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Health Hazards of Homework

March 18, 2014 | Julie Greicius Pediatrics .

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A new study by the Stanford Graduate School of Education and colleagues found that students in high-performing schools who did excessive hours of homework “experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.”

Those health problems ranged from stress, headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems, to psycho-social effects like dropping activities, not seeing friends or family, and not pursuing hobbies they enjoy.

In the Stanford Report story about the research, Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of the  study published in the  Journal of Experimental Education , says, “Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good.”

The study was based on survey data from a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in California communities in which median household income exceeded $90,000. Of the students surveyed, homework volume averaged about 3.1 hours each night.

“It is time to re-evaluate how the school environment is preparing our high school student for today’s workplace,” says Neville Golden, MD , chief of adolescent medicine at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health and a professor at the School of Medicine. “This landmark study shows that excessive homework is counterproductive, leading to sleep deprivation, school stress and other health problems. Parents can best support their children in these demanding academic environments by advocating for them through direct communication with teachers and school administrators about homework load.”

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Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

A Stanford researcher found that students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance and even alienation from society. More than two hours of homework a night may be counterproductive, according to the study.

Denise Pope

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .

The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.

Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.

Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.

“The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being,” Pope wrote.

Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.

Their study found that too much homework is associated with:

• Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.

• Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.

• Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,” according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.

A balancing act

The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.

Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as “pointless” or “mindless” in order to keep their grades up.

“This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points,” Pope said.

She said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development,” wrote Pope.

High-performing paradox

In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. “Young people are spending more time alone,” they wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.”

Student perspectives

The researchers say that while their open-ended or “self-reporting” methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for “typical adolescent complaining” – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.

The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

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More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research suggests.

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative impacts on student well-being and behavioral engagement (Shutterstock)

A Stanford education researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.   "Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good," wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .   The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students' views on homework.   Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.   Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.   "The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students' advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being," Pope wrote.   Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.   Their study found that too much homework is associated with:   • Greater stress : 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.   • Reductions in health : In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.   • Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits : Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were "not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills," according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.   A balancing act   The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.   Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as "pointless" or "mindless" in order to keep their grades up.   "This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points," said Pope, who is also a co-founder of Challenge Success , a nonprofit organization affiliated with the GSE that conducts research and works with schools and parents to improve students' educational experiences..   Pope said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.   "Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development," wrote Pope.   High-performing paradox   In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. "Young people are spending more time alone," they wrote, "which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities."   Student perspectives   The researchers say that while their open-ended or "self-reporting" methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for "typical adolescent complaining" – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.   The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

Clifton B. Parker is a writer at the Stanford News Service .

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Opinion | Social-Emotional Learning

If we’re serious about student well-being, we must change the systems students learn in, here are five steps high schools can take to support students' mental health., by tim klein and belle liang     oct 14, 2022.

If We’re Serious About Student Well-Being, We Must Change the Systems Students Learn In

Shutterstock / SvetaZi

Educators and parents started this school year with bated breath. Last year’s stress led to record levels of teacher burnout and mental health challenges for students.

Even before the pandemic, a mental health crisis among high schoolers loomed. According to a survey administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019, 37 percent of high school students said they experienced persistent sadness or hopelessness and 19 percent reported suicidality. In response, more than half of all U.S. states mandated that schools have a mental health curriculum or include mental health in their standards .

As mental health professionals and co-authors of a book about the pressure and stress facing high school students, we’ve spent our entire careers supporting students’ mental health. Traditionally, mental health interventions are individualized and they focus on helping students manage and change their behaviors to cope with challenges they’re facing. But while working with schools and colleges across the globe as we conducted research for our book , we realized that most interventions don’t address systemic issues causing mental health problems in the first place.

It’s time we acknowledge that our education systems are directly contributing to the youth mental health crisis. And if we are serious about student well-being, we must change the systems they learn in.

Here are five bold steps that high schools can take to boost mental health.

Limit Homework or Make it Optional

Imagine applying for a job, and the hiring manager informs you that in addition to a full workday in the office, you’ll be assigned three more hours of work every night. Does this sound like a healthy work-life balance? Most adults would consider this expectation ridiculous and unsustainable. Yet, this is the workload most schools place on high school students.

Research shows that excessive homework leads to increased stress, physical health problems and a lack of balance in students' lives. And studies have shown that more than two hours of daily homework can be counterproductive , yet many teachers assign more.

Homework proponents argue that homework improves academic performance. Indeed, a meta-analysis of research on this issue found a correlation between homework and achievement. But correlation isn’t causation. Does homework cause achievement or do high achievers do more homework? While it’s likely that homework completion signals student engagement, which in turn leads to academic achievement, there’s little evidence to suggest that homework itself improves engagement in learning.

Another common argument is that homework helps students develop skills related to problem-solving, time-management and self-direction. But these skills can be explicitly taught during the school day rather than after school.

Limiting homework or moving to an optional homework policy not only supports student well-being, but it can also create a more equitable learning environment. According to the American Psychological Association, students from more affluent families are more likely to have access to resources such as devices, internet, dedicated work space and the support necessary to complete their work successfully—and homework can highlight those inequities .

Whether a school limits homework or makes it optional, it’s critical to remember that more important than the amount of homework assigned, is designing the type of activities that engage students in learning. When students are intrinsically motivated to do their homework, they are more engaged in the work, which in turn is associated with academic achievement.

Cap the Number of APs Students Can Take

Advanced Placement courses give students a taste of college-level work and, in theory, allow them to earn college credits early. Getting good grades on AP exams is associated with higher GPAs in high school and success in college, but the research tends to be correlational rather than causational.

In 2008, a little over 180,000 students took three or more AP exams. By 2018, that number had ballooned to almost 350,000 students .

However, this expansion has come at the expense of student well-being.

Over the years, we’ve heard many students express that they feel pressure to take as many AP classes as possible, which overloads them with work. That’s troubling because studies show that students who take AP classes and exams are twice as likely to report adverse physical and emotional health .

AP courses and exams also raise complex issues of equity. In 2019, two out of three Harvard freshmen reported taking AP Calculus in high school, according to Jeff Selingo, author of “ Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions ,” yet only half of all high schools in the country offer the course. And opportunity gaps exist for advanced coursework such as AP courses and dual enrollment, with inequitable distribution of funding and support impacting which students are enrolling and experiencing success. According to the Center for American Progress, “National data from the Civil Rights Data Collection show that students who are Black, Indigenous, and other non-Black people of color (BIPOC) are not enrolled in AP courses at rates comparable to their white and Asian peers and experience less success when they are—and the analysis for this report finds this to be true even when they attend schools with similar levels of AP course availability.”

Limiting the number of AP courses students take can protect mental health and create a more equitable experience for students.

Eliminate Class Rankings

In a study we conducted about mental health problems among high school girls, we found that a primary driver of stress was their perception of school as a hypercompetitive, zero-sum game where pervasive peer pressure to perform reigns supreme.

Class rankings fuel these cutthroat environments. They send a toxic message to young people: success requires doing better than your peers.

Ranking systems help highly selective colleges decide which students to admit or reject for admission. The purpose of high school is to develop students to their own full potential, rather than causing them to fixate on measuring up to others. Research shows that ranking systems undercut students’ learning and damage social relationships by turning peers into opponents.

Eliminating class rankings sends a powerful message to students that they are more than a number.

Become an Admission Test Objector

COVID-19 ushered in the era of test-optional admissions. De-centering standardized tests in the college application process is unequivocally a good thing. Standardized tests don’t predict student success in college , they only widen the achievement gap between privileged and underprivileged students and damage students' mental health .

Going “test optional” is an excellent first step, but it's not enough.

Even as more colleges have made tests optional, affluent students submit test scores at a higher rate than their lower-income peers and are admitted at higher rates , suggesting that testing still gives them an edge.

High schools must adhere to standardized test mandates, but they don’t have to endorse them. They can become test objectors by publicly proclaiming that these tests hold no inherent value. They can stop teaching to the test and educate parents on why they are doing so. Counseling departments can inform colleges that their school is a test objector so admission teams won’t penalize students.

Of course, students and families will still find ways to wield these tests as a competitive advantage. Over time, the more schools and educators unite to denounce these tests, the less power they will hold over students and families.

Big change starts with small steps.

Stand For What You Value

Critics may argue that such policies might hurt student outcomes. How will colleges evaluate school rigor if we limit AP courses and homework? How will students demonstrate their merits without class rankings and standardized test scores?

The truth is, the best school systems in the world succeed without homework, standardized test scores or an obsession with rigorous courses. And many U.S. schools have found creative and empowering ways to showcase student merit beyond rankings and test scores.

If we aren’t willing to change policies and practices that have been shown to harm students’ well-being, we have to ask ourselves: Do we really value mental health?

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario: We can design school systems that help students thrive academically and psychologically.

Belle Liang and Tim Klein are mental health professionals and co-authors of “How To Navigate Life: The New Science of Finding Your Way in School, Career and Life.”

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Is Homework Necessary? Education Inequity and Its Impact on Students

homework negative effects on mental health

The Problem with Homework: It Highlights Inequalities

How much homework is too much homework, when does homework actually help, negative effects of homework for students, how teachers can help.

Schools are getting rid of homework from Essex, Mass., to Los Angeles, Calif. Although the no-homework trend may sound alarming, especially to parents dreaming of their child’s acceptance to Harvard, Stanford or Yale, there is mounting evidence that eliminating homework in grade school may actually have great benefits , especially with regard to educational equity.

In fact, while the push to eliminate homework may come as a surprise to many adults, the debate is not new . Parents and educators have been talking about this subject for the last century, so that the educational pendulum continues to swing back and forth between the need for homework and the need to eliminate homework.

One of the most pressing talking points around homework is how it disproportionately affects students from less affluent families. The American Psychological Association (APA) explained:

“Kids from wealthier homes are more likely to have resources such as computers, internet connections, dedicated areas to do schoolwork and parents who tend to be more educated and more available to help them with tricky assignments. Kids from disadvantaged homes are more likely to work at afterschool jobs, or to be home without supervision in the evenings while their parents work multiple jobs.”

[RELATED] How to Advance Your Career: A Guide for Educators >> 

While students growing up in more affluent areas are likely playing sports, participating in other recreational activities after school, or receiving additional tutoring, children in disadvantaged areas are more likely headed to work after school, taking care of siblings while their parents work or dealing with an unstable home life. Adding homework into the mix is one more thing to deal with — and if the student is struggling, the task of completing homework can be too much to consider at the end of an already long school day.

While all students may groan at the mention of homework, it may be more than just a nuisance for poor and disadvantaged children, instead becoming another burden to carry and contend with.

Beyond the logistical issues, homework can negatively impact physical health and stress — and once again this may be a more significant problem among economically disadvantaged youth who typically already have a higher stress level than peers from more financially stable families .

Yet, today, it is not just the disadvantaged who suffer from the stressors that homework inflicts. A 2014 CNN article, “Is Homework Making Your Child Sick?” , covered the issue of extreme pressure placed on children of the affluent. The article looked at the results of a study surveying more than 4,300 students from 10 high-performing public and private high schools in upper-middle-class California communities.

“Their findings were troubling: Research showed that excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems and lack of balance in children’s lives; 56% of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives,” according to the CNN story. “That children growing up in poverty are at-risk for a number of ailments is both intuitive and well-supported by research. More difficult to believe is the growing consensus that children on the other end of the spectrum, children raised in affluence, may also be at risk.”

When it comes to health and stress it is clear that excessive homework, for children at both ends of the spectrum, can be damaging. Which begs the question, how much homework is too much?

The National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association recommend that students spend 10 minutes per grade level per night on homework . That means that first graders should spend 10 minutes on homework, second graders 20 minutes and so on. But a study published by The American Journal of Family Therapy found that students are getting much more than that.

While 10 minutes per day doesn’t sound like much, that quickly adds up to an hour per night by sixth grade. The National Center for Education Statistics found that high school students get an average of 6.8 hours of homework per week, a figure that is much too high according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is also to be noted that this figure does not take into consideration the needs of underprivileged student populations.

In a study conducted by the OECD it was found that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance .” That means that by asking our children to put in an hour or more per day of dedicated homework time, we are not only not helping them, but — according to the aforementioned studies — we are hurting them, both physically and emotionally.

What’s more is that homework is, as the name implies, to be completed at home, after a full day of learning that is typically six to seven hours long with breaks and lunch included. However, a study by the APA on how people develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work for about only four hours per day. Similarly, companies like Tower Paddle Boards are experimenting with a five-hour workday, under the assumption that people are not able to be truly productive for much longer than that. CEO Stephan Aarstol told CNBC that he believes most Americans only get about two to three hours of work done in an eight-hour day.

In the scope of world history, homework is a fairly new construct in the U.S. Students of all ages have been receiving work to complete at home for centuries, but it was educational reformer Horace Mann who first brought the concept to America from Prussia. 

Since then, homework’s popularity has ebbed and flowed in the court of public opinion. In the 1930s, it was considered child labor (as, ironically, it compromised children’s ability to do chores at home). Then, in the 1950s, implementing mandatory homework was hailed as a way to ensure America’s youth were always one step ahead of Soviet children during the Cold War. Homework was formally mandated as a tool for boosting educational quality in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Education, and has remained in common practice ever since.  

School work assigned and completed outside of school hours is not without its benefits. Numerous studies have shown that regular homework has a hand in improving student performance and connecting students to their learning. When reviewing these studies, take them with a grain of salt; there are strong arguments for both sides, and only you will know which solution is best for your students or school. 

