Behavioral and mental impact of school reopening during the COVID-19 post-pandemic in elementary school students under Bangkok metropolitan administration: A Cross-Sectional Study

Main Article Content

Sawinee Wongsettee
Passaporn Lorterapong


Objective: This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of behavioral and mental health challenges in Thai primary school children post-school reopening in the 2022 academic year during the COVID-19 post-pandemic

Method: This cross-sectional study was conducted among elementary school students aged 6 - 12 years in randomly selected public schools within the educational institutions under the Office of Primary Education District 1 (Ratchathewi, Phayathai, Dusit) of Bangkok, Thailand, after the onset of Semester 1 in 2022. The survey period spanned from January to March 2023. The Thai version of the parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was used to evaluate children's mental health and behaviors by primary caregivers. Pearson Chi-Square, Fisher’s Exact Test, and multivariable logistic regression models were applied for analyzing associated factors.

Results: A total of 430 Students underwent assessment.  Most children (69.3%) were aged 6 - 9 (grades 1 - 3), with almost equal gender representation. Our results indicated that 9.8% of children exhibited behavioral and mental health issues following the 2022 school year commencement. Prevalent difficulties included peer relationship (11.2%), hyperactivity/inattention (10.9%), emotional (8.8%), and conduct problems (7.4%). Although peer relationship problems did not associate significantly with any of the factors, Hyperactivity/inattention problems associate with children who had underlying psychological conditions (OR = 6.74). Emotional issues were associated with sleep disturbances and partial assisting of parents during online courses. Additionally, conduct problems were linked with inadequate online learning access (OR = 3.42) and having child - caregiver conflict (OR=10.11).

Conclusion: Thai primary school children faced various emotional and behavioral challenges upon the reopening of schools in Semester 1 of the 2022 academic year following the COVID-19 pandemic. Key issues included peer relationship problems and hyperactivity/inattention behaviors. These challenges were associated with mental health difficulties, sleep disturbances, inadequate parental support for online learning, and conflicts with parents. Continuous research tracking pre- and post-pandemic mental health changes is crucial for addressing these concerns. Effective support from the government, communities, schools, and families is necessary to facilitate a smoother transition for students returning to physical classrooms and address emotional and behavioral problems.

Article Details

How to Cite
Wongsettee, S., & Lorterapong, P. . (2024). Behavioral and mental impact of school reopening during the COVID-19 post-pandemic in elementary school students under Bangkok metropolitan administration: A Cross-Sectional Study. Journal of the Psychiatric Association of Thailand, 69(1), 32–44. Retrieved from
Original Articles
Author Biography

Sawinee Wongsettee, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University

Department of child and adolescent psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University


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