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Eustress, Distress and Technology Use in Australian Students Aged 15-25


Abstract and Figures

Toula's PhD research regarding ways in which Australian students aged 15-25 years use technology and the correlation between their technology use and mental health (particularly eustress and distress). Quantitative research results indicated that further investigation was required. Following extensive qualitative research using semi-structured interviews with year 11 and 12 and young university students, key themes emerged. One of the major themes was that Australian students relate to stories and images (online and offline) as a way of coping with their problems. Following these results, Toula decided to conduct further research to investigate ways of delivering mental health information through stories and images in Young Adult literature.
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Eustress, Distress and Technology Use in
Australian Students Aged 15-25
The current study focuses on the relationship between the mental health of Australian students
(in particular their levels of eustress and distress) and their technology use. The target group is
Australian students aged between 15 and 25 years of age, with a primary focus on adolescence.
Results indicate that increased technology use during weekdays negatively influences mental
health outcomes, in particular distress, anxiety and depression for the cohort under investigation.
Interestingly, this is not the case for weekend technology use. Results were also consistent with
previous research supporting the hypotheses that strict and unaffectionate parenting is linked to
lower levels of flourishing and higher levels of depression. One of the key themes to emerge from
the qualitative analysis of this study is that young people relate to stories and images online and
offline as a way of coping with their problems. The applied statistical methods include
correlational analysis and semi-structured interviews. The paper is structured in the following six
sections: Research Questions, Methodology, Results, Discussion, References and Appendixes.
Key words: mental health, technology use, Australian youth, students, parenting style, stories and
Literature Review ........................................................................................................................................ 4
1.1 Defining the Issues .......................................................................................................................... 5
1.2 Adolescence ..................................................................................................................................... 6
1.3 Adolescent/Young Adult Stress ....................................................................................................... 6
1.4 Adolescent/Young Adult Coping .................................................................................................... 8
1.5 Adolescent/Young Adult Technology Use ...................................................................................... 9
1.6 Youth Voice ................................................................................................................................... 11
1.7 Health Education and Prevention Approaches .............................................................................. 12
Research Questions .................................................................................................................................... 14
Methodology ............................................................................................................................................... 15
Results ......................................................................................................................................................... 16
Discussion ................................................................................................................................................... 19
References ................................................................................................................................................... 21
Appendixes ................................................................................................................................................. 22
Table 1 Technology Use Frequencies .................................................................................................. 26
Table 2 Descriptives of Mental Health and Method of Measuring Assessments ................................ 27
Table 3 Correlations Between Mental Health, Parenting Style and Time Spent Online ..................... 29
Table 4 Example of Some Individual Node Labels and Description .......................................... 30
Table 5 Example of Semi-Structured Interview Questions to Address Research Questions ............... 32
Literature Review
The current research suggests there is a dearth of enquiry into the state of mental health among
Australian university and high school students (Wahid, Wang & Lee, 2013). There are, however,
conflicting views and gaps in the literature regarding the effects of technology use on mental
health outcomes among Australian students and possible influences that may provide barriers to
technology use, such as parenting style. Furthermore, relatively little is known about sustainable
technology-based methods to improve coping and flourishing among Australian students from the
perspective of the youth themselves. To increase the amount of research among Australian
student cohorts, this research investigated the link between technology use and mental health
outcomes, particularly eustress and distress, in Australian youth aged 15-25 years, taking
parenting style into consideration for year 11 and 12 students only, and according to the views of
the youth. This research adopts hypotheses in keeping with positive student perceptions of
technology use, a more warm and involved parenting style, and adopts a positive view of
technology use on mental health outcomes.
Literature provides evidence that problematic technology use may be correlated with strict
or unaffectionate parenting (Kalaitzaki & Birtchnell, 2014), but there are also positive factors
reported by the youth in relation to technology use. In an increasingly ‘mediated’ world,
Australian students are growing up in a technological environment that is vastly different from
that of previous generations. In this generation there has been an increase in the rapidity and
nature of social, economic and technological changes (Mackay, 2007), with a positive view of
technology sometimes expressed by the youth but a less favourable response by the adults around
them. Technological changes include the advent of the internet (Sofka, 2009) and digital media,
including social media, to convey messages and graphics using digital technology. These changes
have arguably resulted in increases of stress associated with technology use i.e., negative stress
(‘distress’) and positive stress (‘eustress’) among students in every year level, including those
studying year 11 and 12 in Australia [and at university] (Carr-Gregg, 2012).
Increasing amounts of ‘distress’ associated with technology may be evidenced by rising
stress levels in Australian adolescent students (Farrell & Barrett, 2007). Distress may result from
cyberbullying, sexting, exposure to inappropriate content, internet addiction, the strain of being
constantly contactable, loss of control over private images and a negative impact on family time or
family communication (Livingstone & Helsper, 2007). In tandem with the technological changes
and resultant distress, however, there is a growing awareness that technology may also create
eustress for students. Technology can assist Australian students to enhance well-being i.e.,
‘flourish’ via technological methods (methods involving the use of digital media, including social
media). Digital media provides senior students, indeed all adolescents and young adults, with new
opportunities for creativity, active learning and enhanced interpersonal relationships with others
via electronic methods (Prensky, 2001).
Adolescents represent the largest and fastest growing demographic sector using the internet
in the last decade (Baker & White, 2010). Adolescent students are increasingly finding the
internet and associated technologies indispensable for activities that can create eustress, including
performing well in schoolwork, gathering vast amounts of information quickly, and
communicating with others (Gross, Juvonen & Gable 2002; Subrahmanyam & Lin, 2007). Ways
to enhance the eustress associated with digital media in Australian adolescents, and decrease
negative stress or distress, still needs to be more widely researched (Baker & White, 2010).
Much is already known about the mechanics of traditional forms of stress and coping in Australian
students. Various models of stress, for example, such as the Conservation of Resources (COR
Model) (Hobfoll, 1989) and the Transactional model of threat appraisal (Lazarus & Folkman,
1984), have been proposed. Far less, however, is known about stress and coping among our senior
high school and junior university student population in relation to technology. Interestingly,
despite the extensive volume of information in relation to more traditional forms of adolescent
stress and coping, few researchers have asked today's generation of students about their
perceptions of stress, including eustress and distress, associated with digital technology use.
1.1 Defining the issues
Digital media has been readily embraced by Australian students over the past decade (Baker &
White, 2010). At the same time there has been a growing interest in Positive Psychology,
particularly positive education delivered in schools and other academic institutions, since the turn
of the century (Seligman, 2011). Positive education focuses on psychosocial ‘well-being’ or
‘flourishing’ in all individuals, including ways to enhance the optimum functioning of adolescents
in their senior years of high school as well as young adults at university. It is proposed in this
research that positive education programs designed to assist students to understand and cope with
distress need to incorporate ‘youth voice’ i.e, resilience-enhancing programs to include the
messages delivered through the voices of the youth (LaRue & Herrman, 2008; Holdsworth &
Blanchard, 2006; Nelson, 2011). Additionally, there is a growing awareness of the importance of
listening to the views of youth in decisions directly affecting them (Nelson, 2011; O’Neill, 2012).
