Remote Instruction and Student Mental Health: Swedish Evidence from the Pandemic
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (Forthcoming)
When COVID-19 reached Sweden, upper-secondary students (ages 17–19) transitioned to remote instruction, while lower-secondary schools (ages 14–16) remained open. We use this setting as a natural experiment to analyze how modes of instruction affect student mental health. We find a 4.4 percent decrease in mental healthcare use from remote instruction, primarily due to fewer diagnoses and prescriptions for depression and anxiety. The reduction persists throughout the study period; 21 months after the initial closure and 9 months after schools resumed usual operations. This suggests potential mental health benefits from remote instruction, at least in the medium term.