Homework improves student achievement.

  • Source: The High School Journal, “ When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math ,” 2012. 
  • Source: IZA.org, “ Does High School Homework Increase Academic Achievement? ,” 2014. **Note: Study sample comprised only high school boys. 

Homework helps reinforce classroom learning.

  • Source: “ Debunk This: People Remember 10 Percent of What They Read ,” 2015.

Homework helps students develop good study habits and life skills.

  • Sources: The Repository @ St. Cloud State, “ Types of Homework and Their Effect on Student Achievement ,” 2017; Journal of Advanced Academics, “ Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework ,” 2011.
  • Source: Journal of Advanced Academics, “ Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework ,” 2011.

Homework allows parents to be involved with their children’s learning.

  • Parents can see what their children are learning and working on in school every day. 
  • Parents can participate in their children’s learning by guiding them through homework assignments and reinforcing positive study and research habits.
  • Homework observation and participation can help parents understand their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses, and even identify possible learning difficulties.
  • Source: Phys.org, “ Sociologist Upends Notions about Parental Help with Homework ,” 2018.

While some amount of homework may help students connect to their learning and enhance their in-class performance, too much homework can have damaging effects. 

Students with too much homework have elevated stress levels. 

  • Source: USA Today, “ Is It Time to Get Rid of Homework? Mental Health Experts Weigh In ,” 2021.
  • Source: Stanford University, “ Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework ,” 2014.

Students with too much homework may be tempted to cheat. 

  • Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, “ High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame ,” 2010.
  • Source: The American Journal of Family Therapy, “ Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background ,” 2015.

Homework highlights digital inequity. 

  • Sources: NEAToday.org, “ The Homework Gap: The ‘Cruelest Part of the Digital Divide’ ,” 2016; CNET.com, “ The Digital Divide Has Left Millions of School Kids Behind ,” 2021.
  • Source: Investopedia, “ Digital Divide ,” 2022; International Journal of Education and Social Science, “ Getting the Homework Done: Social Class and Parents’ Relationship to Homework ,” 2015.
  • Source: World Economic Forum, “ COVID-19 exposed the digital divide. Here’s how we can close it ,” 2021.

Homework does not help younger students.

  • Source: Review of Educational Research, “ Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Researcher, 1987-2003 ,” 2006.

To help students find the right balance and succeed, teachers and educators must start the homework conversation, both internally at their school and with parents. But in order to successfully advocate on behalf of students, teachers must be well educated on the subject, fully understanding the research and the outcomes that can be achieved by eliminating or reducing the homework burden. There is a plethora of research and writing on the subject for those interested in self-study.

For teachers looking for a more in-depth approach or for educators with a keen interest in educational equity, formal education may be the best route. If this latter option sounds appealing, there are now many reputable schools offering online master of education degree programs to help educators balance the demands of work and family life while furthering their education in the quest to help others.

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How does homework affect students.

Posted by Kenny Gill

Homework is essential in the learning process of all students. It benefits them in managing time, being organized, and thinking beyond the classroom work. When students develop good habits towards homework, they enjoy good grades. The amount of homework given to students has risen by 51 percent. In most cases, this pushes them to order for custom essays online. A lot of homework can be overwhelming, affecting students in negative ways.

How homework affects the psyche of students Homework plays a crucial role in ensuring students succeeds both inside and outside the classroom. The numerous hours they spend in class, on school work, and away from family and friends lead to them experiencing exhaustion. Too much homework leads to students becoming disheartened by the school, and it chips away at their motivation for succeeding.

As a result, homework becomes an uphill battle, which they feel they will never win despite putting an effort. When they continue to find homework difficult, they consider other ways of working on it, such as cheating.

Getting enough time to relax, engage with friends and family members helps the students to have fun, thus, raising their spirit and their psyche on school work.  However, when homework exceeds, it affects their emotional well-being making them sad and unproductive students who would rather cheat their way through school.

How does homework affect students?

As a result, they have to struggle with a lack of enough sleep, loss of weight, stomach problems, headaches, and fatigue. Poor eating habits where students rely on fast foods also occasions as they struggle to complete all their assignments. When combined with lack of physical activity, the students suffer from obesity and other health-related conditions. Also, they experience depression and anxiety. The pressure to attend all classes, finish the much homework, as well as have time to make social connections cripples them.

How can parents help with homework? Being an active parent in the life of your child goes a long way towards promoting the health and well-being of children. Participating in their process of doing homework helps you identify if your child is facing challenges, and provide the much-needed support.

The first step is identifying the problem your child has by establishing whether their homework is too much. In elementary school, students should not spend over twenty minutes on homework while in high school they should spend an average of two hours. If it exceeds these guidelines, then you know that the homework is too much and you need to talk with the teachers.

The other step is ensuring your child focuses on their work by eliminating distractions. Texting with friends, watching videos, and playing video games can distract your child. Next, help them create a homework routine by having a designated area for studying and organizing their time for each activity.

Why it is better to do homework with friends Extracurricular activities such as sports and volunteer work that students engage in are vital. The events allow them to refresh their minds, catch up, and share with friends, and sharpen their communication skills. Homework is better done with friends as it helps them get these benefits. Through working together, interacting, and sharing with friends, their stress reduces.

Working on assignments with friends relaxes the students. It ensures they have the help they need when tackling the work, making even too much homework bearable. Also, it develops their communication skills. Deterioration of communication skills is a prominent reason as to why homework is bad. Too much of it keeps one away from classmates and friends, making it difficult for one to communicate with other people.

Working on homework with friends, however, ensures one learns how to express themselves and solve issues, making one an excellent communicator.

How does a lot of homework affect students’ performance? Burnout is a negative effect of homework. After spending the entire day learning, having to spend more hours doing too much homework lead to burnout. When it occurs, students begin dragging their feet when it comes to working on assignments and in some cases, fail to complete them. Therefore, they end up getting poor grades, which affects their overall performance.

Excessive homework also overshadows active learning, which is essential in the learning process. It encourages active participation of students in analyzing and applying what they learn in class in the real world. As a result, this limits the involvement of parents in the process of learning and children collaboration with friends. Instead, it causes boredom, difficulties for the students to work alongside others, and lack of skills in solving problems.

Should students have homework? Well, this is the question many parents and students ask when they consider these adverse effects of homework. Homework is vital in the learning process of any student. However, in most cases, it has crossed the line from being a tool for learning and becomes a source of suffering for students. With such effects, a balance is necessary to help students learn, remain healthy, and be all rounded individuals in society.

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Great info and really valuable for teachers and tutors. This is a really very wonderful post. I really appreciate it; this post is very helpful for education.

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Workload and Mental Well-Being of Homeworkers

In a non-pandemic setting, this study in homeworkers helps to identify the mechanisms by which employees' workload affects their mental well-being. The results show that work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and work engagement are key variables that make the effects of workload involved in reducing the homeworkers' well-being.

Based on the Conservation of Resources theory, this cross-sectional study investigates the relationship between workload experienced by employees when working at home and their mental well-being. Work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and work engagement are proposed as mediators.

A sample of 11,501 homeworkers was drawn from the sixth wave of the European Working Condition Survey data set.

Unlike the expected, the higher the workload, the higher the mental well-being of employees. However, as expected, high workload was correlated with lower well-being when indirect effects through work-family conflict, sleep problems, and work engagement were considered. Similarly, the total effect of workload on mental well-being was negative.

Conclusions

The study suggests that organizations should pay more attention to the amount of workload experienced by their homeworkers because it may be harmful to their health and well-being.

The percentage of employees working at home has risen over recent decades. 1 This way of working is called homeworking or, sometimes with slight conceptual differences, home-based teleworking. For reasons related to the COVID-19 emergency, it has been exponentially adopted in many organizations.

Scientific literature has identified several advantages of homeworking, such as homeworkers’ greater autonomy, increased job satisfaction and flexibility to deal with work-family demands, and limited traveling and time and cost savings for both organizations and workers. 2 However, in addition to benefits, literature identified social isolation, technostress, or workaholism as potential drawbacks of homework. 3 – 7 These contrasting results about homework lead to no consensus as to whether homeworking is good or bad for homeworkers. 2 , 3 , 8 , 9

A particular concern about homework is employees’ mental well-being. Recent research suggests that working from home may affect mental well-being because this work arrangement increases work/family conflicts and employees’ feelings of loneliness. 10 , 11 Furthermore, recent studies found that working from home leads to working at higher speed, meeting tight deadlines, greater work intensification, and overworking, which affect employees’ mental well-being. 12 – 14 Accordingly, in this study, we explore if workload is related to homeworkers’ mental well-being.

Research investigating how workload influences the well-being of employees is still scarce and scant 15 , 16 ; even more limited is the literature on the effects of workload on the mental well-being of homeworkers. 11 , 12 , 17 However, recent studies conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic observed that home workers’ workload negatively influenced their well-being by increasing their work-family conflict. 11

We investigated the relationship between homeworkers’ workload and well-being for three reasons. First, we believe it is essential to explore the relationship between workload and well-being because work conditions for homework are different from work conditions experienced at the office. For instance, homeworkers may experience more intrusions from family domains during homeworking. 18 A high workload may affect homeworkers differently than office workers and employees working remotely in other locations than the home. Second, considering the increase in homeworkers during the COVID-19 pandemic and that organizations were not prepared to implement homeworking for many or most of their workforce, 19 it is crucial to explore how workload is related to homeworkers’ well-being, to assist organizations in allocating reasonable workload to homeworkers. Third, the inconsistencies about the benefits of homeworking suggest that understanding how to enhance homeworkers’ well-being considering their workload may be a valuable research avenue.

We examined the relationship between homeworkers’ workload and their well-being by investigating multiple mediators that may influence this relationship. Thus, we based our argument on the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory 20 to explain how homeworkers’ workload may significantly influence their well-being by focusing on three potential mediating variables: work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and work engagement.

Workload and Mental Well-being

Workload is the intensity or the extent of work assigned to an employee in a specific time frame. 21 Based on this definition, homeworkers’ workload can be explained as the intensity or amount of job tasks accomplished within a specific time frame during homeworking.

The COR model posits that individuals endeavor to acquire, keep, foster, and guard things that they value (such as health, well-being, and family, but also objects, such as cars or tools for work, or energy resources, such as money or knowledge) and that well-being is at risk when people perceive the threat or the actual loss of one resource. 20 , 22 According to this theory, when employees perceive or experience an increased workload, they have to use resources (eg, time and energy) to cope with it. This may result in the depletion and loss of those same resources that could have been devoted to personal commitments and social connections. This awareness causes homeworkers to experience stress, negatively affecting their mental well-being. 22

Different studies reported that workload negatively affects employees’ mental well-being, supporting the assertion made by the COR theory. For example, in a traditional work context, Aalto et al 23 conducted a study on more than 1000 physicians and found that workload was negatively associated with physicians’ mental well-being. Angioha et al 24 observed that workload significantly and negatively affected the mental well-being of 650 government workers. Other studies supported the assertion that employees’ workload negatively affects their mental well-being. 25 – 27 We argue that the same process is also valid for homeworkers since previous studies 12 – 14 found that homeworkers are exposed to higher work intensification, work at high speed to meet tight deadlines, and overwork during a limited remote work time. Therefore, based on COR theory and the review of literature, we posit that:

  • H1 : Workload experienced by homeworkers is negatively related to their mental well-being.

Workload, Work-Family Conflict, and Mental Well-being

Work-family conflict is a topic widely explored in organizational literature because of its impact on individual and organizational outcomes. 28 It expresses the role conflict occurring because of incompatible demands between work and family domains. 29 Prior research has shown that the work-family conflict experienced by employees is significantly predicted by workload, 30 a result in line with the COR theory. In fact, the COR theory posits that people strive to obtain and conserve essential resources for social bonds such as family and friends. 20 , 22 Therefore, increased workload implies that individuals have to decrease the time and energy devoted to family members and family needs to meet the increased workload. Spending more time working because of a higher workload may often leave homeworkers emotionally exhausted, physically drained, and unable to have time and energy for family activities. 31 Faced with increased time and energy devoted to work rather than family, homeworkers may struggle to meet family needs, leading to work-family conflict.

In turn, work-family conflict may negatively affect employees’ work engagement. 28 , 32 A high work-family conflict requires resources to manage it, leaving workers with fewer resources to invest and diminishing employees’ work engagement. Obrenovic et al 33 explained that work-family conflict diminishes employees’ mental resources, affecting work engagement. Other studies indicated that work-family conflict experienced by workers negatively and significantly affects their work engagement. 32 , 34 In light of these empirical findings, we extend these results to homeworkers and, therefore, expect that their work-family conflict may negatively affect their work engagement.

