Abrupt introduction of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: what psychological impact on teachers?


  • Hanane Aissaoui Mohammed First University Oujda, FMP Oujda, LERCSP, 60000, Oujda, Morocco. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5352-6629
  • Mariam ATASSI Mohammed First University Oujda, FMP Oujda, LERCSP, 60000, Oujda, Morocco.
  • Mohammed amine Bouazzaoui Mohammed First University Oujda, FMP Oujda, LERCSP, 60000, Oujda, Morocco.
  • Asmae lekfif Mohammed First University Oujda, FMP Oujda, LERCSP, 60000, Oujda, Morocco.
  • Asmae Yeznasni Mohammed First University Oujda, FMP Oujda, LERCSP, 60000, Oujda, Morocco.
  • Sanae Sabbar Mohammed First University Oujda, FMP Oujda, LERCSP, 60000, Oujda, Morocco.
  • Naima Abda Mohammed First University Oujda, FMP Oujda, LERCSP, 60000, Oujda, Morocco.




Distance learning, Teachers, Psychological impact, Confinement, COVID-19


Background: As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic appeared, the Moroccan education ministry decided to adopt distance learning (DL). Our target was to study the psychological impact of DL on Moroccan teachers during the pandemic.

Method: This cross-sectional study used an online questionnaire based on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

Results: Among 148 responses,64.9% were women, and the average age was 41.1±11.5 years. 79.1% participated in DL, 58.8% were required to acquire DL tools and 71.6% had never received DL training. Between the start and the end of confinement, we noticed a decrease in the motivation of teachers.36.2% had definite depressive symptomatology and 41.3% had certain anxiety symptomatology with a significant predominance in women. The frequencies of depression and anxiety were higher in those who had participated in DL, but the association was not significant. Depression was significantly frequent among teachers who were obliged to acquire tools to practice DL p=0.02, those who had never received training DL p=0.046, and those who were not satisfied with the situation p=0.03.

Conclusion: We didn’t find a direct association between DL and anxiety and depression, which the small sample size may explain, but we did find an association with the variables related to DL.

Download data is not yet available.


Thombs BD, Bonardi O, Rice DB, Boruff JT, Azar M, He C, et al. Curating evidence on mental health during COVID-19: A living systematic review. J Psychosom Res. 2020 Jun;133:110113. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2020.110113

Advice for the public on COVID-19 – World Health Organization [Internet]. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Ahmady S, Kallestrup P, Sadoughi MM, Katibeh M, Kalantarion M, Amini M, et al. Distance learning strategies in medical education during COVID-19: A systematic review. J Educ Health Promot. 2021;10:421.

Peraya D. Distance learning: a device of mediatized formation and communication. An approach to the processes of mediatization and mediation. Calidoscópio. 2006 Sep 1;4:200–4.

Bentata Y. COVID 2019 pandemic: a true digital revolution and birth of a new educational era, or an ephemeral phenomenon? Med Educ Online. 2020 Jan 1;25(1):1781378. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10872981.2020.1781378

Nkodila AN, Mbendi CN, Tukadila HAK, Managa GL, Lukanu PN, Longo BM.

Psychological Consequence of the Corona Virus Disease Pandemic in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Survey

. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2021 May 24;14:2163–70. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S300505

Wang C, Pan R, Wan X, Tan Y, Xu L, Ho CS, et al. Immediate Psychological Responses and Associated Factors during the Initial Stage of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Epidemic among the General Population in China. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan;17(5):1729. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051729

Saladino V, Algeri D, Auriemma V. The Psychological and Social Impact of Covid-19: New Perspectives of Well-Being. Front Psychol [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2022 Apr 20];11. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577684 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577684

Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, Woodland L, Wessely S, Greenberg N, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. Lancet Lond Engl. 2020 Mar 14;395(10227):912–20. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30460-8

Kim LE, Asbury K. ‘Like a rug had been pulled from under you’: The impact of COVID-19 on teachers in England during the first six weeks of the UK lockdown. Br J Educ Psychol. 2020;90(4):1062–83. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12381

