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1.
Front Psychiatry ; 13: 886538, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1952742

ABSTRACT

Background: The mental health of university students is significantly affected when faced with public health emergencies and requires specific interventions to help support and prevent any long-lasting effects that the pandemic may have on their mental health status. This study aims to evaluate the impact of an online individual counseling intervention provided by the University of Foggia and carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health status of a sample of university students. Methods: 32 Italian undergraduate students took part in a one-group pretest-posttest research design. The data was gathered in two times: before the start of the counseling intervention (T1), positive and negative affect, satisfaction with life, global mental distress, anxiety, stress, and future time perspective were collected, at the end of the counseling intervention (T2), the same dimensions were measured. A one-way repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed, and single Bonferroni-corrected dependent t-tests were conducted on variables showing a significant change over time. Results: The results showed that positive affect, subjective well-being, and future time perspective increased significantly after the intervention. In contrast, the participants reported significantly lower levels of negative affect, global mental distress, state and trait anxiety, as well as perceived stress over time. Conclusions: The study demonstrates the promising impact of online counseling intervention and its efficient contribution in promoting the well-being of university students. The results contribute to the ongoing debate concerning the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young adults, helping professionals develop more efficient clinical and psychological interventions.

2.
Children (Basel) ; 9(6)2022 Jun 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1884023

ABSTRACT

Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) are a group of heterogeneous health deficits frequently diagnosed in early childhood that cause difficulties in general intellectual functioning. In the last decades in Italy new laws have been developed to give practical guidelines for the best education plans for children with SLD. BACKGROUND: The aim of our study was to determine the efficacy of the educational treatment on SLD in Primary and Secondary schools in the Italian city of Barletta. We acquired valuable data to evaluate Special Education Needs during COVID-19. METHODS: Our study was conducted from April to June 2021, during the second "lockdown" period in Italy. A fact-finding survey was conducted to schools with a questionnaire provided to the teachers to acquire data on the SEN applied in the management of distance learning for children. RESULTS: The study involved 15 male and 6 female pupils with SLD in Primary Schools and 18 male and 6 female in Secondary Schools. The schools participating in the study organized distance learning programs with a support teacher with a 1:1 ratio. Data showed that all children with SLD needed a support teacher. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this pilot study suggest that distance learning programs are able to achieve adequate educational goals, despite the difficulties of the lockdown period.

3.
Couns Psychother Res ; 2021 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1589161

ABSTRACT

Young people's mental health problems are a matter of concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Counselling services for university students by means of telemental support can help them to deal with psychological issues that they may be facing due to the pandemic. The present study investigated the effects of four once-weekly online counselling sessions based on a mind-body technique (the Brain Wave Modulation Technique; BWM-T) on enhancing positive affect and on reducing negative affect and anxiety in a sample of 54 university students (96.3% females; M age = 21.31 years, SD = 2.09). An experimental design was conducted: the participants were randomly assigned to the intervention group, which received 15 min of a guided online BWM-T session, or to the control group, which watched a 15-min video on how to sustain their psychological well-being. The results of a two-factor mixed-design analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that the participants in the intervention group reported a significant increase in positive affect and a decrease in negative affect over time compared to those in the control group. They also reported a slight decrease in state anxiety compared to the control group, although this was just short of statistical significance. The information provided by this study, regarding emotional outcomes among university students after four brief online counselling sessions, suggests that such interventions could be an effective and sustainable way to reinforce young people's mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as later in their university careers and adult lives.

4.
Healthcare (Basel) ; 9(11)2021 Oct 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533897

ABSTRACT

This study aimed validate the Italian version of the Professional Stress Scale (PSS). A questionnaire was translated into Italian and administered to two sample groups. The first group (n = 200) was the control group and the second (n = 1137) the experimental group. The participants in the study were students enrolled in a special needs training teacher course or a specialization course that aims to train support teachers. The study conducted two analyses; factor and reliability analyses. The factor analysis utilized the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) test which had a result of 0.925 for the scale; this was above the acceptable value of 0.7. The research studied 33 items and the BTS was significant for the 33 items scale (χ2 (528) = 4353.508, p < 0.001). Moreover, five eigenvalues greater than 1 were identified in the data, whereas the total variance explained was 63.7%. The reliability test utilized the Cronbach's Alpha score (0.936) of the scale and the value is calculated based on the response of 1106 individuals. The value is well above the value of 0.80, which indicates a high internal consistency level of the different items of the scale. This study showed that the Italian version of the PSS is a reliable and valid measure that can be used for research and clinical purposes.