The second corollary of the COR theory provides key cues to understand better the relationship between workload, work-family conflict, and well-being. This corollary emphasizes the spiral nature of resource loss and suggests that the initial loss of resources threatens the conservation of the remaining resources. 22 Hobfoll et al 22 explain that “because resource loss is more powerful than resource gain, and because stress occurs when resources are lost, individuals and organizations have fewer resources to offset resource loss at each iteration of the stress spiral. This creates resource loss spirals whereby losses gain in both impact and momentum” (p 107). Therefore, the initial loss of time and energy resources because of a higher workload threats the possibility to use the remaining resources, such as those related to relationships with family members. The actual loss of resources due to higher workload and the perceived threat of losing another resource, in this case, the family support resulting in work-family conflict, may gain both impact and momentum and further threaten other resources (eg, health and well-being), generating a spillover effect or what Hobfoll calls “spiral loss.” Building on the spiral loss of resources of the COR theory, we expect that the workload experienced by homeworkers is positively related to employees’ work-family conflicts, which in turn is negatively related to mental well-being. Therefore, we propose the following hypotheses:

  • H2a : Workload experienced by homeworkers is positively related to work-family conflict.
  • H2b : Homeworkers’ work-family conflict is negatively related to work engagement.
  • H2c : Homeworkers’ work-family conflict is negatively related to mental well-being.
  • H2d : The negative relationship between workload experienced by homeworkers and mental well-being is mediated by work-family conflict.

Workload, Sleeping Problems, and Mental Well-being

According to the empirical study by Aalto et al, 23 an increase in workload may negatively affect employees’ quality of sleep, leading to sleeping problems. Similar results also emerged from the research by Huyghebaert et al, 15 who found that increased workload might lead to impaired sleep quality and consequent emotional exhaustion. A meta-analysis of 79 studies conducted by Nixon et al 35 found that employees reporting higher workload reported sleeping problems due to the stress and exhaustion accompanying high workload. Based on this literature, we propose extending these findings to homeworkers by posing that their workload is significantly and positively related to their sleeping problems.

Sleeping problems are related to decreased work engagement. 36 According to Barber et al, 36 this occurs because a good sleep quality helps replenish and enhance self-regulatory resources after being exhausted or drained. On the contrary, sleeping problems may hinder a person from restocking self-regulatory resources depleted throughout the day. Accordingly, COR theory's desperation principle argues that people enter into a defensive mode to conserve remaining resources when previous ones have been stretched and drained. 22 This implies that employees would be less inclined to invest more resources into the tasks they have to accomplish when their self-regulatory resources have not been fully replenished due to sleeping problems. 37 Hence, it is possible to expect that homeworkers’ sleeping problems may harm their work engagement.

Prior studies found a relationship between sleeping problems and employees’ mental well-being. 38 , 39 The rationale of this result is that sleep is crucial in the optimum physiological and human psychological functioning, 36 and individuals who experience sleeping problems have poorer mental well-being than individuals not having such problems. 40 In fact, sleeping problems influence people's moods and emotions, leading to anxiety and depression. 40 , 41 This scenario is fully compatible with the spiral loss of resources in the COR theory. Hence, we expect that sleeping problems experienced by homeworkers because of increased workloads would have a significant adverse effect on their mental well-being. In particular, we believe that homeworkers’ workload may result in sleeping problems, which, in turn, decrease mental well-being. Thus, we posit that

  • H3a : Workload experienced by homeworkers is positively related to sleeping problems.
  • H3b : Sleeping problems experienced by homeworkers are negatively related to work engagement.
  • H3c : Sleeping problems experienced by homeworkers are negatively related to mental well-being.
  • H3d : Homeworkers’ workload has a negative indirect effect on well-being via the mediation of sleeping problems.

Workload, Work Engagement, and Mental Well-Being

Work engagement is defined as “a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption” 42 (p 74). Empirical findings show that workload decreases employees’ work engagement. 43 – 45 At the same time, the desperation principle of COR theory states that people get into a state of defensive mode to preserve resources when previous resources have been stretched and drained. 22 According to this rationale, workers would be less inclined to invest more resources into their work tasks when they feel too exhausted or physically drained due to the high workload. Hence, even homeworkers who experience the loss of resources such as time and energy due to increased workload may not be able to invest more time and energy into their work tasks, thereby negatively affecting their work engagement. Therefore, we propose that homeworkers’ workload negatively affects work engagement.

Regarding the effects of work engagement on the mental well-being of employees, Radic et al 46 suggested that more studies should examine this relationship. However, the existing research on work engagement and mental well-being found, in general, a positive relationship between these two constructs. 47 – 49 Yang et al 50 argue that work engagement is among the most significant drivers of job performance and the effort employees put into their work, thus increasing mental well-being. Therefore, work engagement should, in turn, contribute to self-development, leading to increased mental well-being. This expectation is in line with COR theory and, in particular, its second and third corollaries about resource loss cycles and gains spirals. Considering work engagement as a motivational resource, from which to obtain energy and dedication to important activities for individuals, 42 in the gain spiral, an increase in work engagement should lead to an increase in personal well-being, and likewise, a loss of engagement should worsen employees’ well-being. Based on the reviewed literature, we suggest that homeworkers’ workload is negatively related to work engagement, which, in turn, is positively related to mental well-being. Hence, we propose the following hypotheses:

  • H4a : Workload experienced by homeworkers is negatively related to work engagement.
  • H4b : Homeworkers’ work engagement is positively related to mental well-being.
  • H4c : There is a negative indirect effect of homeworkers’ workload on mental well-being via work engagement.

Finally, considering the mediation effect of work engagement between workload and mental well-being, the direct effect of workload on work-family conflict (H2a) and sleeping problems (H3a), and also the direct effect of work-family conflict (H2b) and sleeping problems (H3b) on work engagement, we posit two sequential mediation effects:

  • H4d : There is a negative indirect effect of homeworkers’ workload on mental well-being via work-family conflict and work engagement.

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Research model for the study.

METHODOLOGY

Data sources.

The present study used data from the European Working Condition Survey (EWCS) conducted every 5 years, since 1990, by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. 51 The EWCS is a large-scale survey that provides cross-sectional data using random samples of workers in European countries, focusing on their work-life balance, working conditions, health, employment conditions, working environments, and well-being. 52 The Eurofound is a European Union body established by the European Council to offer better information and expert counsel on workers’ living conditions, changes in industrial relations and management among European countries, and contribute to the design and improvement of working and living conditions of workers in Europe. 52 Researchers have highly recognized the quality of the EWCS data set. 53 , 54

We used data of the sixth wave of EWCS collected in 2015, the most recently available data set as of the writing of this contribution. 51 The sampling procedure used for the survey was a multistage and stratified random sampling where each country was stratified into strata based on the geographical region and the level of urbanization. For our study, we extracted from the data set only respondents who reported having worked at home, answering to the following item: “How often have you worked in each location during the last 12 months—Your own home?” Participants that selected “never” were excluded from the study, whereas participants who selected “less often” to “daily” were included in the study. As a result, we obtained a sample of 11,501 homeworkers from 35 different countries.

The scales of the Eurofound survey used in this study are reported below. For all the scales, we reversed the data so that the higher the score, the higher the presence of the variable.

Workload: Two items, on a Likert scale from 1 (never) to 7 (all of the time), were used to measure homeworkers’ workload. The two items are as follows: “Does your job involve working to tight deadlines?” and “Does your job involve working at very high speed?”

Work-family conflict: Work-family conflict was measured using three items on a 5-point Likert scale from 1 (never) to 5 (always). The items are as follows: “How often have you… 1) kept worrying about work when you were not working? 2) felt too tired after work to do some of the household jobs which need to be done? and 3) found that your job prevented you from giving the time you wanted to your family?”

Sleeping problems: Sleeping problems were measured using three items on a Likert scale of 5 points (from 1 = never to 5 = daily). Items required to indicate how often, in the last 12 months, respondents experienced sleep-related problems (“difficulty falling asleep,” “waking up repeatedly during the sleep,” or “waking up with a feeling of exhaustion and fatigue”).

Work engagement: A three-item version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale 55 measured employees’ work engagement. A 5-point Likert scale was used, from 1 (never) to 5 (always). The items are “At my work, I feel full of energy,” “I am enthusiastic about my job,” and “Time flies when I am working.”

Mental well-being: Mental well-being was measured using the Well-Being Index developed by the World Health Organization in 1998, popularly known as the WHO (5) well-being index. The scale consists of five items on a Likert scale of 6 points, from 1 (at no time) to 6 (all of the time). Samples of items are “Been feeling over the last 2 weeks—I have felt cheerful and in good spirits” and “Been feeling over the last 2 weeks—My daily life has been filled with things that interest me.”

Control variables: The frequency of homework has multiple effects on homeworkers’ well-being. 56 , 57 Therefore, we created a dichotomous variable distinguishing the respondents working at home less frequently (grouping together those who responded “several times a month” and “less often,” coded as 1, N low = 5821) or more frequently (grouping together those who responded “several times a week” and “daily,” coded as 2, N high = 5860). Afterward, we tested the direct influence of this variable on the dependent variables of the model.

Data Analysis

Before the other analyses, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was run to check whether each item of the research instrument saturated in the factor theoretically related to it and to carry out a Harman single factor test to check for common method bias. 58 The EFA was conducted using the maximum likelihood and the Oblimin rotation.

To assess the measurement model and the structural validity of the measures, we ran two confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs), one grouping items in their expected factor and one grouping all the items in a single factor. To assess convergent and divergent validity and the reliability of the scales, we computed, respectively, the average variance extracted (AVE), the maximum shared variance (MSV), and composite reliability (CR). Cronbach alpha was computed for each variable in the study. Descriptive statistics and correlations among variables were then calculated.

Finally, the hypothesized model was investigated using structural equation modeling (SEM). We used the maximum likelihood in the SEM environment to estimate model parameters. We used Fornell and Larcker's 59 and Hair et al's 60 indications to evaluate models’ fit and to use appropriate cutoffs. Following Hair et al, 60 we favored measures such as Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) (cutoff, <0.08) and the incremental measures of Comparative Fit Index (CFI) and Tucker–Lewis Index (TLI) (cutoff, >0.90) over measures such as the χ 2 , unreliable in this case because of its high sensitivity to sample size, for evaluating the models’ goodness of fit. We used SPSS 27 and Mplus 8 to perform all analyses.

Sample Characteristics

The extraction, from the entire EWCS data set, of the employees engaged in partial or total work-from-home activities resulted in the consideration of 11,501 workers. Participants were, on average, 45.5 years old (SD, 12.9); 48% were female, and 52% were male. Employees working in the private sector were 65.5%, whereas 22.9% reported working in the public sector. The average work hours in a week, intended as the sum of work in the office and at home, was 38.3 (SD, 14.9). Three tenth of the participants (29.1%) worked daily from home; about one fifth of them (20.2%) answered having worked from home several times a week, and the remaining respondents (50.6%) worked from home less frequently. Table ​ Table1 1 summarizes the sociodemographic characteristics of the participants.

Demographic Characteristics of the Research Participants (N = 11,501)

Exploratory Factor Analysis, CFAs, Validity, and Reliability of the Scales

The EFA showed no problems with the measurement instruments: the extracted five factors explained 67.05% of the variance, and each one was composed of the expected items with good factor loadings (minimum factor loading, 0.53). Harman single factor test, which forced the extraction of a single factor, demonstrated the absence of common method bias because the extracted single factor explained only 29.37% of the variance. After these preliminary analyses, we continued with the data analysis. Although we decided to test our research model using structural equations, following Hair et al, 60 we assessed the measurement model through CFAs. In particular, to exclude the absence of a common latent factor and assess the independence of the five measures, we conducted two CFAs, comparing a one-factor model grouping all the study items with a five-factor model in which each item saturated in its expected factor. The results showed that the one-factor model had a very poor fit ( χ 2 = 25,401.97; df = 104; P < 0.001; CFI = 0.56; TLI = 0.50; RMSEA = 0.15; Standardized Root Mean Squared Residual (SRMR) = 0.11). On the other hand, the fit of the five-factor model ( χ 2 = 2831.54; df = 94; P < 0.001; CFI = 0.95; TLI = 0.94; RMSEA = 0.05; SRMR = 0.04) was satisfying, implying structural validity of the model measures. For this model, all items reported saturation values in their factor higher than 0.50.

The minimum AVE score for the five scales was 0.46. Each value was greater than the corresponding MSV score (the highest MSV was 0.35). Furthermore, the square root of each AVE value was higher than the correlations between each considered variable and the other latent constructs, indicating discriminant validity. 59 All the CR values were over the 0.70 cutoff 60 and in the range 0.72 to 0.83, suggesting good reliability of the measures. Finally, according to Fornell and Larcker, 59 although AVE values were slightly lower than the 0.50 cutoff for three of the five study variables (AVE WFC = 0.46, AVE WENG = 0.49, and AVE W-BEING = 0.49), since CR was in every case higher than 0.60 (and 0.70), the convergent validity of the constructs has been considered adequate.

Cronbach Alphas, Descriptive Statistics, and Correlations Among Variables

Cronbach alphas for the five scales of the model showed values all above the threshold of 0.70, confirming excellent reliability of the model scales again. Together with means, standard deviations, and correlations, such values are reported in Table ​ Table2 2 .

Means, Standard Deviation, and Pearson Correlations Among the Study Variables

N = 11,501.

* P < 0.01.

** P < 0.01.

The average workload reported by homeworkers tended toward high values (mean, 3.56; SD, 1.74), suggesting that homeworkers reported working with moderately tight deadlines and at a high pace. Homeworkers reported having experienced limited level of work-family conflict (mean, 2.60; SD, 0.90) and limited sleeping problems (mean, 2.18; SD, 1.00). On the other side, homeworkers were in many cases engaged with their work (mean, 4.00; SD, 0.67) and in a condition of mental well-being (mean, 4.59; SD, 0.96).

