Stress and mental health in education

BSRS921 Stress and mental health in education

Spring 2024

  • Topics

    According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), mental and neurological disorders affect half of the global population at some point in their lives, with far-reaching consequences. Mental health issues not only have a profound impact on individuals but also on economies, leading to over 4% of global GDP loss and ranking as the leading cause of disability worldwide.

    Young people are disproportionately affected by these challenges, with approximately three-quarters of mental health disorders manifesting by the age of 24. Findings from the 2015 National College Health Assessment in the United States revealed that three out of every four college students report experiencing stress during their college years. Furthermore, one in five college students reported having thoughts related to stress-induced suicidal ideation (Liu, C. H., et al., 2019; American Psychological Association, 2020). These early-life struggles can predict future mental health diagnoses and interfere with human capital accumulation and success in the labor market.

    This course will delve into the current economics research related to the rise and effects of stress and mental health issues in education. We will draw from the psychology literature to understand the mechanisms behind the effects of stress. Our main focus will be on the economic consequences of stress and mental health issues in what pertains to educational access and success.

  • Learning outcome

    Upon completion of the course, the candidate can:


    • Critically reflect on the different identification strategies used to assess the effects of stress and mental health issues on educational outcomes.
    • Identify the mechanisms behind how stress affects educational outcomes based on the psychology literature.


    • Formulate their own idea on a research project related to stress and mental health in education.
    • Write a referee report on a current working paper related to the course topics.
    • Apply econometric techniques/advanced methodologies to analyze stress and mental health in education.

    General competence

    • Explain current findings of the state-of-the-art research in economics on the causes and effects of stress and mental health issues.

  • Teaching

    The teaching will involve plenary lectures in the different topics covered in the course. In addition, students will choose a topic of interest individually or in groups, formulate a research question, and develop the written document outlining the identification strategy, data and empirical approach to be used to answer the research question. In the case of experiments, the document will develop the design the experiment, details of the hypotheses to be tested, and plan for analysis of the data collected.

  • Restricted access

    1. Candidates currently enrolled in a PhD programme 
    2. Junior researchers — including those in their last stages of their master programme, with extensive working experience, and those who have recently completed their PhD, or are enrolled in a post-doc programme.

    Please note that you have to apply by 1 February 2024 to Bergen Summer Research School by using this form : (copy url).

  • Recommended prerequisites

    PhD level course in econometrics.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap


  • Compulsory Activity

    Participation in the course-specific modules, plenary events and roundtables.

  • Assessment

    Participation at the BSRS is credited under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Participants submitting an essay, in a form of a publishable manuscript of 10-20 pages, after the end of the summer school will receive  10 ECTS . Deadline for submission will be decided by your course leader.

    It is also possible to participate without producing an essay. This will give you  5 ECTS . In order to receive credits, we expect full participation in the course-specific modules, plenary events and roundtables.

  • Grading Scale


  • Literature

    Acampora, M., Capozza, F., & Moghani, V. (2022). Mental Health Literacy, Beliefs and Demand for Mental Health Support among University Students (No. 22-079/I). Tinbergen Institute.

    Allcott, H., Braghieri, L., Eichmeyer, S., & Gentzkow, M. (2020). The welfare effects of social media. American Economic Review110(3), 629-676.

    Beilock, S. (2011). Choke. Hachette UK.

    Braghieri, L., Levy, R. E., & Makarin, A. (2022). Social media and mental health. American Economic Review112(11), 3660-3693.

    Cahlíková, J., Cingl, L., & Levely, I. (2020). How stress affects performance and competitiveness across gender. Management Science66(8), 3295-3310.

    Cai, X., Lu, Y., Pan, J., & Zhong, S. (2019). Gender gap under pressure: evidence from China's National College entrance examination. Review of Economics and Statistics101(2), 249-263.

    Cassar, L., Fischer, M., & Valero, V. (2022). Keep calm and carry on: The short-vs. long-run effects of mindfulness meditation on (academic) performance (No. 15723). IZA Discussion Papers.

    Cavatorta, E., Grassi, S., & Lambiris, M. (2021). Digital antianxiety treatment and cognitive performance: An experimental study. European Economic Review132, 103636.

    Franco, C. and I. Skarpeid (2023). Gender differences in performance at the top of the distribution. Technical report.

    Franco, C. and M. Gomez-Ruiz (2023). Bridging the Gender Gap in Access to STEM through In-Exam Stress Management. Technical report.

    Hangen, E. J., Elliot, A. J., & Jamieson, J. P. (2019). Stress reappraisal during a mathematics competition: Testing effects on cardiovascular approach-oriented states and exploring the moderating role of gender. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping32(1), 95-108.

    Harris, R. B., Grunspan, D. Z., Pelch, M. A., Fernandes, G., Ramirez, G., & Freeman, S. (2019). Can test anxiety interventions alleviate a gender gap in an undergraduate STEM course?. CBE—Life Sciences Education18(3), ar35.

    Jamieson, J. P., Crum, A. J., Goyer, J. P., Marotta, M. E., & Akinola, M. (2018). Optimizing stress responses with reappraisal and mindset interventions: An integrated model. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping31(3), 245-261.

    Jamieson, J. P., Mendes, W. B., Blackstock, E., & Schmader, T. (2010). Turning the knots in your stomach into bows: Reappraising arousal improves performance on the GRE. Journal of experimental social psychology46(1), 208-212.

    Ramirez, G., & Beilock, S. L. (2011). Writing about testing worries boosts exam performance in the classroom. science331(6014), 211-213.

    Shreekumar, A., & Vautrey, P. L. (2022). Managing emotions: The effects of online mindfulness meditation on mental health and economic behavior. Tech. Rep., MIT.

  • Permitted Support Material

    Students develop their proposals at home using any materials necessary.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered Spring 2024.

Course responsible

Catalina Franco, Researcher, Center for Applied Research (SNF) at NHH