The problem is that there is a generational ‘digital divide’ (Segev, 2010) between today's
generation of students who have more access to, and a greater ability to use, technologies than the
adults around them. This is particularly true of older adults who were born before the advent of
the Internet (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008). Yet, it is adults who are most likely to assist adolescents to
cope with stress and develop resilience-enhancing programs to help adolescents to cope with their
stressors. Unfortunately, current research suggests that adults tend to underestimate the level of
stress experienced by adolescents (LaRue & Herrman, 2008). It is therefore possible that adults
may tend to underestimate the level of stress related to technology, and by extension, the level of
effectiveness of technological methods, employed by Australian students. Surveys show that this
generation of adolescents socialize more online, download more entertainment media and consult
the Web for a wider range of applications than do present adults, or young people of previous
generations (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008). In order to 'bridge the generational divide', more
information may be required. There a need, for example, to learn more about year 11 and 12
students' perceptions of their sources of stress and coping related to technology, as well as how
students use technology, and its relative impact, according to self-report measures. Methods,
types, frequency and effects of technology use need to be investigated, rather than just examining
the technology that students use e.g., on Facebook do they lurk, post pictures/videos of themselves
or of others, post news articles, repost, talk meaningfully or meaninglessly? How does this type of
technology use contribute towards feelings of stress or eustress and how do they suggest we use
technology to help them to cope? The present study attempts to understand students' perceptions
of their technology use so that today's generation and previous generations may learn to "speak the
same language of coping" (Frydenberg, 2008, p. 282).
Enhanced knowledge regarding technology in relation to stress and coping in students may:
1. Assist Senior students to understand how their (or their peers’) use of technology is related to
stress and coping in this generation, 2. Learn to cope more effectively with stress by use of
technology, 3. Help adults of previous generations to understand stress and coping regarding
technology in older adolescents more fully, and 4. Improve content or delivery of technology-
based intervention programs (Katz & Rice, 2002; Mesch & Talmud, 2010).
1.2 Adolescence
Adolescence, the period between childhood and adulthood, can be divided into developmental
stages. At each stage, adolescents have to endure changes of both a physiological and
psychological nature that can generate feelings of distress or eustress. Early adolescence, for
example, is often characterised by a number of changes including rapid cognitive, social,
emotional and physical development (LaRue & Herrman, 2008; Frydenberg, 2008; Rath & Nanda,
2012). For the purposes of this study we have investigated adolescence and young adulthood up
to the age of twenty-five years, but the focus is primarily on adolescent students in the senior years
of schooling. Adolescents have to endure transitions in school life, peer and family relationships
and likely increase in conflicts within the family (generally with their parents). Conflicts mark the
early and middle adolescent years and are generally superseded in late adolescence i.e., year 11
and 12, when parent-child relationships may become more settled (Frydenberg, 2008). Starting
with the physical beginning of sexual maturity, and ending with the social achievement of adult
independent status, extensions of adolescent social networks and growing sexual maturation are
opportunities for growth and eustress, as well as an increased likelihood of risk and distress
(Frydenberg, 2008; Rath & Nanda, 2012). For students studying year 11 and 12, digital
technology use may create very real opportunities for social, emotional and academic growth, as
well as generate opportunities for risk.
Adolescents are confronted by a myriad of problems arising from physical and cognitive
development to social and emotional changes. At the same time, young people may face a
multitude of ongoing stressful situations including relationship problems, illness, death of family
and friends, family pressures and expectations of academic success or comparisons of location,
age, gender, ethnic, socio-economic or academic differences with their peers. The transition to
adulthood in students’ final years of schooling may present a window of opportunity for changing
the life course in which adaptive personal characteristics can play an especially important role.
Adolescents are in the 'window of opportunity' period. They are in the stage of making the
transition to adulthood, which is a particularly important time for them to develop positive and
adaptive coping methods. Stress in year 11 and 12 Australian students may be caused by, and
ameliorated through, the use of technology.
1.3 Adolescent/Young Adult Stress
There is a growing interest in the field of stress during the adolescent period (Frydenberg, 2008;
Lerner & Steinberg, 2009). Previous adolescent researchers espoused adolescence as a
particularly stressful time (Spear, 2000). Today, however, researchers have generated a deeper
understanding of adolescent/young adult stress and coping that takes into consideration individual
differences and cultural variations. 'Storm and stress' perceptions of at-risk adolescent behaviours
have been moderated (Lerner & Steinberg, 2009). Instead of studying biological or social
development separately, researchers in the last thirty years have increasingly examined how
different areas of life can interact, and have an impact upon, other areas of a young person’s life
(Lerner & Steinberg, 2009). Not only are adolescents' lives different from those of previous
generations due to the advent of technology, but so too are our methods for researching factors
related to technology that may impact upon several areas of their lives.
Coping with a stressful situation, whether small daily problems or a major life event,
involves a dynamic interaction between a young person and their environment (Frydenberg, 2004;
LaRue & Herrman, 2008). Home, school and community environments change over time and the
youth of today are immersed in an increasingly mediated world (Mackay, 2007; Mesch & Talmud,
2010; Prensky, 2001). Stress and coping related to technology use is a complex topic and there is
a lack of unifying information (Khoozani & Hadzic, 2010). For example, each year 11 and 12 and
young University student may use different coping methods associated with technology to prevent
psychological harm when they experience stressful life circumstances (Rath & Nanda, 2012).
Distal and proximal factors leading to life events reflect a human vulnerability, including our
levels of resilience to stress (Hayes et al, 2010). Learning positive ways of coping with life
stressors, particularly using technology-based methods, is important. The mental health problem
of stress among Australian adolescents is associated with numerous negative life sequelae at
personal, as well as financial, cost to our society (Farrell & Barrett, 2007). Understanding
adolescent stressors and methods of coping from a variety of adolescent perspectives may also
assist professionals and parents help adolescents to develop resilience to stress, thereby increasing
their level of physical and mental health (Tusaie, Puskar & Sereika, 2007). Understanding may
commence with an examination of adolescent/young adult stressors.
Adolescent distress and eustress may be viewed according to the nature of the stressors e.g.,
an acute, time-limited stress such as inability to make technology work or a computer ‘crashing’
(distress); stressor sequences such as an ability to reach certain levels on a computer, Wii, DSi,
Nintendo or Playstation game (eustress); chronic intermittent stress such having to learn how new
technological items work (distress); being cyberbullied (distress); or completing a school
assignment using information from the internet (eustress). They can also be viewed according to
the situation in which they occur e.g., work, social context, school, home or community settings.
Another way of considering stress can be to determine whether stressors represent daily problems,
such as having to do homework on the computer; normative stresses such as checking e-mails,
Facebook, Twitter accounts; or chronic stresses such as regularly playing a massively multiplayer
online role playing game (MMORPG) that place stress on the body. Australian students are
susceptible to all forms and situations of stress, but investigating the nature, sequence and
situational factors of all adolescent/young adult stress is beyond the scope of this study. The
present study, therefore, concentrates on technology use and stress (distress and eustress),
flourishing, parenting style (for year 11 and 12 students only) and the perceived efficacy of the use
of technology by students to cope with stress.