5.
Brain Sci ; 11(9)2021 Aug 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374296

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has caused obstacles in continuing normal life almost everywhere in the world by causing the implementation of social distancing and eventually imposing the lockdown. This has become the reason for the increase in technology usage in daily life for professional work as well as for entertainment purposes. There has been an increased prevalence of technology usage in adolescents and children during lockdown leaving its impact on their lives either in a positive or negative aspect. The overall documented percentage increase of technology usage in children was about 15%, of which smartphone usage has 61.7% of prevalence. Disturbance in brain functioning is suggested to be originated by compromise of neuroplasticity of the nerves. The radiofrequency (RF) radiations emitting from the smartphone are of doubtful concern as a brain tumor risk factor in children. The increased usage can have effects on brain functioning that will compromise sleep and cognitive abilities and develop risk for certain mental illnesses including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer's disease, and attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Despite being a threat for developing mental illness, video games are proven to reduce depression and anxiety, and increase creativity, skills, and cognition in children. The increased usage of technology can have a positive and negative impact on the mental development of adolescents and children depending on the trends in the usage. However, parents should be monitoring their children's mental health and behavior in these difficult times of pandemic.

6.
Education Sciences ; 11(7):334, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1323157

ABSTRACT

In this paper, we report the scientific experience of HELMeTO 2020, the second edition of the International Workshop on Higher Education Learning Methodologies and Technologies Online, held virtually in Bari (Italy) in September 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The call received 59 proposals from nine countries, 39 papers were accepted to the virtual workshop and 26 full papers were finally selected to be published in the proceedings. The workshop illustrated a fast-developing scenario in which the epidemic emergency accelerated the dissemination and consolidation of online learning in higher education. A specific focus of the workshop can be identified as students’ learning experience, with studies on tutoring and active learning approaches, personalized solutions supported by data analysis, virtual reality and an in-depth analysis of human–computer interactions.

7.
Computers ; 10(6):75, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1270014

ABSTRACT

The use of digital technology as the only communication and relationship channel in work, school and social contexts is bringing out dynamics that are sometimes in contrast with each other. The purpose of this article is to investigate the impact of digital technology on teachers’ school practices in the context of COVID-19. This impact was studied in relation to the constructs of motivation, perceived stress, sense of self-efficacy and resistance to/acceptance of technologies. This study examined the role played by the massive and coercive use of digital technologies (and the relationship with innovation and change) in predicting motivation and perceived stress among teachers. To this end, the impact of digital technologies on motivation and perceived stress were explored in the sample. A questionnaire consisting of three scales was administered to 688 Italian school teachers of all educational levels (from childhood to upper-secondary school), who completed a socio-demographic section, a section on the scale of the impact of technology and distance learning, a perceived stress scale and items on motivation and professional development. Descriptive and inferential analyses were applied to the data. Key findings indicated that the impact of digital technologies during the pandemic negatively correlates with both perceived stress and motivation. Practical implications were suggested to help teachers develop functional coping styles to cope with technological changes in work and life contexts.

8.
Front Psychol ; 12: 635877, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1259375

ABSTRACT

This study aims to evaluate the effects of an innovative mind-body practice named the brain wave modulation technique (BWM-T) on stress, anxiety, global distress, and affect. The technique was administered online through a web-based video conferencing platform. The intervention started on week four of the first quarantine in Italy (week commencing 30th March 2020), for a duration of 4 weeks and ended before lockdown measures were loosened. 310 people participated in the study, mean age 28.73 years old (SD = 9.16), 77.8% women. Of these, about half were randomly assigned to the experimental group and the other half served as controls. Participants completed online psychological tests before and after the intervention. 266 people (144 experimental, 122 controls) completed the post-intervention tests. Consistent with our hypothesis, the study's findings indicate a reduction in the levels of stress, anxiety, global distress, and negative affect in the experimental group, compared to the control group. Moreover, the experimental group also showed higher levels of positive affect, compared to controls after the intervention. The present findings add to the current literature in suggesting that the BWM-T reduced stress not only when administered face-to face but also when administered online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, we also noted that the BWM-T has an effect on anxiety, global distress, and affect, which we had not investigated in previous studies.

9.
Education Sciences ; 11(4):163, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1167451

ABSTRACT

In the relationship between teachers and distance learning in the context of COIVD-19, a series of unprecedented dynamics have emerged relating to a process of open-air experimentation that is going on in the world of school. The main constructs investigated in this paper concern the professional perceptions of teachers in terms of their skills and resistances towards digital technologies. To investigate this topic, a questionnaire on distance learning was administered to a sample of 658 teachers. From a methodological point of view, factor and reliability analyses and correlation and regression analyses were conducted. From the analysis of the results, it emerged that the questionnaire measures the resistance of teachers to distance learning and focuses on three main dimensions (two positive and one negative) that link teachers’ perceptions to the resistance to distance learning. In conclusion, the theme of the acceptance of technologies in the practice of teachers is still a subject full of meaning for professional perception and vision. A second issue concerns precisely the relationship between digital technologies and users, which must no longer focus only on the relationship with students but also on the perspective of the other training actors, including teachers.

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