Adolescent girls’ academic support-seeking, depression, and anxiety: the mediating role of digital support-seeking

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Australian Journal of Psychology


Objective: This study explored how seeking support from friends and parents and informal digital sources are related to anxiety and depression in adolescent girls. Method: Early and middle adolescent girls (N = 186) were presented with four vignettes of academic stressors; for each scenario, they rated their likelihood of seeking support from parents, friends, or digital sources. Depression and anxiety symptoms were measured using the youth version of the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale. Alternate models were tested using Structural Equation Modelling. Results: Digital support seeking mediated the relationships between seeking support from parents and friends and anxiety and depression. Seeking support from parents was negatively related to digital support seeking, which in turn was positively related to depression and anxiety. In contrast, seeking support from friends was positively related to digital support seeking. Conclusion: These findings suggest that informal digital support seeking may be considered a problematic way of coping with academic stress for adolescent girls, while seeking support from parents can be considered a protective factor due to its negative relationship with digital support-seeking.

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