Constructivists study the multiple realities constructed by people and the implications of
those constructions for their lives and interactions with others (Ungar, 2001). Taking a
constructivist viewpoint of young students (both those who are at risk of distress associated with
technology use and those who are not) construct their version of reality for their life and
interactions with stressful situations. Not only do the adolescents and young adults construct their
view of reality based on their perceptions, but so do adults. If year 11 and 12 students are able to
identify adults’ ‘constructions’ in relation to technology use, and positively cope with their
stressors using technological methods, for example, they may be more likely to preserve their
mental health in terms of lowering their levels of distress, and possibly construct an alternate
version of their reality i.e., they may create a more positive life-path or trajectory in order to
Adults close to adolescents may be unaware of the potential consequences of stress due to a
lack of awareness regarding the sources of stress related to technology, the changing nature of
stressors over time, the complexities of adolescent life that are ever-evolving, and the tendency for
adults to minimise their own personal stress during teen years or to compare their teen years with
others' experiences (LaRue & Herrman, 2008). Physiological development, cognitive differences,
pubertal changes, immature coping mechanisms, slower recovery from stressful events and a lack
of experience coping with stress, can also intensify adolescents' experience of stress (Herrman,
2005). The aforementioned factors may not be completely understood by adults who grew up in a
less technologically advanced, and possibly less stressful, society. This potential lack of
awareness provides the impetus for this research of Year 11 and 12 and young university students.
Chandra and Batada (2006) argue that assessing adolescent stressors, and their impact, is the
first step to preventing stress and its potential associated diseases. The present study argues that
the first step to preventing stress, and its potential associated mental health issues in year 11, 12
and Australian University students, is to assess student technology-based stress and coping from
the adolescent perspective. Resilience to stress may be achieved by understanding what today's
generation of Australian students are doing in terms of using technology, how frequently they are
using particular technology-based coping methods, who they are using technology-based coping
methods with, why they are using particular methods, suggestions regarding how they view
technology can help them to cope with stress, how it is making them feel when they use particular
methods and whether parenting style appears to have an impact on their level of technology use
for year 11 and 12 students. Investigating ways in which they presently use technology to cope
potentially increases adolescent physical and mental health in relation to stress (Finkelstein et al,
2007; Frydenberg, 2008). Because year 11 and 12 adolescent students are living in an
increasingly stressful and technological era, it makes sense to initiate an investigation with stress
and coping in relation to technology use and the efficacy of technological and non-technological
methods of coping with the stress.
1.4 Adolescent/Young Adult Coping
Methods of coping are the specific behavioural tools by which an individual may overcome
adversity, disadvantage or disability without correcting or eliminating the underlying condition
(Frydenberg, 2008). In the past, coping was viewed as a reactive strategy to be used once stress
had been experienced (Greenglass, 2002). Proactive adolescent coping, however, differs from
traditional methods of coping. According to researchers, traditional coping tends to be reactive
i.e., dealing with stressful events that have already occurred. Proactive coping, in contrast, is more
orientated towards the future and consists of 'building up' resources that promote personal growth
and the achievement of personal goals, such as the development of positive and effective methods
of coping with stress.
In keeping with the principles of positive psychology in which positive psychological skills
can be learned, this study can assist senior students and young University students to develop a
proactive coping repertoire using technology, as well as more traditional methods i.e., paper/pencil
delivery. Technological and non-technological methods can assist them to understand that young
individuals who cope proactively perceive stressful events as an opportunity for the future, rather
than appraising stressful situations as threats, harm or loss (Heszen, 2012). To generate more
understanding, the researcher needed to investigate today's year 11 and 12 and young university
students engaging in proactive coping using technological methods or more traditional methods of
coping, what level and type of technology they use, their levels of eustress and distress, their
perceptions of technology use, distress and eustress, as well as their perceptions of the efficacy of
these proactive methods and the factors that contribute to the perceived efficacy of these methods.
It was proposed that answers to these questions may be formulated through the administration of
standardized assessments and semi-structured interviews with the students.
Some of the more traditional coping methods through which adolescents deal with problems
may include action-based coping such as spending time with friends (turning to others for social
support) for girls and relaxation strategies or playing sport for boys (Frydenberg, 2008). Non-
traditional coping methods that students may now be using more frequently could include seeking
social support through texting, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, kik, on-line chat rooms and MSN,
playing computer games, watching digital television or funny You tube video clips in order to
distract themselves from stressors. They may also use computer technology such as word
processing, scanning documents, email etc. to assist them with their schoolwork. Adolescent
students may perceive some methods as more or less effective, and coping may be viewed as a
response to perceived stress and defined as constantly changing efforts (cognitive and
behavioural) to manage specific internal or external demands (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).
Individuals can learn to cope more proactively with their problems. If a young person does
not like the way they are coping, they can learn to cope more effectively (Frydenberg & Brandon,
2007). There is no formula for coping − no single way of coping with problems but several
methods may incorporate the use of narratives (stories) and symbolism or imagery (Campbell,
2008; Jung, 2010). The type of problems, particular circumstance, and unique needs of the person
means that every problem can be addressed differently by utilizing particular methods. Some
methods deal directly with the problem and some alleviate the stress for a short time (Frydenberg
& Brandon, 2007). It seems, however, that factors relating to an adolescent’s ability to adapt to
their personal circumstances may include ‘planfulness’, autonomy, adult support and coping
methods (Masten, 2004). Adult support e.g., parenting style and coping methods are factors that
may be particularly important for individuals who experience maladaptive to competent outcomes
in young adulthood and shall be studied in detail in the present research.
Feeling 'stressed' is an emotion that teens have experienced over the generations (La Rue &
Herrman, 2008) but it does seem to be particularly prevalent in the youth of today. In response to
societal changes over the past decade in Australia, initiatives designed to support young people’s
engagement and civic involvement have become popular (MacCallum et al., 2010). There is an
increased emphasis on community aspirations of building community, promoting civics and
encouraging social capital (Botsman & Latham, 2001). As a society we are struggling with how
best to cater for the needs of increasingly diverse forms of families and technological era that are
impacting on our adolescents. Changes in family transition patterns, for example, highlight the
need for assistance to help individuals and their relationships through education, counselling and
clinical interventions at multiple times in their lifetimes. Along with these changes has come the
transformation of traditional forms of bullying to cyberbullying, amid the public perception that
bullying generally is becoming worse in schools (Cross et al, 2011).
The multitude of these changes highlights the need for inclusion of possibly several different
methods to help decrease the adolescent or young adults’ feelings of distress and improve their
quality of life in order to flourish. Societal changes have forced us to review our previous
assumptions regarding sources of stress and coping methods of Australian adolescents. If we are to
assist our year 11 and 12 students to flourish, for example, we need to investigate stress and
coping in more detail according to the technology-infused world in which they now live, a world
of digital stories and images.
