2020 Student Resilience Survey: Preliminary Findings and Recommendations

July 2020

Executive Summary

Well-being is at the heart of the students' ability to achieve and to become healthy, well-adjusted members of society. Current challenges to student well-being and resilience include persistent trends of increasing depression and anxiety among adolescents. Students attending high-achieving schools, those where pressures to achieve and excel are intense and constant, have higher instances of anxiety, depression, and substance use than do their peers in the general population. On top of this, students everywhere face additional and uniquely challenging circumstances amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In association with Authentic Connections (AC), a team of leading scientists, clinicians, and consultants committed to measuring, tracking, and improving student well-being and resilience, NAIS offers the Survey of Student Resilience (SRS) to members. The SRS combines quantitative and qualitative methods to determine levels of well-being, as well as prevalence of protective factors, such as caring relationships with adults, in the school. In the most recent administration, Authentic Connections surveyed 15,331 students in grades 6-12 from 54 independent and public schools throughout the United States. All assessments were administered after schools had moved to distance learning because of COVID-19.

Students in the Spring 2020 SRS reported rates of depression and anxiety that warrant attention. Across all schools, the percentage of students in each grade reporting clinically significant symptoms of depression ranged from 3.9 percent to 6.6 percent. Rates of anxiety ranged from 4 percent o 7.5 percent. Analysis conducted by Authentic Connections has identified predictors for depression and anxiety, and this report presents actionable recommendations regarding school practices and policies that can address student concerns, needs, and suggestions.


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