self-Regulated Learning, and Well-Being
Julia Holzer, Marko Lüftenegger, Selma Korlat, Elisabeth Pelikan, Katariina Salmela-Aro, Christiane Spiel, Barbara Schober
AERA Open, March 2021.
Researchers highlighted the relevance of perceived competence, autonomy and self-regulated learning for university students’ well-being in times of unplanned and involuntary remote studying. The results also indicate a potential relevance of relatedness for intrinsic learning motivation.

COVID-19 and Teachers’ Somatic Burden, Stress, and Emotional Exhaustion: Examining the Role of Principal Leadership and Workplace Buoyancy
Rebecca J. Collie
AERA Open, January 2021.
Researchers found that autonomy-supportive leadership was associated with greater buoyancy and, in turn, lower somatic burden, stress related to change, and emotional exhaustion (while controlling for covariates, including COVID-19 work situation).

Immigration Status and College Students’ Psychosocial Well-Being
Germán A. Cadenas, H. Kenny Nienhusser
​Educational Researcher, September 2020.
Researchers examined differences in psychosocial well-being between college students with abject immigration status (i.e., undocumented, other temporary documentation), students with permanent status (i.e., U.S. citizenship, permanent residency), and students with visas using a set of one-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs). 

College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A National Perspective
Maithreyi Gopalan, Shannon T. Brady
​Educational Researcher​, December 2019.
Researchers found that, in a nationally representative sample, first-year U.S. college students “somewhat agree,” on average, that they feel like they belong at their school. However, belonging varies by key institutional and student characteristics; of note, racial-ethnic minority and first-generation students report lower belonging than peers at 4-year schools, while the opposite is true at 2-year schools. 

Positive Mental Health and Academic Achievement in Elementary School: New Evidence From a Matching Analysis
Meredith O’Connor, Dan Cloney, Amanda Kvalsvig, Sharon Goldfeld
Educational Researcher, May 2019.
Researchers examined the relationship between positive mental health at school entry and academic achievement at Grade 3, drawing on a representative sample of Australian children with linkage to results of standardized academic testing. 

Juggling With Both Hands Tied Behind My Back: Teachers’ Views and Experiences of the Tensions Between Student Well-Being Concerns and Academic Performance Improvement Agendas
Alison Willis, Mervyn Hyde, Ali Black
American Educational Research Journal, May 2019.
Researchers found that although teachers value student well-being initiatives, they are experiencing very real tensions dealing with student mental health concerns and performance targets, which is complicated by a lack of confidence in the efficacy of well-being programs in schools.

A Meta-Analysis of Family-School Interventions and Children’s Social-Emotional Functioning: Moderators and Components of Efficacy
Susan M. Sheridan, Tyler E. Smith, Elizabeth Moorman Kim, S. Natasha Beretvas, Sunyoung Park
​Review of Educational Research, January 2019
This meta-analysis examined the effects of family-school interventions on children’s social-behavioral competence and mental health. 

The Psychological and Academic Costs of School-Based Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions
Micere Keels, Myles Durkee, Elan Hope
American Educational Research Journal, September 2017.
Researchers found that students’ exposure to microaggressions and its effects were conditional on individual and school characteristics.

A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Interventions Aimed to Prevent or Reduce Violence in Teen Dating Relationships
Lisa De La Rue, Joshua R. Polanin, Dorothy L. Espelage, Terri D. Pigott
​Review of Educational Research, February 2017.
This review is the first to provide a quantitative synthesis of empirical evaluations of school-based programs implemented in middle and high schools that sought to prevent or reduce incidents of dating violence.