Focusing on the correlations, Table ​ Table2 2 shows that workload was positively correlated with work-family conflict ( r = 0.37, P < 0.001) and sleeping problems ( r = 0.17, P < 0.001), but negatively correlated with mental well-being ( r = −0.03, P = 0.003). Work-family conflict was positively correlated with sleeping problems ( r = 0.35, P < 0.001) and negatively correlated with mental well-being ( r = −0.28, P < 0.001). Sleeping problems had a significant negative association with work engagement ( r = −0.24, P < 0.001) and mental well-being ( r = −0.40, P < 0.001), whereas work engagement had a positive correlation with mental well-being ( r = 0.44, P < 0.001).

Model Testing

The hypothesized model was tested using SEM. In this model, the control variable of the frequency of homeworking was tested on the mediational variables of work-family conflict and work engagement, since no significant correlations were instead obtained between this control variable and, respectively, sleeping problems and mental well-being.

The model as a whole, with the errors of the variables work-family conflict and sleeping problems correlated to improve the closeness of the model to the reality described by data, reported an adequate fit ( χ 2 = 3022.73; df = 107; P < 0.001; CFI = 0.95; TLI = 0.94; RMSEA = 0.05; SRMR = 0.04). In addition, all the measured items reported saturation values greater than 0.50 in their latent factors, confirming the CFA results and the good validity of the measures. Figure ​ Figure2 2 depicts the model results.

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Model standardized results. All the relationships are significant for at least P < 0.01.

According to the model results, the relationship between homeworkers’ workload and mental well-being was small but positive ( β = 0.04, P = 0.001; confidence interval [CI], 0.02 to 0.06). Thus, H1 was not verified, since the hypothesized relationship is significant but, contrary to expectations, positive.

Workload significantly and positively influenced work-family conflict ( β = 0.50, P < 0.001; CI, 0.49 to 0.52; hypotheses H2a supported). In turn, work-family conflict negatively affected work engagement ( β = −0.15; P < 0.001; CI, −0.18 to −0.13) and mental well-being ( β = −0.13, P < 0.001; CI, −0.16 to −0.11). Thus, H2b and H2c were fully supported. Even H2d was supported, and Table ​ Table3 3 shows the indirect effect of homeworkers’ workload on mental well-being via work-family conflict ( β = −0.07; P < 0.001; CI, −0.08 to −0.05).

Indirect Effects of Workload on Mental Well-Being Through the Mediators (H2d, H3d, H4c, H4d, and H4e)

MWB, mental well-being; SP, sleeping problems; WE, work engagement; WFC, work-family conflict; WLD, workload.

* P < 0.001.

Regarding the hypotheses about sleeping problems, H3a was supported because homeworkers’ workload was positively related to sleeping problems ( β = 0.23; P < 0.001; CI, 0.21 to 0.25). Sleeping problems was negatively related to work engagement ( β = −0.30; P < 0.001; CI, −0.32 to −0.28) and mental well-being ( β = −0.28; P < 0.001; CI, −0.30 to −0.26), supporting also H3b and H3c. Furthermore, the indirect effect of homeworkers’ workload on mental well-being via sleeping problems was also significant ( β = −0.06; P < 0.001; CI, −0.07 to −0.06), supporting hypothesis H3d (Table ​ (Table3 3 ).

Finally, an unexpected result was observed between homeworkers’ workload and work engagement. Workload was positively, rather than negatively, related to work engagement ( β = 0.09, P < 0.001; CI, 0.07 to 0.11). Hence, hypothesis H4a was not supported, although the relationship is significant and opposite to the hypothesis. However, as expected, homeworkers’ work engagement significantly and positively affected mental well-being ( β = 0.47, P < 0.001; CI, 0.45 to 0.49), supporting hypothesis H4b. Homeworkers’ workload showed also an indirect effect on mental well-being via work engagement ( β = 0.04; P < 0.001; CI, 0.03 to 0.05) (Table ​ (Table3), 3 ), supporting hypothesis H4c.

Indirect effects were then observed even in the two serial mediations. The mediations between workload and mental well-being via work-family conflict and work engagement ( β = −0.04; P < 0.001; CI, −0.04 to −0.03), and also that one via sleeping problems and work engagement ( β = −0.03; P < 0.001; CI, −0.04 to −0.03) were significant, thus supporting H4d and H4e.

Finally, the total indirect effect of workload on mental well-being, through the multiple mediators, as shown in Table ​ Table3, 3 , was negative and significant ( β = −0.16; P < 0.001; CI, −0.17 to −0.14). Hence, the negative indirect effects of workload on mental well-being are higher than the positive direct effect of these two variables; as a result, the total effect of the relationship between workload and mental well-being, calculated as the sum of direct and indirect effects, is therefore negative ( β = −0.12; P < 0.001; CI, −0.14 to −0.10).

Lastly, the control variable of frequency of homeworking revealed significant relationships with the tested variables. Positive, although small, effects were found between frequency of homeworking and, respectively, work-family conflict ( β = 0.06 P < 0.001; CI, 0.05 to 0.08) and work engagement ( β = 0.06 P < 0.001; CI, 0.04 to 0.07).

This study used the COR theory as theoretical background to investigate the relationship between homeworkers’ workload and mental well-being and the mediating effect of work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and work engagement. In light of this approach, we expected that employees’ workload at home was positively related to work-family conflict and sleeping problems and negatively related to work engagement. Furthermore, we expected that work engagement was, in turn, negatively related to work-family conflict and sleeping problems and positively related to mental well-being.

Most of our study hypotheses were supported. Homeworkers’ workload positively affected work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and, surprisingly, work engagement and had a total negative effect on mental well-being.

The positive effect of the workload on work-family conflicts and sleeping problems was also observed in previous studies reporting the positive effect of workload on work-family conflict 30 and sleeping problems 15 , 23 , 61 in employees working at official sites of their organization. Our result extends findings observed in the official workplace to the field of homework and confirms the applicability of COR theory to homeworking. Investing time and energy resources to cope with an increased workload may result in the depletion of energy resources needed to balance work and family life and have a good quality of sleep, consequently affecting mental well-being resulting from the stress experienced from the loss of resources.

However, study findings also reveal an unexpected result by reporting a positive relationship between workload on work engagement. This unexpected finding, although small ( β = 0.09; P < 0.001; CI, 0.07 to 0.11), is contrary to the one found by Ladyshewsky and Taplin, 62 who reported that workload negatively affects work engagement. Although this result was unexpected, other studies support the evidence reported in this research, suggesting that workload may not always be harmful but, in some cases, may have a positive effect on work engagement. 43 – 45 , 63 In other words, the workload may not always have a detrimental effect on work engagement. Instead, the relationship between these two variables could be curvilinear in the homeworking context, as already observed in the usual workplace. 45

Considering that workload was positively related to work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and, at the same time, also positively related to work engagement, our findings support previous studies that identified workload both as a hindrance and a challenge stressor 44 , 63 that increases employees’ work engagement to completing their challenging work, while also impacting work-family conflict and sleeping problems that diminish employees’ energy. 43

Focusing on the relationship between workload and well-being, we point out that, although the direct relationship was small but positive ( β = 0.04; P = 0.001; CI, 0.01 to 05), the total effect of workload on mental well-being, as mentioned above, was instead significant and negative ( β = −0.12; P < 0.001; CI, −0.14 to −0.10), thus suggesting that the three mediators in our model contribute to establishing that too much workload is negative for homeworkers. Therefore, this suggests that intervening in those factors (work-family conflict, work engagement, and sleeping problems) could reduce the negative effect of the workload on homeworkers’ well-being.

The importance of those three mediators is also confirmed by the simple direct relationships they have with mental well-being. This study shows that work-family conflict is negatively related to work engagement and mental well-being, thus supporting prior studies on work engagement 28 , 32 , 34 and employees’ well-being 33 , 64 and extending those findings to homeworkers. Although other studies used different theoretical approaches, our results are also coherent with the spiral loss of resources of the COR theory. Sleeping problems experienced by homeworkers had a significant adverse effect on work engagement and well-being, consistently with previous studies conducted in other contexts. 36 – 39 Based on the COR theory’s desperation principle, homeworkers may be less inclined to invest more resources into their work task (work engagement) when their self-regulatory resources have not been fully replenished due to sleeping problems. 37 The loss of this resource, in turn, may explain the loss of the other resource, which is well-being. Thus, our study sheds light on the potential mechanism that the resource loss of time and energy due to high workload compromises sleep quality, leading to the loss of other resources such as well-being.

Finally, despite the frequency of homeworking was marginally related to work-family conflict and work engagement, this variable was not related to mental well-being * . However, we believe that this latter result is also an interesting research finding because it suggests that workers’ mental well-being is not related to the mere frequency of homeworking, but to characteristics of the task and the context in which homeworking is carried out. Nevertheless, we believe these results should be read with caution and also interpreted considering other studies that suggest a curvilinear relationship between frequency of homeworking and some worker satisfaction outcomes. 56 , 57

THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS

In this study, we contributed to the literature on the relationship between workload and well-being in the context of homework by simultaneously exploring the mediational variables of work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and work engagement.

From a theoretical point of view, since research on the effect of workload on homeworkers’ well-being is limited, 15 , 16 we believe our findings, framed in the COR theory, 22 contribute to homeworking literature by showing that homeworkers’ workload has, on the whole, a negative impact on mental well-being and that workload contributes to increased work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and also work engagement that, in turn, affect mental well-being. This result is coherent with the resource caravans’ principle of the COR theory, which suggests that resources, or threats of resources, do not exist individually but travel in packs. 22 Thus, workload threatens mental well-being because it affects, at least, other two aspects that can become potential stressors, such as sleep and family relations.

Our results also show that workload is positively related to work engagement and positively related to mental well-being. Considering the second principle of the COR theory, which states that individuals invest resources to protect against resource loss, it seems that employees dedicate time, energy, and mental resources to work (in other words, become more engaged in their work) to compensate the adverse effects of the workload. Hobfoll et al 22 suggest that individuals, over time, learn how to adapt to stressors and how to use their resources effectively. Thus, a possible explanation of this result is that employees know that workload negatively impacts individual and family resources and, to mitigate such effects, they increase their work engagement to manage their work tasks, complete them quickly and effectively, and dedicate the remaining time to family duties or free time.

On the other side, our study also confirms that workload as a challenging or a hindrance stressor. 43 – 45 According to our results, the workload is related to both negative (increased work-family conflict and sleeping problems) and positive outcomes (work engagement), which confirms a complex relationship between workload and employees’ well-being that depends on the mediators included in the studies. Our findings suggest that workload is not only a threatening stressor but also a resource that enhances, through work engagement, employees’ mental well-being. Montani et al 45 observed that the relationships between workload and work engagement may be curvilinear. Thus, future studies should investigate under which conditions the positive sides of homework workload are observed and how positive and negative effects of workload coexist.

From a practical point of view, this research provides some insights that may help organizations and managers coordinate employees’ work. High amounts of workload are associated with work-family conflict and sleep problems, and these threaten the mental well-being of their employees, potentially affecting their effectiveness at work. On the other hand, we guess that a moderate extent of workload, compared with too low or too high, might enhance employees’ engagement with their work, leading them to feel better and, potentially, work better. Therefore, organizations should pay attention to employees’ workload and identify and avoid to assign tasks, with a too high or low workload to favor employees’ well-being and maximize their efforts.

Our study points out that offering homeworking alone may not be enough. Organizations implementing homeworking should also implement strategies to contain work-family conflict (eg, by considering employees’ childcare needs) and sleeping problems (eg, by promoting proper sleep-wake rhythms, including working on the proper use and correct timing of homework), as well as interventions aimed at fostering work engagement. Such organizational interventions seem promising directions to ensure that workload does not affect the mental well-being of homeworkers.

LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH

This study has different limitations. In particular, it used a cross-sectional research design, which limits the causal inferences between study variables. In addition, the cross-sectional mediational analysis may show mediational effects that exaggerate indirect effects among study variables that are different from effects observed using longitudinal studies or multiwave design. 65 To lessen this limitation, we used a large sample size to diminish biases in regression estimates because of measurement errors. 66 Furthermore, we point out that the study design does not exclude the possibility of reverse mediations between the investigated variables. For these reasons, future research may use a longitudinal design approach to more appropriately support the evidence found here.

Furthermore, another major limitation of the study is that data were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there are no rational reasons to think about changes in the tested relationships, future studies should verify if, in a postpandemic scenario, the conclusions drawn may still be applicable. Finally, we point out that this study used self-reported measures. Thus, they may lead to exaggeration or understatement on the part of the participants opening up to the tendency of common method bias, which may compromise the study's validity. Therefore, future studies using multirater measures should address this issue.

The present study sheds light on the underlying mechanisms of workload affecting employees’ mental well-being. Findings suggest that the workload experienced by homeworkers is related to work-family conflict, sleeping problems, and work engagement, which, in turn, affect mental well-being. This study contributes to the literature by providing new evidence on the relationship between workload and well-being, offering insights for academic research and organizational interventions on the complex relationship between workload and well-being in homeworkers. We conclude that organizations just offering homeworking without considering needs and duties when working at home are not enough to improve the well-being of homeworkers. Further work on appropriate home working conditions (eg, workload) may represent a good step forward to achieve the purpose of homeworking and improve homeworkers’ well-being. Hence, the present study offered significant knowledge and empirical evidence to help organizational policymakers and managers on the need to pay critical attention to employees’ workload during homeworking.