1.5 Adolescent/Young Adult Technology Use
The social and technological ecology of Australian adolescents and young adults has changed.
As the earliest adapters of technology, their experience differs dramatically from that of their
predecessors (Mesch & Talmud, 2010). Young people born in the mid to late 1980s have been
called the ‘Internet Generation’, ‘Net Generation’, ‘Generation I’, the ‘Digital Generation’ or ‘The
Millenials’. They are the first generation to grow up in a world where the internet was always
present (Herring, 2007). The fabric of Australian society in relation to technology use and stress
and coping is in a state of flux. Some parents are eager users of new kinds of social networking
sites, for example, and may find social networking helps to alleviate stress, even create eustress,
when they have a large number of 'likes' on their webpages. Other parents may feel intimidated by
forms of technology they do not understand or do not use − highlighting the potential for a
'generational divide' (Vaterlaus, 2012). How well an adolescent copes with stressful situations,
therefore, may be greatly influenced not only by their perception of the stressor and their ability to
cope with it (LaRue & Herrman, 2008; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), but also the views of
significant adults around them. The views and attitudes towards technology of the adults living
with, teaching, and counselling our year 11 and 12 and young University students, may vary
greatly. Monitoring time trends is essential for service planning (Maughan, Iervolino &
Collishaw, 2005). Knowledge of changing trends can also provide important pointers to potential
risk factors (Hayes et al., 2010). These trends, including trends towards an increased use of
technology-based stories and images online and offline, can cause increased levels of distress
among year 11 and 12 students. Ironically, social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace can
also offer multiple daily opportunities for connecting with friends, classmates, and people with
shared interests as a way of coping with stress and generating eustress (O'Keeffe & Clarke-
Pearson, 2011) through the use of technology-based stories and images.
Any website that allows social interaction is considered a social media site, including social
networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter; gaming sites and virtual worlds such as
Club Penguin, Second Life, and the Sims; video sites such as YouTube; and blogs. Such sites
offer today's youth a portal for entertainment and communication (and eustress) and have grown
exponentially in recent years (O'Keeffe & Clarke-Pearson, 2011; Baker & White, 2010). A large
part of this generation's social and emotional development now occurs whilst using the Internet
and mobile phones (Mesch & Talmud, 2010).
Public perception regarding the risks/benefits of adolescent technology use is divided.
There is still insufficient knowledge regarding the long term effects of the digital and multimedia-
infused world in which young people live (Baker & White, 2010). Much of the previous focus of
research has been fixated on the rise of intrusion into personal space by being constantly ‘on-line',
cyberbullying or social exclusion using multimedia (or new media) methods and the redefinition
of relationships that are based on virtual worlds and electronic communications (Frydenberg,
2008). The aforementioned factors can cause significant student distress and need to be
considered as part of a comprehensive study of student stress and coping.
Today, however, most social researchers would probably agree that new media could be
considered a 'double-edged sword'. Much of the access to digital technology may now be viewed
as positive and beneficial to our younger generation, although there are obviously still concerns
about the potential for harm such as risks to privacy and confidentiality, cyberbullying and the
potential for criminal acts (Albury, 2010; Walker et al, 2013). The long term positive and
negative social and psychological impacts of a generation of adolescents growing up 'online' are
yet to be determined (Mesch & Talmud, 2010). Having access to digital technology may cause
psychological distress but there may be a psychological and sociological consequence, for
example, that not having access to the internet that could result in social isolation from one's peer
group who organise their activities through internet social applications.
What we do not know, and subsequently need to research, is what all this means for
relationships and the skills that are needed to develop and sustain healthy interpersonal
relationships for adolescent/young adult students in this, and future, generations. One question
that may need to be addressed in the near future is how media multi-tasking and perpetual contact
with peers may impact upon family time and family communication (i.e., the building blocks of
the family socialisation process). The internet, for example, might be harmful to social and family
life as time spent on computer activity may come at the expense of participation in family, social,
leisure and sport activities (Kayany & Yelsma, 2000). Internet access may not be regulated
effectively by significant adults, such as parents, inadvertently exposing adolescents to inaccurate
information or abusive content (Livingstone & Helper, 2007). Sexting by minors, for example,
raises specific concerns that do not apply to an adult context, such as the potential for child
pornography offences, heightened peer pressure on young people to participate in sexting and the
lasting impact of having a 'loss of control' over private images (Australian Psychological Society,
2013). Katz and Rice (2002) and Van Dijk (2005) warn that all of the changes in the
technological era produce the need to develop an understanding of some youths' marginalisation
that may occur through the use of technology as well as providing young people with new
opportunities for creativity and active learning (Prensky, 2001), potentially enhancing and
facilitating interpersonal relationships with others. Some researchers view cyberspace as an
opportunity to provide escape from social inequalities such as racism or gender discrimination
(Daniels, Lauder & Porter, 2009). Enthusiastic supporters of the digital era view electronic media
as a means of empowerment, liberating children and adolescents from social inequalities (Mesch
& Talmud, 2010), thus creating subsequent opportunities for eustress in a social context.
Individuals under the age of thirty have never known a world where the internet did not exist
(Sofka, 2009). Many adolescents in the Western world 'log onto' their social network pages so
regularly that these have become spaces where much of the social activity occurring in adolescent
lives is amplified (Lenhart & Madden, 2011). This 'echoing' of their social activity online
highlights the positive, and negative, ways in which Australian adolescents now socialise i.e.,
technology can help them to ‘flourish’ and may also prevent them from ‘flourishing’.
Technological change, including the advent of mobile devices and social media, has
contributed directly to changes in parenting as well as the peer relationships of children and
adolescents (Hayes et al., 2010). Parents are raising children in an increasingly mediated world
which is far removed from the one in which they were raised (Campbell & Cross 2011).
Educators are teaching in technologically-based schools that are very different from those they
knew as children and adolescents, or even those in which they were teaching a decade ago.
Children born in 1995, the year when the Internet was first commercialised, are 19 years old in
2014 and, whilst parents may have embraced technological advances in their own adult working or
social lives, they may be yet to understand what it means for their children in year 11 and 12 to be
educated, and to socialise, in the midst of mobile social media. Young people now seem to move
seamlessly between online and offline environments, often referring to them as ‘the same life’
(Campbell & Cross, 2011).
1.6 Youth voice
Not only have there been technological, social and environmental changes in this era, but there has
been a movement towards incorporating the ‘Student Voice’ in decisions that directly affect them
(). Evidence-based coping measures, such as the Adolescent Coping Scale II (Frydenberg &
Lewis, 2011), for example, incorporate the coping strategies identified by adolescents as most or
least productive. Self-help instruments such as these enable students to understand their own
coping behaviour, how effective each coping response is in general (and in specific situations),
their frequency of use of particular coping methods and then to make changes to their behaviour.
