Migrant Students’ Sense of Belonging and the Covid‐19 Pandemic: Implications for Educational Inclusion

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Migrant Students’ Sense of Belonging and the Covid‐19 Pandemic: Implications for Educational Inclusion


  • Nikolett Szelei Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Ines Devlieger Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy, Ghent University, Belgium
  • An Verelst Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Caroline Spaas Parenting and Special Education Research Unit, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Signe Smith Jervelund Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Nina Langer Primdahl Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Morten Skovdal Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Marianne Opaas Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Norway
  • Natalie Durbeej Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Fatumo Osman Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden / School of Health and Welfare, Dalarna University, Sweden
  • Emma Soye School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex, UK
  • Hilde Colpin School Psychology and Development in Context Research Unit, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Lucia De Haene Parenting and Special Education Research Unit, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Sanni Aalto Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland
  • Reeta Kankaanpää Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland
  • Kirsi Peltonen Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland / Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Turku, Finland / INVEST Research Flagship Center, University of Turku, Finland
  • Arnfinn J. Andersen Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Norway
  • Per Kristian Hilden Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Norway
  • Charles Watters School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex, UK
  • Ilse Derluyn Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy, Ghent University, Belgium


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Abstract:  This article investigates school belonging among migrant students and how this changed during the Covid‐19 pandemic. Drawing on quantitative data gathered from 751 migrant students in secondary schools in six European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the UK), we examined the impact of Covid‐19 school closures, social support, and post‐traumatic stress symptoms on changes in school belonging. Linear regression showed a non‐significant decrease in school belonging, and none of the studied variables had a significant effect on this change in our whole sample. However, sensitivity analysis on a subsample from three countries (Denmark, Finland, and the UK) showed a small but significant negative effect of increasing post‐traumatic stress symptoms on school belonging during Covid‐19 school closures. Given that scholarship on school belonging during Covid‐19 is emergent, this study delineates some key areas for future research on the relationship between wellbeing, school belonging, and inclusion.

Keywords:  Covid‐19; inclusion; migrants; post‐traumatic stress; school belonging; social support

Published:  


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v10i2.5106


© Nikolett Szelei, Ines Devlieger, An Verelst, Caroline Spaas, Signe Smith Jervelund, Nina Langer Primdahl, Morten Skovdal, Marianne Opaas, Natalie Durbeej, Fatumo Osman, Emma Soye, Hilde Colpin, Lucia De Haene, Sanni Aalto, Reeta Kankaanpää, Kirsi Peltonen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.