* Note: Although not included in our hypotheses, following the suggestion of a reviewer, we tested “frequency of homeworking” using a multigroup approach to highlight potential differences in the model in low- or high-frequency homeworking conditions. The results of this multigroup analysis are not included in this article because they confirmed that all relationships in the research model were significant and, in the same direction, in the low- and high-frequency homeworking conditions. These results are anyway available upon request to the corresponding author.

Funding Sources: No funding was provided for the conduct of this research. The publication costs of this open-access article were covered by the authors' university membership in the CARE-CRUI national contract with the publisher Wolters Kluwer for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins journals.

Conflict of Interest: Nothing to declare.

Ethical Considerations & Disclosure: This research fully respects the Declaration of Helsinki. All ethical guidelines were followed.

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When Is Homework Stressful? Its Effects on Students’ Mental Health

student online learning

Are you wondering when is homework stressful? Well, homework is a vital constituent in keeping students attentive to the course covered in a class. By applying the lessons, students learned in class, they can gain a mastery of the material by reflecting on it in greater detail and applying what they learned through homework. 

However, students get advantages from homework, as it improves soft skills like organisation and time management which are important after high school. However, the additional work usually causes anxiety for both the parents and the child. As their load of homework accumulates, some students may find themselves growing more and more bored.

Students may take assistance online and ask someone to do my online homework . As there are many platforms available for the students such as Chegg, Scholarly Help, and Quizlet offering academic services that can assist students in completing their homework on time. 

Negative impact of homework

There are the following reasons why is homework stressful and leads to depression for students and affect their mental health. As they work hard on their assignments for alarmingly long periods, students’ mental health is repeatedly put at risk. Here are some serious arguments against too much homework.

No uniqueness

Homework should be intended to encourage children to express themselves more creatively. Teachers must assign kids intriguing assignments that highlight their uniqueness. similar to writing an essay on a topic they enjoy.

Moreover, the key is encouraging the child instead of criticizing him for writing a poor essay so that he can express himself more creatively.

Lack of sleep

One of the most prevalent adverse effects of schoolwork is lack of sleep. The average student only gets about 5 hours of sleep per night since they stay up late to complete their homework, even though the body needs at least 7 hours of sleep every day. Lack of sleep has an impact on both mental and physical health.

No pleasure

Students learn more effectively while they are having fun. They typically learn things more quickly when their minds are not clouded by fear. However, the fear factor that most teachers introduce into homework causes kids to turn to unethical means of completing their assignments.

Excessive homework

The lack of coordination between teachers in the existing educational system is a concern. As a result, teachers frequently end up assigning children far more work than they can handle. In such circumstances, children turn to cheat on their schoolwork by either copying their friends’ work or using online resources that assist with homework.

Anxiety level

Homework stress can increase anxiety levels and that could hurt the blood pressure norms in young people . Do you know? Around 3.5% of young people in the USA have high blood pressure. So why is homework stressful for children when homework is meant to be enjoyable and something they look forward to doing? It is simple to reject this claim by asserting that schoolwork is never enjoyable, yet with some careful consideration and preparation, homework may become pleasurable.

No time for personal matters

Students that have an excessive amount of homework miss out on personal time. They can’t get enough enjoyment. There is little time left over for hobbies, interpersonal interaction with colleagues, and other activities. 

However, many students dislike doing their assignments since they don’t have enough time. As they grow to detest it, they can stop learning. In any case, it has a significant negative impact on their mental health.

Children are no different than everyone else in need of a break. Weekends with no homework should be considered by schools so that kids have time to unwind and prepare for the coming week. Without a break, doing homework all week long might be stressful.

How do parents help kids with homework?

Encouraging children’s well-being and health begins with parents being involved in their children’s lives. By taking part in their homework routine, you can see any issues your child may be having and offer them the necessary support.

Set up a routine

Your student will develop and maintain good study habits if you have a clear and organized homework regimen. If there is still a lot of schoolwork to finish, try putting a time limit. Students must obtain regular, good sleep every single night.

Observe carefully

The student is ultimately responsible for their homework. Because of this, parents should only focus on ensuring that their children are on track with their assignments and leave it to the teacher to determine what skills the students have and have not learned in class.

Listen to your child

One of the nicest things a parent can do for their kids is to ask open-ended questions and listen to their responses. Many kids are reluctant to acknowledge they are struggling with their homework because they fear being labelled as failures or lazy if they do.

However, every parent wants their child to succeed to the best of their ability, but it’s crucial to be prepared to ease the pressure if your child starts to show signs of being overburdened with homework.

Talk to your teachers

Also, make sure to contact the teacher with any problems regarding your homework by phone or email. Additionally, it demonstrates to your student that you and their teacher are working together to further their education.

Homework with friends

If you are still thinking is homework stressful then It’s better to do homework with buddies because it gives them these advantages. Their stress is reduced by collaborating, interacting, and sharing with peers.

Additionally, students are more relaxed when they work on homework with pals. It makes even having too much homework manageable by ensuring they receive the support they require when working on the assignment. Additionally, it improves their communication abilities.

However, doing homework with friends guarantees that one learns how to communicate well and express themselves. 

Review homework plan

Create a schedule for finishing schoolwork on time with your child. Every few weeks, review the strategy and make any necessary adjustments. Gratefully, more schools are making an effort to control the quantity of homework assigned to children to lessen the stress this produces.

Bottom line

Finally, be aware that homework-related stress is fairly prevalent and is likely to occasionally affect you or your student. Sometimes all you or your kid needs to calm down and get back on track is a brief moment of comfort. So if you are a student and wondering if is homework stressful then you must go through this blog.

While homework is a crucial component of a student’s education, when kids are overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to perform, the advantages of homework can be lost and grades can suffer. Finding a balance that ensures students understand the material covered in class without becoming overburdened is therefore essential.

Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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How Homework Is Destroying Teens’ Health

Jessica Amabile '24 , Staff Writer March 25, 2022

homework negative effects on mental health

“[Students] average about 3.1 hours of homework each night,” according to an article published by Stanford .  Teens across the country come home from school, exhausted from a long day, only to do more schoolwork.  They sit at their computers, working on homework assignments for hours on end.  To say the relentless amount of work they have to do is overwhelming would be an understatement.  The sheer amount of homework given has many negative impacts on teenagers.

Students have had homework for decades, but in more recent years it has become increasingly more demanding.  Multiple studies have shown that students average about three hours of homework per night.  The Atlantic mentioned that students now have twice as much homework as students did in the 1990s.  This is extremely detrimental to teens’ mental health and levels of stress.  Students have a lot to do after school, such as spending time with family, extracurricular activities, taking care of siblings or other family members, hanging out with friends, or all of the above.  Having to juggle all of this as well as hours on end of homework is unreasonable because teenagers already have enough to think or worry about.   

According to a student- run survey conducted in Cherry Hill West, students reported that they received the most homework in math, history, and language arts classes.  They receive anywhere from 1 to 4 or more hours of homework every day, but only about 22.7% somewhat or strongly agree that it helps them learn.  Of the students who participated, 63.6% think schools should continue to give out homework sometimes, while 27.3% said they should not give out homework at all.  In an open-ended response section, students had a lot to say.  One student wrote, “I think we should get homework to practice work if we are seen struggling, or didn’t finish work in class. But if we get homework, I think it just shows that the teacher needs more time to teach and instead of speeding up, gives us more work.”  Another added,  “Homework is important to learn the material. However, too much may lead to the student not learning that much, or it may become stressful to do homework everyday.”  Others wrote, “The work I get in chemistry doesn’t help me learn at all if anything it confuses me more,” and “I think math is the only class I could use homework as that helps me learn while world language is supposed to help me learn but feels more like a time waste.”   A student admitted, “I think homework is beneficial for students but the amount of homework teachers give us each day is very overwhelming and puts a lot of stress on kids. I always have my work done but all of the homework I have really changes my emotions and it effects me.”  Another pointed out, “you are at school for most of your day waking up before the sun and still after all of that they send you home each day with work you need to do before the next day. Does that really make sense[?]”

homework negative effects on mental health

As an article from Healthline mentioned, “Researchers asked students whether they experienced physical symptoms of stress… More than 80 percent of students reported having at least one stress-related symptom in the past month, and 44 percent said they had experienced three or more symptoms.”  If school is causing students physical symptoms of stress, it needs to re-evaluate whether or not homework is beneficial to students, especially teenagers.  Students aren’t learning anything if they have hours of “busy work” every night, so much so that it gives them symptoms of stress, such as headaches, weight loss, sleep deprivation, and so on.  The continuous hours of work are doing nothing but harming students mentally and physically.

homework negative effects on mental health

The mental effects of homework can be harmful as well.  Mental health issues are often ignored, even when schools can be the root of the problem.  An article from USA Today contained a quote from a licensed therapist and social worker named Cynthia Catchings, which reads, “ heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression.”  Mental health problems are not beneficial in any way to education.  In fact, it makes it more difficult for students to focus and learn.  

Some studies have suggested that students should receive less homework.  To an extent, homework can help students in certain areas, such as math.  However, too much has detrimental impacts on their mental and physical health.  Emmy Kang, a mental health counselor, has a suggestion.  She mentioned, “I don’t think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That’s something that needs to be scrapped entirely,” she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments,” according to USA Today .  Students don’t have much control over the homework they receive, but if enough people could explain to teachers the negative impacts it has on them, they might be convinced.  Teachers need to realize that their students have other classes and other assignments to do.  While this may not work for everything, it would at least be a start, which would be beneficial to students.

The sole purpose of schools is to educate children and young adults to help them later on in life.  However, school curriculums have gone too far if hours of homework for each class are seen as necessary and beneficial to learning.  Many studies have shown that homework has harmful effects on students, so how does it make sense to keep assigning it?  At this rate, the amount of time spent on homework will increase in years to come, along with the effects of poor mental and physical health.  Currently, students do an average of 3 hours of homework, according to the Washington Post, and the estimated amount of teenagers suffering from at least one mental illness is 1 in 5, as Polaris Teen Center stated.  This is already bad enough–it’s worrisome to think it could get much worse.  Homework is not more important than physical or mental health, by any standards.

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Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in.

homework negative effects on mental health

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas about workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework. 

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says, he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace , says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression. 

And for all the distress homework  can cause, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. 

"Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends, from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no-homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely but to be more mindful of the type of work students take home, suggests Kang, who was a high school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the past two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic , making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized. ... Sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

More: Some teachers let their students sleep in class. Here's what mental health experts say.

More: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors discourage the move as 'risky'

homework negative effects on mental health

Mindgrasp, Mental Health and Homework

Bilal Nyle Zafar I Mindgrasp Blog

Jul 25, 2023

homework negative effects on mental health

The intersection of mental health and homework has long been a topic of concern for educators, parents, and students alike. The negative effects of excessive homework on mental health are well-documented, with studies consistently pointing to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression among students. The pressure to complete assignments, meet deadlines, and excel academically can lead to a detrimental impact on students’ overall well-being. However, in this modern era of technological advancements, innovative solutions such as AI platforms like Mindgrasp hold the potential to alleviate some of the burden.

One of the key stressors associated with homework is the overwhelming workload. Students often find themselves juggling multiple assignments simultaneously, resulting in heightened anxiety and a sense of being overwhelmed. Mindgrasp, as an AI-powered platform, can help by providing personalized support tailored to each student’s needs. It can efficiently analyze the workload and offer a structured plan, breaking down tasks into manageable chunks. By doing so, Mindgrasp eases the mental strain by promoting a sense of organization and reducing the feeling of being swamped by assignments.

Another aspect that negatively impacts mental health is the lack of immediate feedback and guidance when completing homework assignments. Students often spend hours grappling with complex problems, unsure if they are on the right track. This uncertainty can lead to frustration and self-doubt. Mindgrasp can step in as a virtual tutor, offering real-time assistance and feedback. Its AI algorithms can identify areas of struggle and provide explanations, examples, or additional resources to aid understanding. This instant support not only reduces anxiety but also enhances learning outcomes.

Moreover, the constant pressure to perform well on homework and exams can create an unhealthy cycle of stress and self-criticism. Mindgrasp can foster a healthier mindset by promoting self-paced learning and individual progress tracking. Instead of comparing oneself to others, students can focus on their own growth and improvement. The AI platform can adapt to their learning styles and abilities, offering customized challenges and learning materials. This personalized approach helps reduce the negative impact of homework-related stress on mental health by fostering a more positive and empowering academic experience.

In conclusion, the detrimental effects of homework on mental health are well-documented, but AI platforms like Mindgrasp offer a promising solution to mitigate these challenges. By providing personalized support, immediate feedback, and promoting a healthier approach to learning, Mindgrasp has the potential to alleviate the burden of homework and create a more balanced and positive educational experience for students. Harnessing the power of technology in this way can contribute to safeguarding the mental well-being of students in the face of academic demands.

Homework Affects Mental Health, But it Doesn’t Need to be a Bad Thing

While it is true that homework affects mental health, it is important to recognize that with the integration of AI platforms like Mindgrasp, homework can actually be seen as a beneficial tool for students’ well-being. Homework, when approached in a balanced and supportive manner, can foster a sense of accomplishment, autonomy, and self-regulation—all of which contribute to positive mental health outcomes. Mindgrasp, with its personalized support and immediate feedback, empowers students to take charge of their learning journey and build important skills such as time management, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

By breaking down assignments into manageable tasks and providing structured plans, Mindgrasp helps students develop effective study habits and organizational skills. This not only enhances their academic performance but also reduces the stress and anxiety associated with a disorganized workload. Furthermore, the AI-powered platform acts as a virtual tutor, offering real-time assistance and guidance, which can boost students’ confidence and reduce self-doubt.