In keeping with international literature advocating ‘Student Voice’ since the mid-1990s,
Frydenberg and Lewis (2011) in addition to Holdsworth and Blanchard (2006), Ungar (2004),
LaRue and Herrman (2008), Nelson (2011) and O'Neill (2012) are just a few social researchers
who consider the importance of listening to the adolescents' point of view in order to assist them
to cope with potentially stressful situations. In accordance with a growing movement towards
incorporating 'youth voice' in decisions directly affecting them, Study 2 adopts a constructivist
view using Charmaz’s grounded theory approach during the second study (Cresswell, 2013;
Charmaz, 2006). The second study is based on O'Neill (2012), Frydenberg & Lewis (2011),
La Rue & Herrman (2008), Nelson (2011), Holdsworth & Blanchard (2006) and Ungar's (2004)
qualitative approaches to investigating the adolescent perspective. The present study expands
upon this research, however, by investigating adolescent distress and eustress in relation to
technology use, parenting style, stress and coping which may be used to generate a set of
recommendations for technology use and coping or provide directions for future research.
It is proposed by the researcher that the most informative method to determine the impact of
technology on stress and coping in year 11 and 12 and young adult Australian students, and their
relationships, is to ask youth themselves. This study, therefore, is based on the concept of ‘youth
voice’ as it incorporates the views of the adolescents in relation to issues that directly have an
impact upon them i.e., how they can use technology to improve their ways of coping with stress in
order to flourish and achieve maximum psychological well-being. To assist adolescents to cope
effectively, an ecological understanding (as well as constructivist interpretation) of the sources of
stress and methods of coping with their stressors needs to be developed in consultation with
adolescents. Similarly, the needs, accessibility, and effectiveness of resilience-enhancing
programs that assist youth to cope, from the perspective of adolescents, needs to be developed
(Garvey, McIntyre-Craig & Myers, 2000). Nelson (2011) and other social science researchers
argue that non-profit associations, branches of for-profit businesses, and other entities sponsor a
variety of programs that seek innovative ways to teach 'at-risk' youth how to cope with their
problems, without assessing the perspectives of the youth, or their ecologies, that the programs are
designed to help. Resilience-enhancing programs need to take into consideration the views of the
youth, based on research.
1.7 Health education and prevention approaches
Drawing upon information gathered in Australian studies, Frydenberg (2008) and Farrell & Barrett
(2007), argue that we know a great deal about the phenomenon of coping and that coping
strategies can be taught to students by being embedded in the school curriculum, as a stand-alone
program of instruction or during the course of a clinical intervention. We also know that pencil-
and-paper programs and computer-delivery programs are available for universal or targeted
intervention (Frydenberg 2008). Learning and employing these intervention strategies are
particularly important for students, prior to or presently studying, their senior years of high school
and early university years. Constructing proactive stress management programs, delivered at
school and university and based on student perceptions, may add validity to the program content
and increase the effectiveness of youth-based initiatives aimed at decreasing adolescent/young
adult distress associated with technology use and wider societal problems. Stress management
programs that increase coping, increase resiliency resources, increase optimism and fortify
community supports, may be effective in helping youth to cope with stress (Tussaie et al., 2007;
Fraser & Pakenham, 2008). With more knowledge of the ‘world’ of today, youth advocates, such
as counsellors and teachers, may be in a position to identify and communicate common stressors
to parents as a means of enhancing communication, and parents' ability to act as youth mentors for
adolescents (Herrman, 2005). Schools today are multi-faceted, dynamic places that take into
consideration the experiences and views of their students. It is a worthy goal to increase students’
positive engagement with school, as positive engagement with school assists students to develop
human connections and resilience to stress (Holdsworth & Blanchard, 2006).
Each person and their individual set of circumstances, is unique. There is a growing
acceptance among social researchers that individuals interact dynamically with, and are shaped by,
their ecologies (Donald, Lazarus & Lolwana, 2006; Theron, Liebenberg & Ungar, 2015).
Prevention approaches, in the form of effective resilience-enhancing methods delivered at school
using technological mediums, offer an alternative and adjunct to treatment. These approaches
have become a priority for governments, offering a cost effective and efficient means of providing
services to children and adolescents prior to the onset of any psychopathology (Farrell & Barrett,
2007). In keeping with the international literature advocating ‘student voice’ since the mid-1990s
(Holdsworth & Blanchard, 2006), educating those who are in a position to adapt the skills to the
needs of the individual in a warm supportive environment, and in consultation with the
adolescents' proposed stress health outcomes, is likely to be beneficial in terms of enhancing
resilience to stress among year 12 Australian students in order to assist them to flourish.
According to McAllister and McKinnon (2009), there is increasing evidence that individuals
can learn or acquire resilient qualities. Within the Positive Psychology movement, for example,
Seligman (2007) argued that a person’s explanatory style shapes the meaning and the effect of
adverse experiences as part of learned optimism. A person can learn to be optimistic, thereby
reducing their level of perceived stress, by using focused cognitive behavioural techniques that
dispute pessimistic thinking and enable the person to become more adaptive and resilient
(McAllister & McKinnon, 2009).
The qualitative approach to adolescent/youth stress advocated in the present study helps
identify the interpretation that adolescents themselves give to stress, coping and factors affecting
coping, as well as their parents, teachers and counsellors, and the role that they play in its
construction (Drapeau et al, 2007). Positive psychological methods, such as learned optimism,
can be taught using digital media and non-digital media methods. Cognitive behavioural
techniques, for example, can be taught via computer games and story-based resilience-enhancing
programs delivered through technological media, such as an application (app) on the adolescent’s
mobile phone that incorporates CBT principles.
Awareness and education, fostering positive peer support and developing decision making
skills are the essential components included in several universal harm reduction prevention
initiatives that are used today (Australian Drug Foundation, 2010). Minimizing harm through
awareness, education, fostering positive peer support and developing effective decision making
skills is advocated by Dickson, Derevensky and Gupta (2004) and can be delivered via
technological methods.
Another key feature of research is the prediction that adolescents who are informed, analytic
consumers of resilience enhancing/harm minimization programs delivered via technological
methods are more likely to engage in these programs, and apply the strategies provided, than those
who are passive recipients of the information. The harm reduction paradigm, as advocated by
Dickson et al., (2004), views adolescents as having an active role in preserving their mental health.
These researchers highlight the importance of providing adolescents with the education and skills
to make healthy decisions for themselves in order to change their behaviours, and advocate
encouraging their peers to do the same.
Evidence suggests that all children, including those at elevated risk of stress in years 11 and
12, do receive short-term positive impact through participating in universal intervention aimed at
reducing stress (Barrett & Turner, 2001; Barrett & Dadds, 2001). Most senior students could
probably benefit from learning more effective coping methods delivered in digital and non-digital
ways. The ‘person-focused’ approach (Pargas et al, 2010) to stress proposed in this research,
however, is more selective. Learning to positively appraise a stressful situation (Seligman, 2005)
as part of learned optimism, for example, is an excellent coping method. This method, however,
needs to be adapted according to an individual adolescent’s situation and their perceived efficacy
of this method of coping, in order to be truly effective. If individuals do not perceive a method of
coping to very effective, or do not know the factors that contribute to perceived efficacy, then the
method may not be fully utilised. If no other perceived efficacious methods are utilised, stress
levels among adolescents may subsequently continue or possibly increase.
