Motivation to Study During COVID-19 as a Function of Parent Marital Status

Nitza Davidovitch, Emilia Pesahov, Yoav Hatzor, Ruth Dorot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic brought the learning process into the home and family space, such that parent marital status can affect the student’s studies. These circumstances might pose a challenge for students in general and in particular for those coping, in addition to COVID-19, with family difficulties such as their parents’ divorce. Hence, it is necessary to examine how family situations affect students’ functioning and motivation to study. The current study seeks to address the issue of motivation to study among children of divorced parents versus children of married parents, particularly following the effects of distance learning during COVID-19. This is a pilot study that explores the association between motivation to study in a time of crisis (COVID), which requires a new (digital) study skill, and familial status, family support. In order to relate to this issue, we conducted a study among 148 respondents, school children aged 12-18. Forty-three percent of the respondents were children of divorced parents, while 52.7% were the children of married parents. Through questionnaires, these respondents addressed their parents’ marital status and their attitude to distance versus face-to-face learning. The study also addressed the motivation of these teenagers to study and the association between the different learning methods and parent marital status. The research findings indicate that children of divorced parents have lower intrinsic motivation than children of married parents. It was also found that the variable most influencing motivation to study is learning in the face-to-face method, at 17.1%. A decline in motivation in general, and higher extrinsic motivation among children of divorced parents, derive mainly from parent marital status and the complexities stemming from parents’ divorce. The unstable psychological state of children of divorced parents, both in general and during COVID-19 in particular, affect the level of motivation to study. The findings of the current study indicate the complexities experienced by students during distance learning, their preferences for a certain study method, whether face-to-face or online, and their motivating factors, whether extrinsic or intrinsic. In addition, the study indicated the significance of family support, with its complexities. The research findings may have considerable consequences for the coping of students from different types of families, in normal times in general and in times of crisis in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-509
Number of pages12
JournalElectronic Journal of e-Learning
Issue number5
StatePublished - 29 Nov 2022


  • Covid 19
  • digital study
  • distance learning
  • divorced parents
  • face to face learning
  • family space
  • family support
  • married parents
  • motivation
  • study method


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