Mindgrasp’s ability to adapt to individual learning styles and abilities promotes a growth mindset and a sense of progress. Students can see their own improvement over time, fostering a positive attitude towards challenges and a sense of accomplishment. The platform’s focus on personalized challenges and tailored learning materials encourages students to engage actively with their coursework, nurturing a love for learning and boosting overall motivation.

Homework affecting mental health

Is Homework Affecting Mental Health? Yes.

Recent developments have shed light on the connection between an increase in homework and lower mental health among students. Studies have shown that excessive homework not only leads to heightened stress and anxiety but also contributes to a range of mental health issues such as depression and sleep disturbances. The growing academic demands and the pressure to excel academically can overwhelm students, leaving them with limited time for relaxation, hobbies, and social activities, all of which are crucial for their overall well-being. This imbalance between academic responsibilities and personal well-being highlights the urgent need for interventions that address the detrimental effects of homework affecting mental health.

In this context, AI platforms like Mindgrasp have the potential to play a significant role in bettering the mental health of students. By providing personalized support, Mindgrasp helps students manage their workload and break it down into manageable tasks, reducing feelings of being overwhelmed. The platform acts as a virtual tutor, offering immediate feedback, guidance, and explanations, which can alleviate anxiety and self-doubt associated with homework. Moreover, Mindgrasp’s supportive nature ensures that students receive tailored challenges and resources, fostering positive learning.

Mindgrasp’s emphasis on self-paced learning and individual progress tracking contributes to a healthier mindset. Instead of solely focusing on grades and comparison, students can focus on their own growth and improvement. This shift in perspective helps mitigate the negative impact of homework on mental health by promoting self-compassion and reducing the unhealthy pressure to constantly achieve.

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Mindgrasp is Neutralizing the Negative Homework Effect on Mental Health

In light of the detrimental effects of homework on students mental health, Mindgrasp emerges as a valuable tool that effectively relieves stress for struggling students. The platform recognizes the overwhelming homework effect on mental health and aims to mitigate these challenges by providing personalized support and resources. For students who find themselves grappling with complex assignments, Mindgrasp offers immediate assistance and feedback, eliminating the uncertainty and self-doubt that often accompany challenging tasks. By addressing the effects of homework on students’ mental health, the platform instills a sense of relief and confidence.

Moreover, Mindgrasp’s ability to adjust itself to personal learning preferences and abilities ensures that struggling students receive tailored guidance and resources. This personalized approach not only enhances understanding but also reduces anxiety and frustration. By breaking down assignments into manageable tasks and offering step-by-step guidance, Mindgrasp alleviates the stress associated with tackling overwhelming workloads. Struggling students can approach their homework with a clearer mindset, knowing that they have the necessary support to overcome obstacles.

Mindgrasp’s provision of a structured plan and progress tracking allows struggling students to regain a sense of control over their academic journey. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the effects of homework on their mental health, students can develop a more positive mindset as they see their incremental progress. The platform encourages a growth-oriented perspective, emphasizing improvement rather than solely focusing on the final outcome. This shift in mindset helps struggling students alleviate stress, fostering a more positive and healthy relationship with their academic responsibilities.

Does Homework Affect Mental Health? What Can Be Done to Prevent it?

Excessive homework can have a detrimental impact on students’ mental health due to various reasons. Firstly, a heavy workload and the pressure to complete multiple assignments within tight deadlines can lead to increased stress and anxiety levels. The constant sense of being overwhelmed by homework can leave students feeling burnt out and mentally exhausted. Moreover, spending prolonged hours on homework can disrupt sleep patterns, leaving students fatigued and impacting their overall well-being. Additionally, the lack of immediate feedback and guidance can contribute to feelings of frustration, self-doubt, and a sense of being stuck.

However, an AI platform like Mindgrasp can alleviate homeworks effect on mental health by providing personalized support and resources. It can analyze the workload and offer a structured plan, breaking down tasks into manageable chunks. By doing so, Mindgrasp reduces the overwhelming nature of homework, promoting a sense of organization and reducing stress. Furthermore, the platform acts as a virtual tutor, offering real-time assistance and feedback. Students can receive immediate guidance, explanations, and additional resources, which can help alleviate anxiety and enhance understanding. Mindgrasp’s adaptive nature also ensures that students receive tailored challenges and learning materials, allowing them to progress at their own pace and reducing the negative impact of excessive homework on their mental health.

In summary, as the link between homework and lower mental health becomes increasingly evident, innovative solutions like MindGrasp hold promise in addressing this issue. By providing personalized support, immediate feedback, and promoting a healthy learning mindset, MindGrasp can contribute to better mental health outcomes for students, fostering a balanced and positive educational experience.

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The Mental Health Impact of Excessive Homework on Students

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By Happy Sharer

homework negative effects on mental health

Introduction

Homework has been an integral part of the educational system for decades. While it is important for students to do their homework, excessive amounts of homework can have a negative impact on their mental health. The purpose of this article is to explore how too much homework affects mental health, what strategies can be used to manage the problem, and the role of parents in preventing homework-related mental health issues.

Examining the Mental Health Impacts of Excessive Homework

Examining the Mental Health Impacts of Excessive Homework

It is no surprise that too much homework can lead to stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that when students are given too much homework, they are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, including feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, and isolated. In addition to these psychological effects, too much homework can also lead to physical ailments such as headaches, fatigue, and poor sleep.

When it comes to children, the effects of too much homework can be even more severe. Children may feel pressure to complete assignments quickly and accurately, leading to feelings of inadequacy and frustration. They may also feel like they are missing out on important social activities with their friends due to their heavy workloads.

How Balancing School Work and Social Life Can Help Manage Mental Health

Maintaining a healthy balance between school work and leisure activities is essential to managing mental health. It is important to remember that while homework is important, it should not take precedence over other aspects of life. Taking regular breaks and engaging in enjoyable activities can help reduce stress levels and improve mental wellbeing.

In addition, setting realistic expectations and creating a schedule for completing assignments can help students manage their workload. Allowing for some flexibility in the schedule can also be beneficial, as it allows for unexpected changes or delays. Furthermore, establishing a quiet, distraction-free workspace can help students stay focused and motivated.

The Role of Parents in Preventing Homework-Related Mental Health Issues

Parents can play an important role in helping their children prevent homework-related mental health issues. Talking to children about expectations and limits can help ensure that assignments are completed on time and without undue stress. It is also important to encourage communication about any difficulties children may be having with their homework. Parents should be supportive and understanding if children express feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

In addition, parents should be mindful of the amount of time their children are spending on homework. If a child is consistently struggling to complete assignments within the allotted timeframe, it may be necessary to reassess the amount of homework given. Parents should also monitor their children’s activities to ensure that they are still engaging in leisure activities and socializing with their peers.

In conclusion, excessive homework can have a detrimental effect on students’ mental health. It is important for students to find a balance between schoolwork and leisure activities, and parents can play an important role in helping their children manage their workloads. By discussing expectations and setting limits on homework, parents can help ensure that their children are able to complete their assignments without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

(Note: Is this article not meeting your expectations? Do you have knowledge or insights to share? Unlock new opportunities and expand your reach by joining our authors team. Click Registration to join us and share your expertise with our readers.)

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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Here's why homework is bad according to research

It is probably best that schools ban homework totally.

For as long as we can all remember, homework has long been a part of the education system.

It is said that homework is a great way to reinforce learning, promote independent study habits, and prepare students for academic success.

However, recent research has revealed that homework might just have some negative effects. These include;

Negative impact on mental health

One reason why homework is bad is that it can have a negative impact on students' mental health. Excessive homework has been linked to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression, particularly among high school students who are already grappling with academic pressure and social obligations.

It reduces family time

Kids and students these days spend a lot of hours in school, and homework can encroach upon valuable family time when they are at home, depriving students of opportunities to bond with their loved ones, pursue hobbies, and engage in extracurricular activities. This lack of balance can lead to feelings of isolation and resentment, ultimately undermining the quality of family relationships.

It's not that effective in reinforcing learning

Contrary to popular belief, research suggests that homework may have limited effectiveness in reinforcing learning, especially when it involves rote memorisation or busywork. Instead of deepening understanding and mastery of concepts, excessive homework can lead to surface-level learning and a focus on grades rather than genuine comprehension.

Loss of interest in learning

Homework leads to stress in some students and this can in turn affect students' intrinsic motivation to learn and explore new ideas. Instead of making them love learning, excessive homework can instil a sense of apathy and disengagement, leading students to view education as a chore rather than a source of inspiration.

Impact on physical health

Spending long hours hunched over textbooks and screens trying to complete homework can take a toll on students' physical health, contributing to issues such as eyestrain, headaches, and poor posture. Lack of sufficient sleep, often a result of late-night homework sessions, can further compound these problems and impair cognitive function.

With these few reasons explaining why homework is bad, it is probably best that schools should ban homework totally. Or maybe I'm being biased because I actually hate doing homework, what do you think?

                  Homework might just have some negative effects [Education Hub]                 ©(c) provided by Pulse Nigeria

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Science News

Social media harms teens’ mental health, mounting evidence shows. what now.

Understanding what is going on in teens’ minds is necessary for targeted policy suggestions

A teen scrolls through social media alone on her phone.

Most teens use social media, often for hours on end. Some social scientists are confident that such use is harming their mental health. Now they want to pinpoint what explains the link.

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By Sujata Gupta

February 20, 2024 at 7:30 am

In January, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook’s parent company Meta, appeared at a congressional hearing to answer questions about how social media potentially harms children. Zuckerberg opened by saying: “The existing body of scientific work has not shown a causal link between using social media and young people having worse mental health.”

But many social scientists would disagree with that statement. In recent years, studies have started to show a causal link between teen social media use and reduced well-being or mood disorders, chiefly depression and anxiety.

Ironically, one of the most cited studies into this link focused on Facebook.

Researchers delved into whether the platform’s introduction across college campuses in the mid 2000s increased symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. The answer was a clear yes , says MIT economist Alexey Makarin, a coauthor of the study, which appeared in the November 2022 American Economic Review . “There is still a lot to be explored,” Makarin says, but “[to say] there is no causal evidence that social media causes mental health issues, to that I definitely object.”

The concern, and the studies, come from statistics showing that social media use in teens ages 13 to 17 is now almost ubiquitous. Two-thirds of teens report using TikTok, and some 60 percent of teens report using Instagram or Snapchat, a 2022 survey found. (Only 30 percent said they used Facebook.) Another survey showed that girls, on average, allot roughly 3.4 hours per day to TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, compared with roughly 2.1 hours among boys. At the same time, more teens are showing signs of depression than ever, especially girls ( SN: 6/30/23 ).

As more studies show a strong link between these phenomena, some researchers are starting to shift their attention to possible mechanisms. Why does social media use seem to trigger mental health problems? Why are those effects unevenly distributed among different groups, such as girls or young adults? And can the positives of social media be teased out from the negatives to provide more targeted guidance to teens, their caregivers and policymakers?

“You can’t design good public policy if you don’t know why things are happening,” says Scott Cunningham, an economist at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Increasing rigor

Concerns over the effects of social media use in children have been circulating for years, resulting in a massive body of scientific literature. But those mostly correlational studies could not show if teen social media use was harming mental health or if teens with mental health problems were using more social media.

Moreover, the findings from such studies were often inconclusive, or the effects on mental health so small as to be inconsequential. In one study that received considerable media attention, psychologists Amy Orben and Andrew Przybylski combined data from three surveys to see if they could find a link between technology use, including social media, and reduced well-being. The duo gauged the well-being of over 355,000 teenagers by focusing on questions around depression, suicidal thinking and self-esteem.

Digital technology use was associated with a slight decrease in adolescent well-being , Orben, now of the University of Cambridge, and Przybylski, of the University of Oxford, reported in 2019 in Nature Human Behaviour . But the duo downplayed that finding, noting that researchers have observed similar drops in adolescent well-being associated with drinking milk, going to the movies or eating potatoes.

Holes have begun to appear in that narrative thanks to newer, more rigorous studies.

In one longitudinal study, researchers — including Orben and Przybylski — used survey data on social media use and well-being from over 17,400 teens and young adults to look at how individuals’ responses to a question gauging life satisfaction changed between 2011 and 2018. And they dug into how the responses varied by gender, age and time spent on social media.

Social media use was associated with a drop in well-being among teens during certain developmental periods, chiefly puberty and young adulthood, the team reported in 2022 in Nature Communications . That translated to lower well-being scores around ages 11 to 13 for girls and ages 14 to 15 for boys. Both groups also reported a drop in well-being around age 19. Moreover, among the older teens, the team found evidence for the Goldilocks Hypothesis: the idea that both too much and too little time spent on social media can harm mental health.

“There’s hardly any effect if you look over everybody. But if you look at specific age groups, at particularly what [Orben] calls ‘windows of sensitivity’ … you see these clear effects,” says L.J. Shrum, a consumer psychologist at HEC Paris who was not involved with this research. His review of studies related to teen social media use and mental health is forthcoming in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

Cause and effect

That longitudinal study hints at causation, researchers say. But one of the clearest ways to pin down cause and effect is through natural or quasi-experiments. For these in-the-wild experiments, researchers must identify situations where the rollout of a societal “treatment” is staggered across space and time. They can then compare outcomes among members of the group who received the treatment to those still in the queue — the control group.