Delgado-Gallegos JL, Padilla-Rivas GR, Zuñiga-Violante E, Avilés-Rodriguez G, Arellanos-Soto D, Villareal HF, et al. Teaching Anxiety, Stress and Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evaluating the Vulnerability of Academic Professionals in Mexico Through the Adapted COVID-19 Stress Scales. Front Public Health. 2021 May 10;9:669057. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.669057

Akour A, Al-Tammemi AB, Barakat M, Kanj R, Fakhouri HN, Malkawi A, et al. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Emergency Distance Teaching on the Psychological Status of University Teachers: A Cross-Sectional Study in Jordan. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Oct 27;103(6):2391–9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.20-0877

Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) - Article de revue - INRS [Internet]. [cited 2022 Apr 21]. Available from: https://www.inrs.fr/media.html?refINRS=FRPS%2013

Lépine JP, Godchau M, Brun P, Lempérière Th. Évaluation de l’anxiété et de la dépression chez des patients hospitalisés dans un service de médecine interne. [Anxiety and depression evaluation in patients hospitalized in an internal medicine unit.]. Ann Méd-Psychol. 1985;143(2):175–89.

Singer S, Kuhnt S, Götze H, Hauss J, Hinz A, Liebmann A, et al. Hospital anxiety and depression scale cutoff scores for cancer patients in acute care. Br J Cancer. 2009 Mar;100(6):908–12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjc.6604952

Stachteas P, Stachteas Ch. The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on secondary school teachers. Psychiatriki. 2020 Oct 1;31(4):293–301. DOI: https://doi.org/10.22365/jpsych.2020.314.293

Qiu J, Shen B, Zhao M, Wang Z, Xie B, Xu Y. A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: implications and policy recommendations. Gen Psychiatry. 2020 Mar;33(2):e100213. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/gpsych-2020-100213

Mukhtar S. Pakistanis’ mental health during the COVID-19. Asian J Psychiatry. 2020 Jun 1;51:102127. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102127

Almeida M, Shrestha AD, Stojanac D, Miller LJ. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s mental health. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2020 Dec;23(6):741–8. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-020-01092-2

Sareen J, Erickson J, Medved MI, Asmundson GJ, Enns MW, Stein M, Leslie W, Doupe M, Logsetty S. Risk factors for post-injury mental health problems. Depress Anxiety. 2013 Apr;30(4):321-7. doi: 10.1002/da.22077. Epub 2013 Feb 13. PMID: 23408506. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22077

Özdin S, Bayrak Özdin Ş. Levels and predictors of anxiety, depression and health anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic in Turkish society: The importance of gender. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2020 Aug;66(5):504–11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764020927051

Straus E, Uhlig L, Kühnel J, Korunka C. Remote workers’ well-being, perceived productivity, and engagement: which resources should HRM improve during COVID-19? A longitudinal diary study. Int J Hum Resour Manag. 2022 May 16;1–31. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2022.2075235

Hayes S, Priestley JL, Ishmakhametov N, Ray HE. “I’m not Working from Home, I’m Living at Work”: Perceived Stress and Work-Related Burnout before and during COVID-19 [Internet]. PsyArXiv; 2020 [cited 2021 Jul 27]. Available from: https://psyarxiv.com/vnkwa/ DOI: https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/vnkwa

Wohlfart O, Trumler T, Wagner I. The unique effects of Covid-19 – A qualitative study of the factors that influence teachers’ acceptance and usage of digital tools. Educ Inf Technol [Internet]. 2021 Jun 1 [cited 2021 Jul 26]; Available from: https://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10639-021-10574-4 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-021-10574-4

Panisoara IO, Lazar I, Panisoara G, Chirca R, Ursu AS. Motivation and Continuance Intention towards Online Instruction among Teachers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Mediating Effect of Burnout and Technostress. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan;17(21):8002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218002




How to Cite

Aissaoui, H., ATASSI, M., Bouazzaoui, M. amine, lekfif, A., Yeznasni, A., Sabbar, S., & Abda, N. (2024). Abrupt introduction of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: what psychological impact on teachers?. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 14(12). https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2023.2786



Original Articles