An asset-based narrative approach, such as the one advocated in the present study,
focuses on examining the assets and resources that pre-exist in all adolescents and their
ecologies (Theron, Liebenberg & Ungar, 2013). It adopts a positive psychology lens
(Seligman, 2005, 2007, 2011), suggesting that every person has the capacity to learn coping
methods and every ecology has the capacity to teach adolescents to cope more effectively with
their problems using technological, and non-technological, methods. Ecological learning at
home, in school (either in the classroom or the school counsellors' office), and in the wider
community, regularly occurs. The environmental context is where adolescents spend a
considerable amount of their time and where coping resources may be made available to all.
Adolescent/young adult stress and coping researchers need to 'tap into' their pre-existing
ecological understanding by asking the youth themselves.
Schools and other academic institutions today have started to develop a more preventative
approach to stress and coping and are the ideal place to generate changes among our youth
(Ebersohn & Eloff, 2006). Health-promoting schools provide naturalistic accessibility to a large
number of adolescents for an extended period; school curriculum can be adapted to include coping
strategies and can incorporate modern technology, developmentally targeted work, and schools
allow for systematic implementation and assessment due to their organizational nature (St Leger,
2007). The use of computerized programs at school to prevent risk behaviours is recent and
innovative (Buller et al., 2008), though more research is needed.
According to the developmental psychopathology model, differences in context, peer and
family interactions and stressful events may affect different individuals in different ways. Schools
are an important context in which these interactions occur, and school and societal values act as a
source of learning for individual adolescents and adolescent groups to teach social-emotional
competence as well as academic competence (Bernard, 2006). It stands to reason, then, that
schools are a good place to start in terms of trying to increase coping among our adolescents using
digital and non-digital methods. Preventative programs delivered in schools generally aim to
consciously teach the skills of effective stress management and other resilience-enhancing
techniques. They are generally very effective in helping adolescents to cope with life stressors
(Farrell & Barrett, 2007). It is important, however, to investigate the perceived efficacy of certain
methods and contributing factors of those methods, according to the views of our youth in order
for them to be truly effective. The contribution that parents, teachers and counsellors can make to
assisting young students to cope more effectively with their problems needs to be considered.
Adults assisting students with the associated effects in relation to technology use, need to work in
tandem with the students in order to achieve the ultimate goal − to help them cope more
effectively with stress associated with the world in which they live.
To summarize, there is a need for a holistic, technological approach to health prevention and
promotion among our year 11 and 12 students in schools as well as the wider student community
of young adults attending university. In order to increase a young person’s level of resilience to
distress in this changing economic and social climate, there is a need to increase their social and
intergenerational engagement, as well as their coping methods using digital media and non-digital
media, based on young people’s views and taking into consideration their individual and
environmental context.
Research Questions
In order to satisfy the main question of interest of the paper: the existence of relationship between
the technology use and the mental health, the following research questions were formulated:
1. Is technology use related to mental health among this cohort of students?
2. Is technology use related to happiness among this cohort of students?
3. Do the Australian students in this sample perceive that technology can be used to help
youth to cope with stress that may contribute to mental health problems and in what
4. Is parenting style related to students’ mental health and/or technology use?
In order to provide answers to the research questions, the following statistical hypotheses were
formulated and further tested via correlation analysis:
Hypothesis 1: The research participants’ mental health is positively correlated with their level of
technology use (Quantitative Research)
Hypothesis 2: There is a significant positive correlation between happiness and technology use
among the participant group i.e., the happier they are, the more technology they use (Quantitative
Hypothesis 3: Technology use is negatively correlated with distress for young Australians i.e., the
more distressed they are, the less technology they use (Quantitative Research)
Hypothesis 4: A young person’s level of flourishing is positively correlated with their level of
technology use (Quantitative Research)
Hypothesis 5: There is a positive relationship between parenting style and a students’ level of
technology use (Quantitative Research)
Hypothesis 6: There is a positive relationship between warm/involved parenting style and level of
mental health (Quantitative Research)
Moreover, in addition to the hypotheses to be tested by statistical means, the following qualitative
hypotheses were also stated:
Hypothesis 1: The Australian students in this sample, aged 15-25 years, use technology as a way
of coping with stress (Qualitative Research)
Hypothesis 2: The young people in this sample use technology to help them to cope with their
problems, as well as other methods that do not involve technology (Qualitative Research)
Hypothesis 3: Girls in this sample are more likely to use facebook and other social media to help
them to cope with their problems whereas boys are more likely to use gaming as a way of coping
(Qualitative Research)
Hypothesis 4: The young Australians in this sample use technology as a positive (effective)
coping strategy as well as a negative (ineffective) coping strategy (Qualitative Research)
Hypothesis 5: Students in this sample use technology as a conscious method of coping as well as
an unconscious method of coping (Qualitative Research)
To answer the overall research questions and test the relevant hypotheses, a study was undertaken
surveying 3 groups for their level of mental health, technology use and parenting style (high
school students only). High school students only were included in the research regarding
parenting style as it was considered that younger students may be more likely to be influenced by
parenting style than older university students who may be living away from home.
The groups were allocated according to their modes of data collection. The first group included
high school students (N=51), the second group included university paper and pencil (P&P)(N=17)
and the third group was university survey monkey (SM)(N=85).
In order to measure the levels of mental health, happiness, distress, stress, parenting style and
technology use, in the quantitative study all students were administered standardized assessment
instruments including:
- the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10),
- the DASS-21
- Parenting Style Index (PSI)
- Mental Health Continuum (MHC)
- Flourishing Scale (FS)
- and an assessment instrument devised by the researchers called the ATQ (Adolescent
Technology Use Questionnaire)
Using correlation analysis the strength and significance of any existing relationship between each
of those characteristics was analysed. The significance level used is 5%.
In order to test the relationship between level of mental health, technology use and parenting style,
correlation analysis was performed at 5% significance level.
Initially the technology use, overall mental health along with its components and parenting style
were analysed via descriptive statistics (Table 1 and Table 2).
Table 1 provides a brief overview of the relevant technology use reported for the cohort being
studied. Technology use is described by many variables and Table 1 presents the technology use
in light of frequency of use, activity time of use, weekday/weekend use. Considering the
frequency of use, as the results evidence, there is extreme concentration in the category everyday
use of technology (96% of the sample is distributed in that category). That implies that there
cannot be made any meaningful distinction between levels of frequency of technology use such as
rare, moderate and frequent. Apparently the participants in the entire sample are using technology
to a great extent so the frequency is not a meaningful indicator of technology use. As the results
for activity time indicate, most of the participants (59%) are active technology users in the evening
(6pm to 11 pm) and in the mid-afternoon (21%). Level of technology use results did not appear
significant, so attention was directed towards type of technology use, including when it was used.