That was the approach Makarin and his team used in their study of Facebook. The researchers homed in on the staggered rollout of Facebook across 775 college campuses from 2004 to 2006. They combined that rollout data with student responses to the National College Health Assessment, a widely used survey of college students’ mental and physical health.

The team then sought to understand if those survey questions captured diagnosable mental health problems. Specifically, they had roughly 500 undergraduate students respond to questions both in the National College Health Assessment and in validated screening tools for depression and anxiety. They found that mental health scores on the assessment predicted scores on the screenings. That suggested that a drop in well-being on the college survey was a good proxy for a corresponding increase in diagnosable mental health disorders. 

Compared with campuses that had not yet gained access to Facebook, college campuses with Facebook experienced a 2 percentage point increase in the number of students who met the diagnostic criteria for anxiety or depression, the team found.

When it comes to showing a causal link between social media use in teens and worse mental health, “that study really is the crown jewel right now,” says Cunningham, who was not involved in that research.

A need for nuance

The social media landscape today is vastly different than the landscape of 20 years ago. Facebook is now optimized for maximum addiction, Shrum says, and other newer platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, have since copied and built on those features. Paired with the ubiquity of social media in general, the negative effects on mental health may well be larger now.

Moreover, social media research tends to focus on young adults — an easier cohort to study than minors. That needs to change, Cunningham says. “Most of us are worried about our high school kids and younger.” 

And so, researchers must pivot accordingly. Crucially, simple comparisons of social media users and nonusers no longer make sense. As Orben and Przybylski’s 2022 work suggested, a teen not on social media might well feel worse than one who briefly logs on. 

Researchers must also dig into why, and under what circumstances, social media use can harm mental health, Cunningham says. Explanations for this link abound. For instance, social media is thought to crowd out other activities or increase people’s likelihood of comparing themselves unfavorably with others. But big data studies, with their reliance on existing surveys and statistical analyses, cannot address those deeper questions. “These kinds of papers, there’s nothing you can really ask … to find these plausible mechanisms,” Cunningham says.

One ongoing effort to understand social media use from this more nuanced vantage point is the SMART Schools project out of the University of Birmingham in England. Pedagogical expert Victoria Goodyear and her team are comparing mental and physical health outcomes among children who attend schools that have restricted cell phone use to those attending schools without such a policy. The researchers described the protocol of that study of 30 schools and over 1,000 students in the July BMJ Open.

Goodyear and colleagues are also combining that natural experiment with qualitative research. They met with 36 five-person focus groups each consisting of all students, all parents or all educators at six of those schools. The team hopes to learn how students use their phones during the day, how usage practices make students feel, and what the various parties think of restrictions on cell phone use during the school day.

Talking to teens and those in their orbit is the best way to get at the mechanisms by which social media influences well-being — for better or worse, Goodyear says. Moving beyond big data to this more personal approach, however, takes considerable time and effort. “Social media has increased in pace and momentum very, very quickly,” she says. “And research takes a long time to catch up with that process.”

Until that catch-up occurs, though, researchers cannot dole out much advice. “What guidance could we provide to young people, parents and schools to help maintain the positives of social media use?” Goodyear asks. “There’s not concrete evidence yet.”

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Exercise Is Great for Mental Health, But How Much Is Too Much?

Karen Cilli is a fact-checker for Verywell Mind. She has an extensive background in research, with 33 years of experience as a reference librarian and educator.

homework negative effects on mental health

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Key Takeaways

  • Intense workouts might be detrimental to mental health, new research has suggested.
  • Memory might also be affected by more intense exercise.
  • Exercise has many benefits, but there's no one-size-fits-all approach—a personalized exercise routine is best.

It's common knowledge that exercise has lots of psychological benefits, but how much is too much? A recent study has suggested that intense workouts could be detrimental to mental health and memory. 

Researchers at Dartmouth University found that, while exercise can have a positive effect on mental health, not all forms and intensities of exercise will be equally effective.

They asked 113 Fitbit users to undertake a series of memory tests and answer questions about their mental health, as well as share exercise data from the previous year.

Understanding the Research

While the researchers expected that higher levels of activity would correlate to better mental health and memory performance, the results weren’t quite so simple.

In fact, those exercising at lower intensities did better on some memory tests, while those exercising at higher intensities did better on others. In terms of mental health, those exercising at higher intensities reported higher levels of stress , while those exercising at lower intensities reported lower levels of anxiety and depression.

Whereas previous research in this area has focused on exercise and memory over shorter timeframes, this research looked at the effects of exercise on memory over the longer term. The data the researchers focused on included daily step counts, average heart rates, and the time spent exercising in different ‘heart rate zones.’

Exercise and Memory

Researchers also saw connections between mental health and memory. Participants who reported anxiety or depression generally performed better on the spatial and associative memory tasks , the types of memory associated with locations, and the ability to remember connections between concepts or other memories respectively.

In comparison, participants who reported bipolar disorder performed better on the episodic memory tasks—this is the type of memory associated with autobiographical events, like what you did yesterday or last weekend. Participants who reported high-stress levels tended to do poorly on the associative memory tasks.

“When it comes to physical activity, memory, and mental health, there’s a really complicated dynamic at play that cannot be summarized in single sentences like ‘walking improves your memory’ or ‘stress hurts your memory,’” said lead author Jeremy Manning, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth University, in a press release . “Instead, specific forms of physical activity and specific aspects of mental health seem to affect each aspect of memory differently.”

Smriti Joshi, lead psychologist at Wysa

You don’t have to push yourself or ‘feel the burn’ to get benefits from exercise, for either physical or mental wellbeing.

In comparison, participants who reported bipolar disorder performed better on the episodic memory tasks – this is the type of memory associated with autobiographical events, like what you did yesterday or last weekend. Participants who reported high stress levels tended to do poorer at the associative memory tasks.

“When it comes to physical activity, memory, and mental health, there’s a really complicated dynamic at play that cannot be summarized in single sentences like ‘walking improves your memory’ or ‘stress hurts your memory,’” said lead author Jeremy Manning, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth University, in a press release .

“Instead, specific forms of physical activity and specific aspects of mental health seem to affect each aspect of memory differently,” says Manning.

Take These Findings With a Grain of Salt

Of course, exercise does bring a number of mental health benefits. Running reduces the risk of depression, for example.

As Elena Touroni, PhD, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic comments, “When you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones, endorphins, and serotonin, which give you a natural energy boost and promote positive feelings in the body. Your body and mind also become better at managing the stress hormone, cortisol.”

She goes on to explain that people often find that exercise is a good release of pent-up energy, helping them break cyclical thoughts and give them a clear head, and that exercising can boost self-esteem too: “The increase in energy can help you feel stronger in yourself and more confident to take on any challenges in your life.” 

Can We Exercise Too Much?

“You don’t have to push yourself or ‘feel the burn’ to get benefits from exercise, for either physical or mental wellbeing,” says Smriti Joshi , lead psychologist at Wysa . 

She explains that there are all sorts of factors that may impact decisions on the type and amount of exercise we do, from our age to our general health. 

Daniela Beivide, PhD

While exposing ourselves to some physical stress during exercise is a good thing, prolonged high-intensity activity can actually keep our nervous system in a 'fight-or-flight' state.

“What is important is to try and be a little more physically active than you are now, and it could mean just doing stretches or going for walks with friends or loved ones regularly. You could choose to build on this and increase the duration or bring in more variety and make it fun,” she says.

“You don’t have to exercise rigorously every day to reap the benefits of exercise,” says Daniela Beivide, PhD , Director of Content, Research, and UX at Holly Health . “Even more accessible movements like walking or gardening cause improvements in mood. Some of the possible mechanisms of this relationship include reduced inflammation, better regulation of the stress response, and increased production of some neurotransmitters such as serotonin.” 

Taking exercising to excess can be harmful too— exercise addiction is a very real issue, and as Joshi explains it can lead to physical complications like injuries, fractures, and amenorrhea , the absence of menstruation. 

Personalized Exercise is Best

While the findings are interesting and pose various questions, there were limitations to the study. For example, the research doesn't answer whether different forms of exercise actively cause changes in memory and mental health, or whether people who partake in certain forms of exercise might have similar memory or mental health profiles.

For example, the fact that people who did higher intensity exercises reported higher levels of stress may indicate nothing more than people who are more stressed trying to release more energy through higher-intensity exercise. 

Manning went on to say that additional research could be beneficial: “For example, to help students prepare for an exam or reduce their depression symptoms, specific exercise regimens could be designed to help improve their cognitive performance and mental health.”

“The findings of the study show that everyone has unique needs, strengths, and challenges, and it’s worth taking a personalized approach to exercise,” says Joshi. “Whether that’s by working with a trained professional, or just listening to your body and doing more of what makes you feel physically and mentally stronger."

“It might not be that the actual quantity or intensity of the exercise isn’t right, but the ‘why’ behind it. If it’s to punish yourself for eating something, to keep up with that person you saw on Instagram, or because you’re addicted to it, those are negative signs.”

Beivide agrees, explaining that intense physical activity is a form of stress in itself. “While exposing ourselves to some physical stress during exercise is a good thing, prolonged high-intensity activity can actually keep our nervous system in a 'fight-or-flight' state, which is what happens when we are going through a stressful situation.”

She stresses the importance of a balance between physical challenges and resting, the latter calming our nervous system and helping us go back to “a state of ‘rest and digest,’ which helps calm the mind and improve cognitive function.”

What This Means For You

Exercise is good for us, but that doesn't mean we should always be pushing ourselves to the extreme. When it comes to mental wellness it's all about balance. Rest is important too, as is considering the type of exercise you're doing. Less intense forms of exercise can be just as effective—and as this study shows, might be more suitable for some people.

Manning JR, Notaro GM, Chen E, Fitzpatrick PC. Fitness tracking reveals task-specific associations between memory, mental health, and physical activity .  Sci Rep . 2022;12(1):13822. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-17781-0

Choi KW, Chen CY, Stein MB, et al. Assessment of bidirectional relationships between physical activity and depression among adults: A 2-sample mendelian randomization study .  JAMA Psychiatry . 2019;76(4):399-408. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4175

How Social Media May Benefit Teens’ Mental Health

homework negative effects on mental health

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We hear a lot about how social media is terrible for teenagers’ mental health. A growing number of laws and lawsuits point the finger at social media companies as playing a major role in driving the youth mental health crisis.

Among the many common criticisms: Social media invites unhealthy comparisons with peers that leave users feeling inadequate and dissatisfied with their lives. The platforms are addictive and teens use them at the expense of personal relationships, schoolwork, and sleep. Social media bombards impressionable minds with false and disturbing information. And, finally, critics say it provides another avenue for bullies to terrorize their victims.

But those issues make up only one side of the coin, said Chelsea Olson, who works at the University of Wisconsin as a researcher in the pediatrics department and is a member of the university’s Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team.

“There’s both benefits and risks of social media,” Olson said, as there are for most activities teens engage in.

To learn more about how social media can benefit teens’ wellbeing—especially for certain groups of kids—Education Week spoke with Olson by phone. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What do you see as some of the biggest benefits to teens and adolescents using social media?

021624 chelsea olson BS

Two that I often mention are social connection and social support. [Social media] allows youth to connect with people near and far, create friendships, maintain those friendships, stay in touch with family who live far away. And then they can also participate in larger networks based on interests, such as fandoms.

And then social media offers a venue for social support: Seeking social support and receiving that on social media has been found to alleviate depressive symptoms and, and help teens feel better about themselves. Facebook has support groups; often there’s anonymous groups through Reddit, et cetera.

Then another one is that social media just offers so many learning opportunities and information-seeking opportunities. Teens can seek information about their own relationships, like [with] peers or families. They can seek health information, information about their identity, information for school. It’s a really cool venue to seek information.

Other benefits that we [researchers] talk about:

  • Creative expression. Teens can express themselves creatively through posts and photos, sharing art, music, et cetera.
  • Civic engagement. It allows teens to be involved in civic duties and practice those civic duties online and be involved in advocacy and activism and raising money and encouraging or getting involved in the political process.
  • And then, identity development. Allowing teens to engage in identity tasks that they’re already going through. Because in adolescence they’re developing a coherent sense of identity that’s separate from others and their parents. They can use social media to work on those tasks so they can showcase or explore parts of themselves and get feedback from others. I don’t know if safe is the right word that I’m looking for, but like a safer space to express oneself and get some feedback.

In some contexts, it could be a safer space. Talk to me about LGBTQ youth, because I think that’s probably a really good example of this.

So obviously LGBTQI+ youth face a number of challenges like stigma, discrimination. They are at a higher risk for experiencing bullying. They also might experience safety issues or hostile environments at home, in the school. And because of all of those things, they report higher mental health distress. And so social media is a way that they can find community, they can connect with others, they can learn about themselves, they can seek resources online. Social media can actually be like a lifeline for these youth, especially if they’re experiencing those negative things in person.

It could also be youth with chronic illnesses, especially illnesses that are rare or complicated. They might be able to go find others who are experiencing the same thing, getting that peer connection or peer support on social media, joining support groups, accessing information about their illness that they may not be able to find elsewhere.

Another one is youth who are socially anxious about interacting in person can use social media and the internet to practice those skills.

