Students’ Well-Being Fluctuations during COVID-19—A Matter of Grade, State, or Trait? a matter of grade, state, or trait?

Eva Lykkegaard*, Ane Qvortrup, Casper Juul

*Corresponding author for this work

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As part of the large-scale ‘COVID-19, Building Back Better’-project, longitudinal student survey data were collected (n = 774) from four subsequent survey rounds (grade 3–9) in a period with COVID-19 related school closures and re-openings in Denmark (December 2020 to June 2022). Students’ responses to questions related to three well-being dimensions: social, emotional, and academic well-being, were analyzed with factor analysis and latent state-trait analysis to investigate fluctuations in the well-being dimensions across time and the extent to which fluctuations can be attributed to the COVID-19 context (state), individual differences (trait) or simply the natural maturation of students over time (grade). All three well-being dimensions were consistently high (between 3 and 4 out of 5) during the data collection period, however, there was a decrease in emotional well-being and particularly in academic well-being during the period. We show that the size and determinant effects of the fluctuations in the differentiated well-being dimensions differ. Academic well-being generally was the most trait-like dimension, whereas social well-being was more state-like. However, a purposeful analysis of one of the youngest cohorts indicated a critical phase from grade 3–6 corresponding to the time for declines in emotional and academic well-being, where the social well-being shifted from a trait-like to state-like and academic well-being shifted from state-like to trait-like nature. With this in mind, the article discusses how schools can support students’ well-being in the post-pandemic era.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • COVID-19
  • academic well-being
  • emotional well-being
  • explorative analyses
  • factor analysis
  • latent state-trait analysis
  • primary school
  • social well-being
  • survey
  • teaching


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