With regard to the technology use by week time, it should be noted that during the weekdays the
majority of the participants are online for up to 7 hours (35% spend between 4 and 7 hours online
and 32% between 2 and 4 hours). On the contrary, during the weekend the time spent online is
shifted towards longer period. This time difference between weekend and weekday technology
use was deemed interesting by the researcher and was therefore investigated further as a possible
variable influencing the mental health of the student cohort i.e., nearly 50% of the sample spend
more than 7 hours online during the weekend while only 1/3 of the sample spend below 4 hours
online during weekdays. This is good differentiation between the technology usage depending on
week time and the relationship with mental health and parenting style should be analysed
separately for the two types of technology usage.
Each of the factors presented in Table 2 is measured and the score interpreted in the following
- Distress is measured via the K10 (Kessler, 2002) scale where:
o A score <20 indicates that the person is likely to be well
o A score in the range 20-24 indicates that the person is likely to have a mild mental
o A score in the range 25-29 indicates that the person is likely to have moderate
mental disorder
o A score above 30 indicates that the person is likely to have a severe mental disorder
- Depression, anxiety and stress are measured via the DASS-21 scale
o For Depression the following applies: a score in 0-4 range indicates normal levels
of depression, a score in 5-6 range indicates mild levels of depression, a score in 7-
10 range indicates moderate levels of depression, a score in 11-13 range indicates
severe levels of depression and above 14 indicates severe depression
o For Anxiety the following applies: a score in 0-3 range indicates normal levels of
anxiety, a score in 4-5 range indicates mild levels of anxiety, a score in 6-7 range
indicates moderate levels of anxiety, a score in 8-9 range indicates severe levels of
anxiety and above 10 indicates severe anxiety
o For Stress the following applies: a score in 0-7 range indicates normal levels of
stress, a score in 8-9 range indicates mild levels of stress, a score in 10-12 range
indicates moderate levels of stress, a score in 13-16 range indicates severe levels of
stress and above 17 indicates severe stress
- Parenting style is measured via Parenting Style Index (PSI) for which there are four
categories: Authoritative, Authoritarian, Neglectful and Indulgent.
- Mental Health is measured via Mental Health Continuum (MHC) for which:
o Languishing: Never/Once/Twice in Past Month on 1 measure of wellbeing and low
levels on 6+ measures of positive functioning
o Moderate: Neither flourishing nor languishing
o Flourishing: Every day or almost every day on 1+ signs of wellbeing and 6+
measures of positive functioning
- Flourishing is measured via Flourishing Scale (FS) for which the score ranges between 8
and 56. The higher the score, the more psychological resources and strengths the person
- Happiness is measured via the flourishing scale where:
o Higher scores indicate higher levels of happiness.
- Technology use is measured via ATQ (Adolescent Technology Use Questionnaire)
considering type and level of technology use
Generally, the mean scores were in the low or mild range for total mental health, distress,
depression, stress and anxiety as shown in Table 2. The sample group appeared to be feeling
rather flourishing and on average nearly moderately happy, with low levels of stress, anxiety and
distress, and with relatively few mental health problems. High school students reported higher
levels of overall mental health and flourishing and lower levels of depression, stress, anxiety and
distress than university students.
With regard to the parenting style there is great part of the information which is missing:
71% of the responses on this variable were missing because there was a greater number of
University participants than high school participants. The remaining answers were distributed
evenly between low parental warmth (high strictness) and high parental warmth (low strictness).
To ensure reliability of the results, responses were aggregated and the levels of each of the
factors for the total sample are as well provided in Table 2. To justify combining the university
P&P and SM results for further statistical analysis, this study needed to demonstrate there was no
statistical difference between the modes of data collection among the students. In this exploratory
analysis, seven one way ANOVA’s were conducted to determine whether there were significant
differences in overall mental health, flourishing, depression, stress, anxiety, distress and happiness
between the students’ scores, based on their mode of data collection. Levene’s Test revealed
breeches of homogeneity in overall mental health (p=.003) and flourishing (p=.027) at the α=0.05
significance level. To deal with these breaches, a lower α level of 0.025 was used for subsequent
analysis of these two variables. The differences in overall mental health mean scores were not
significant F(2,150) = .46, p = .63, η2 = .006; flourishing F(2,134) = 1.57, p = .21, η2 = .023;
depression F(2,132) = 1.47, p = .23, η2 = .021; stress F(2,131) = .52, p = .60, η2 = .008; anxiety
F(2,132) = .09, p = .92, η2 = .001; distress F(2,147) = 2.1, p = .13, η2 = .028 and happiness
F(2,134) = .56, p = .57, η2 = .008 were also not significant. Based on these results, there were
minimal significant differences between the students’ scores and therefore the results were
combined into a single data set.
To test the quantitative hypotheses developed in this research, correlations between mental
health, parenting style and time spent online weekdays and weekends time spent online were
calculated. Technology use was broken down into weekday and weekend use so as to allow more
detailed analysis. Results can be seen in Table 3.
The results displayed in Table 3 indicate significant negative correlations between weekday
technology use and flourishing (r = -.20, α =0.05). This result provides evidence to reject the
hypothesis 4, and suggests young Australian students will flourish more if they use less
technology during the weekday. A second result from Table 3 shows a significant negative
correlation between weekday technology use and happiness (r = -.25, α = 0.01), which provides
evidence to reject hypothesis 2. Table 3 also suggests a significant positive correlation between
(i) weekday technology use and depression (r = .21, α =0.05), (ii) weekday technology use and
anxiety (r = .21, α =0.05), and (iii) weekday technology use and distress (r = .22, α =0.05).
The significant positive correlation between technology use and distress provides evidence to
reject hypothesis 3. These correlations suggest that the more hours students use technology during
a weekday, the lower their level of happiness and flourishing and the higher their levels of
depression, anxiety and distress appears to be. It is interesting to note, however, that these
significant correlations do not occur for weekend technology use, providing further evidence of
the need to investigate further with a second study.
The analysis did not find a significant correlation between technology use and total mental
health, therefore the null for hypothesis 1, that there is no significant correlation between
technology use and total mental health can be accepted and the alternate, stated as hypothesis 1,
can be rejected. The results also indicate a moderate significant positive correlation (r = 0.36, α =
0.05) between parenting style and level of flourishing. This suggests that the higher the parenting
style score (i.e., the more warmth and involvement) the greater the level of flourishing reported by
the student. There is also a significant negative correlation (r=-.33, α = 0.05) between parenting
style score and level of depression, suggesting the lower the parenting style score (i.e., the more
strictness and supervision and less warmth and involvement), the more indicators of depression
reported by the student. This is in keeping with current literature regarding strict, unaffectionate
parenting styles are associated with lower levels of flourishing (Kalaitzaki & Birtchnell, 2014).