A counter argument you’d hear to that is: “Well, they need to get offline and get over it and build those skills in the real world.” How would you respond to somebody who says that?

Research has found that adolescents who aren’t socially anxious, who have really rich social communities offline, tend to take those communities online where they augment their offline communities. It’s kind of like the rich get richer, where they’re already succeeding offline and they take those interactions online and only strengthen them.

Research has also shown that socially anxious kids, ones that are struggling offline, can go online and practice those skills and then hopefully take them offline as well.

What do educators need to be doing to help kids reap these benefits of social media while avoiding the risks?

Modeling [positive social media use] is really important.

A really cool resource is Common Sense Media . They have specifically for educators a curriculum that’s free to use and research-backed.

Another resource is the American Academy of Pediatrics’ family media plan . Families can develop plans with teens and set those boundaries. Involving youth and their thoughts and perspectives and ideas is really important because if we involve youth, they’re more likely to follow those boundaries or goals.

I think media literacy, digital citizenship skills would be really important to add to curriculum in schools, just because social media is here to stay. Teaching those things early and ensuring that teens have those tools and skills would be essential to ensuring that they’re using technology positively in the future.

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The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health in Students

  • Mental Health Insights: Dr. Sean Gorby on Counseling and School Resources
  • Promoting Mental Health Awareness: Engaging in Vital Discussions with Your Student

Douglas T. Buzenski, LPCC-S  Psychotherapist, Capital University

Social media has changed the way we interact with our fellow human beings, and this is especially true for those of a traditional college age. Our stage in life and our age at introduction to social media can’t help but have some influence on the ways in which we are impacted.  In 2004 Facebook became a thing and in 2007 the introduction of smart phones allowed access to the internet at any time and nearly anyplace. This is a long way from the agonizing AOL dial up while being tethered to the home computer. The arrival on the scene of Facebook and smartphones means that traditional college students today have not known life without the existence of social media. 

For college students, who are already navigating the challenges of academic pressure, social relationships, and personal development, the pervasive influence of social media can significantly impact their mental health. I think our minds often go straight to the negative impact of social media, but let’s begin with some possible positive effects.

Positive Effects of Social Media on College Students' Mental Health

  • Connection and Support: Social media platforms provide an avenue for college students to connect with family, friends, and peers. This is especially true during times of physical separation, such as going away to college, or having friends leave for their respective universities. Having an online support network can offer comfort, and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can all help ease the transition into college.
  • Information and Awareness: Social media can allow college students to stay informed about various current events, mental health issues, self-care techniques, and resources for seeking help. Online communities, at times, can also create safe spaces for individuals to share their struggles and experiences, fostering a sense of belonging.
  • Expression and Creativity: Social media platforms can serve as creative outlets for college students to express themselves through art, music, writing, or videos. Engaging in creative endeavors can promote positive mental well-being and self-esteem.

Negative Effects of Social Media on College Students' Mental Health

  • FOMO: The fear of missing out (FOMO) on exciting events or opportunities can lead to a sense of inadequacy and loneliness and can create pressure to feel like the student must attend every event.
  • Comparison: The prevalence of social media has fed into the ability to compare oneself to others. This can lead to anxiety and a lack of self-confidence. When we compare ourselves to what we see on social media we are generally comparing ourselves to postings of people doing things they enjoy and posting the best shots from those often-ideal activities.
  • Cyberbullying and Harassment: Social media platforms can expose students to cyberbullying, harassment, or negative comments. Such online abuse can severely impact self-esteem, at times leading to anxiety and depression.
  • Sleep Disruptions: Excessive use of social media, especially before bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns among students. Inadequate sleep can lead to increased stress and a decline in overall mental health.
  • Addiction and Time Management: Constant engagement with social media may lead to a lack of time management or even addiction, thus impacting academic performance and overall well-being.
  • Filtered Reality: The selective and curated nature of social media posts often creates a filtered and idealized reality. This discrepancy between online and offline lives can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and contribute to anxiety and depression.

Mitigating the Negative Effects

  • Digital Well-being Education: Students can educate themselves about responsible social media usage, the impact of online behavior, and strategies to maintain a healthy balance between virtual and real-life interactions.
  • Cultivating Offline Connections: Encouraging students to build meaningful offline relationships and engage in activities outside of social media can strengthen their sense of belonging to their community and reduce the negative effects of online comparison.
  • Encouraging Mindfulness Practices: Incorporating mindfulness and stress reduction techniques can help students manage the pressures of social media and academic life more effectively. The students will improve their ability to control what they can control and to live in the present reality.
  • Limiting Screen Time: Setting boundaries and limiting excessive screen time can help students reduce the negative impact of social media on their mental health and leave room for improvements in other areas of their lives.

Social media undoubtedly plays a significant role in the lives of college students, offering both positive connections and detrimental influences on their mental health. While it provides opportunities for support and self-expression, the negative effects of social comparison, cyberbullying, and addiction can be detrimental. By fostering a balanced approach to social media usage and promoting digital well-being, students can empower themselves and learn to navigate the digital landscape while prioritizing their mental health and overall well-being.

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February 22, 2024

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Analysis finds discrimination impairs mental health directly and indirectly

by Linda Schädler, Universität Mannheim

discriminate

Up to now, there was some indication that discrimination negatively affects a person's mental health and well-being. With a meta study, female researchers of the University of Mannheim show the clear negative effects of discrimination for the first time.

The systematic meta study by Christine Emmer, Julia Dorn, and Professor Dr. Jutta Mata, holder of the chair of Health Psychology at the University of Mannheim, has been published in the Psychological Bulletin . The results show that discrimination directly and indirectly impairs mental health.

Discrimination has the greatest effect on aspects like rage and hostility—reactions that target other people. The work on the current state of research includes 73 experimental studies with more than 12,000 participants.

"Until now, there were individual studies that pointed out that discrimination impairs mental health and well-being. The current meta study combines all research and shows this effect very clearly," says Emmer, the first author of the study. Numerous experiments confirm the results of the study. By analyzing many different experiments—with all their advantages and disadvantages—researchers are able to make the best estimate of the actual effect.

Surprisingly, the greatest effect could be observed when participants remembered actual events or were witnesses when others were discriminated against—and not when participants were discriminated against in the laboratory. It was not the derogatory comments made by the investigator in the laboratory that impaired mental health, but the personal memory of a situation or the observation of other people's experiences of discrimination. This shows that discrimination not only leaves a strong impression on the memory, but also on people's well-being.

Discrimination is understood as the unfair treatment of people on the basis of their actual or perceived membership of social groups. Sexism towards women or racism towards ethnic minorities considerably impaired their mental health. In contrast, discrimination against people who are rarely marginalized in everyday life and experience it primarily as unfair treatment in individual cases—for example, artificially in the laboratory—has no measurable effect on mental health. Examples of this are sexism towards men or racism towards privileged ethnic majorities.

The strongest direct negative impact on mental health had discrimination based on sexual orientation. There are too few studies for a systematic analyses of other forms of discrimination, such as for example, religion or disability, says Mata. "There is simply still a lot of research to be done here."

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IMAGES

  1. The Mental Health Impact of Excessive Homework on Students

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  3. Are You Aware of These Pitfalls of Homework?

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  1. Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

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  2. Health Hazards of Homework

    A new study by the Stanford Graduate School of Education and colleagues found that students in high-performing schools who did excessive hours of homework "experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.". Those health problems ranged from ...

  3. Why Homework is Bad: Stress and Consequences

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  4. Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

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  5. Is homework a necessary evil?

    Homework can indeed produce academic benefits, such as increased understanding and retention of the material, says Duke University social psychologist Harris Cooper, PhD, one of the nation's leading homework researchers. But not all students benefit.

  6. More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research

    Research Stories Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative impacts on student well-being and behavioral engagement (Shutterstock) More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research suggests

  7. Barriers Associated with the Implementation of Homework in Youth Mental

    Introduction. Homework, or between-session practice of skills learned during therapy, is one of the most integral, yet underutilized components of high-quality, evidence-based mental health care (Kazantzis & Deane, 1999).Homework activities (e.g., self-monitoring, relaxation, exposure, parent behavior management) are assigned by providers in-session and completed by patients between sessions ...

  8. PDF Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

    Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold, says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health ...

  9. If We're Serious About Student Well-Being, We Must Change ...

    Research shows that excessive homework leads to increased stress, physical health problems and a lack of balance in students' lives. And studies have shown that more than two hours of daily homework can be counterproductive, yet many teachers assign more.. Homework proponents argue that homework improves academic performance. Indeed, a meta-analysis of research on this issue found a ...

  10. Infographic: How Does Homework Actually Affect Students?

    Homework can affect both students' physical and mental health. According to a study by Stanford University, 56 per cent of students considered homework a primary source of stress. Too much homework can result in lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion and weight loss.

  11. Homework can be bad for your mental health. Should we get rid of it?

    Chinese schoolgirl uses robot to do her homework. Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold, says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big ...

  12. Is Homework Necessary? Education Inequity and Its Impact on Students

    Beyond the logistical issues, homework can negatively impact physical health and stress — and once again this may be a more significant problem among economically disadvantaged youth who typically already have a higher stress level than peers from more financially stable families.

  13. How does homework affect students?

    Also, they experience depression and anxiety. The pressure to attend all classes, finish the much homework, as well as have time to make social connections cripples them. How can parents help with homework? Being an active parent in the life of your child goes a long way towards promoting the health and well-being of children.

  14. Workload and Mental Well-Being of Homeworkers

    Hence, the negative indirect effects of workload on mental well-being are higher than the positive direct effect of these two variables; as a result, the total effect of the relationship between workload and mental well-being, calculated as the sum of direct and indirect effects, is therefore negative (β = −0.12; P < 0.001; CI, −0.14 to ...

  15. When Is Homework Stressful? Its Effects on Students' Mental Health

    Anxiety level Homework stress can increase anxiety levels and that could hurt the blood pressure norms in young people. Do you know? Around 3.5% of young people in the USA have high blood pressure. So why is homework stressful for children when homework is meant to be enjoyable and something they look forward to doing?

  16. How Homework Is Destroying Teens' Health

    The mental effects of homework can be harmful as well. Mental health issues are often ignored, even when schools can be the root of the problem. An article from USA Today contained a quote from a licensed therapist and social worker named Cynthia Catchings, which reads, " heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the ...

  17. Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

    Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace, says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression.

  18. How Does Homework Affect Students Mental Health

    Sleep deprivation is one of the most common negative effects of homework. The body requires an average of at least 7 hours of sleep daily, most scholars end up getting barely 5 hours of sleep daily due to taking on their homework late into the night. Missing out on sleep affects both mental and physical health.

  19. Homework, sleep insufficiency and adolescent ...

    However, excessive homework burden may have negative effects on adolescents' psychological functioning, such as depression, anxiety and various behavioral problems (Galloway et al., 2013; Nair et al., 2017; Yeo et al., 2020). ... Besides the direct effects on adolescent mental health, high homework burdens may indirectly influence mental health ...

  20. Addressing Student Mental Health Through the Lens of Homework Stress

    Abstract Homework is a pervasive and controversial practice, and a common culprit for producing academic stress in students. While there are many arguments for and against this practice, this study sought to examine the underlying rationale for homework, the various experiences of

  21. Homework Affecting Mental Health

    The negative effects of excessive homework on mental health are well-documented, with studies consistently pointing to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression among students. The pressure to complete assignments, meet deadlines, and excel academically can lead to a detrimental impact on students' overall well-being.

  22. The Mental Health Impact of Excessive Homework on Students

    Conclusion. In conclusion, excessive homework can have a detrimental effect on students' mental health. It is important for students to find a balance between schoolwork and leisure activities, and parents can play an important role in helping their children manage their workloads. By discussing expectations and setting limits on homework ...

  23. Here's why homework is bad according to research

    Negative impact on mental health. One reason why homework is bad is that it can have a negative impact on students' mental health. Excessive homework has been linked to increased stress, anxiety ...

  24. Social media harms teens' mental health, mounting evidence shows. What now?

    Paired with the ubiquity of social media in general, the negative effects on mental health may well be larger now. Moreover, social media research tends to focus on young adults — an easier ...

  25. Too Much Exercise May Have Negative Effect on Mental Health

    A recent study has suggested that intense workouts could be detrimental to mental health and memory. Researchers at Dartmouth University found that, while exercise can have a positive effect on mental health, not all forms and intensities of exercise will be equally effective. They asked 113 Fitbit users to undertake a series of memory tests ...

  26. How Social Media May Benefit Teens' Mental Health

    And then social media offers a venue for social support: Seeking social support and receiving that on social media has been found to alleviate depressive symptoms and, and help teens feel better ...

  27. The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health in Students

    Negative Effects of Social Media on College Students' Mental Health. FOMO: The fear of missing out (FOMO) on exciting events or opportunities can lead to a sense of inadequacy and loneliness and can create pressure to feel like the student must attend every event. Comparison: The prevalence of social media has fed into the ability to compare ...

  28. Analysis finds discrimination impairs mental health directly and indirectly

    The results show that discrimination directly and indirectly impairs mental health. Discrimination has the greatest effect on aspects like rage and hostility—reactions that target other people ...

  29. Living in violent neighborhoods affects children's brain development

    However, nurturing parents can help protect kids against these detrimental effects, according to the study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology. "Decades of research has shown that growing up in neighborhoods with concentrated disadvantage can predict negative academic, behavioral and mental health outcomes in children and teens.