As children transition back to the classroom this school year, Virginia Tech child psychologist says that teachers could see significant increases in anxiety, depression, irritability, and aggression in children.

Rosanna Breaux, assistant professor of Psychology and director of the Child Study Center at Virginia Tech, points to her recent studies examining children’s mental health during the pandemic and their classroom performance.

“We have definitely seen a huge increase in referrals for assessments for academic and social-emotional concerns in children and adolescents in our community,” said Breaux. “This reflects research suggesting that about a third of children have worse emotional health during the pandemic and articles suggesting increased rates of disruptive behavior and anxiety since the start of school in fall 2021.”

Breaux encourages families to help meet their children where they are at. “We should not be focused on where they should be for their grade level, but instead recognize that they have missed something and as a family work together - ideally with their teachers - to help support them in learning what they missed due to the gaps and disruptions in their schooling during the pandemic.”

Read more about Breaux’s recent research studies here.

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To secure a live or recorded interview with Rosanna Breaux, contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at or 703-399-9494.

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