Table 3 suggest there is no significant correlation between parenting style and levels of technology
use. This provides evidence to reject hypothesis 5. In addition, Table 3 does not provide a
significant correlation between parenting style and total mental health. Therefore, hypothesis 6 can
also be rejected. Many of the hypotheses of this research have been rejected. As these hypotheses
were based on current research findings, it motivated further investigation into the underlying data
in the form of semi-structured interviews.
Slightly elevated university student scores for most subtests may be due to having to relocate from
home, establish new friends/social networks in order to pursue their tertiary studies, finding that
fellow students are more motivated, instructors more demanding, the work more difficult and
expectations of greater levels of independence i.e., higher academic standards and different
experiences (Morton, Mergler, & Boman, 2014). Slightly higher university student results vs high
school results were as expected and in keeping with current literature regarding increased
academic demands of college/university students vs high school students (Hicks & Heastie, 2008).
The number of severely distressed students in this study (n=5) were fewer than the National
average of Australian youth purported to experience a significant mental health problem as
reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007). The present research cohort contained only
one high school student that met the clinical criteria for mental health problems according to the
Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scales (DASS-21). Scores obtained that were less than the National
average, may be attributed to a relatively small population sample of the two schools and
university students from which the sample was drawn. A larger population sample from a more
diverse socio-economic and demographic population may reveal results that are more in keeping
with the National average.
Based on the results of the present study, it appears that parents with a warmer parenting
style tend to have high school students fewer indicators of depression. These results are consistent
with present research regarding parenting style, flourishing and mental health problems in
Australian youth (Kalaitzaki & Birtchnell, 2014).
Technology use was broken into weekday and weekend technology use in order to allow
comparisons to be made. A 2010 review of 36 youth studies from around the world linked night
time (no time range was specified) technology use with functional impact including increased
sedentary behaviour prior to bed, subjective poor sleep quality, greater caffeine consumption,
falling asleep in school and increased daytime sleepiness (Gamble et al, 2014) factors which can
all significantly affect a students’ mental health. Therefore, increased technology use on weekdays
may lead to more sleep-related problems that can impact on a young person’s academic
performance and mental health. In line with this reasoning, technology use on Sundays would also
impact their mental health outcomes, and hence a study that captured specific day of week use
may be of value.
Most students (n=80, 52% of the sample) reported being most active online on a typical
school or workday in the evening from 6-11pm, as would be expected, in order to complete
homework, assignments and exam preparation. Of concern, however, was six students (4%)
reported night-time use from 11pm-5am during weekdays, which could significantly impact upon
their academic performance and mental health. Sixty-nine students (almost half, 49%) also
accessed health information online, but only 3 students (2%) of the students however, accessed
online health information. The results indicated that 31 students aged 15-25 (41% of the sample)
accessed pornography online. To understand the relationship between technology use, parenting
style and mental health in Australian students in more detail, the researcher deemed it was
necessary to conduct semi-structured interviews with as many of the students who completed the
surveys as possible.
The results of the analysis were used to develop further research into applying strategies that
are reported by the youth to be effective in helping to reduce or overcome mental health issues,
using technology-based mediums, to help Australian students to flourish. Students in both high
school and University (aged 15-25) were questioned using semi-structured interviews regarding
their levels of technology use, mental health and how they felt mental health in the form of stress
coping could be improved using technology.
See Table 4 for an example of some individual node labels and description (including definition,
concept/node and example from the interview transcript) and Table 5 for an example of some
semi-structured interview questions to address the research questions (also including excerpts
from the interview transcript).
One of the key themes to emerge from the qualitative analysis of the research is that
Australian youth report their own story in relation to technology use/misuse during semi-
structured interviews, and that young people relate to stories and images online and offline as a
way of coping with their problems. Although some research participants self-reported problems
associated with stories and images online that could potentially lead to mental health concerns,
they also described ways in which stories and images could be helpful to potentially ameliorate
these problems. Further research is required regarding the ways in which stories and images may
be used to assist Australian youth to cope with their problems in order to potentially reduce mental
health concerns and to flourish.
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Table 1
Technology Use Frequencies
Technology Use Details Frequency % Valid %
(N.B. Some students had missing responses)
How Often Internet/Time Online < once a month 1 1 1
once or twice a month 1 1 1
once or twice a week 3 2 2
every day or almost every day 123 80 96
Missing 25 16 100
TOTAL 153 100
Most Active Online School/Workday Early morning (5am-9am) 3 2 2
Midmorning (9am-12noon) 8 5 6
Early afternoon (12noon-3pm) 10 7 7
Mid afternoon (3pm-6pm) 29 19 21
Evening (6pm-11pm) 80 52 59
Nighttime (11pm-5am) 6 4 5
Missing 17 11 100
TOTAL 153 100
Time Spent Online Weekday up to 1 hr 5 3 4
1 - 2 hrs 12 8 9
2 - 4 hrs 43 28 32
4 - 7 hrs 48 32 35
7 - 12 hrs 24 16 18
more than 12 hrs 4 1 2
Missing 17 12 100
TOTAL 153 100
Time Spent Online Weekend up to1 hr 0 0 0
1 - 2 hrs 20 13 15
2 - 4 hrs 23 15 17
4 - 7 hrs 28 18 21
7 - 12 hrs 33 22 24
more than 12 hrs 32 21 23
Missing 17 11 100
TOTAL 153 100
Table 2
Descriptives of Mental Health and Method of Administering Assessments for All Students
Mental Health n M SD 95% CI
High School (P&P) 51 1.08 .89 [.83, 1.33]
Total Mental Health Uni (P&P) 17 1.06 1.03 [.53, 1.59]
Languishing: Never/Once/Twice in Past Month on Uni (SM) 85 .94 .79 [.77, 1.11]
1 measure of wellbeing and low levels on 6+ measures TOTAL 153 1 .85
of positive functioning
Moderate: Neither flourishing nor languishing
Flourishing: Every day or almost every day on 1+ signs
of wellbeing and 6+ measures of positive functioning
High School (P&P) 51 43.78 7.17 [41.77, 45.80]
Flourishing: Uni (P&P) 17 45.06 7.12 [41.40, 48.72]
Range: 8-56 (many psychological strengths) Uni (SM) 69 41.49 10.47 [39.98, 44.01]
TOTAL 137 42.78 9.03
High School (P&P) 51 3.78 3.91 [2.68, 4.88]
Depression Uni (P&P) 17 4.71 3.77 [2.77, 6.64]
Low: 0-4 Uni (SM) 67 5.21 5.01 [3.99, 6.43]
Mild: 5-6 TOTAL 135 4.61 4.50
Moderate: 7-10
Severe: 11-13
Extremely Severe: 14+
Stress High School (P&P) 51 5.76 3.59 [4.76, 6.77]
Low: 0-7 Uni (P&P) 17 5.71 4.28 [3.50, 7.91]
Mild: 8-9 Uni (SM) 66 6.48 4.54 [5.37, 7.60]
Moderate: 10-12 TOTAL 134 6.11 4.15
Severe: 13-16
Extremely Severe: 17+
Anxiety High School (P&P) 51 3.82 3.33 [2.89, 4.76]
Low: 0-3 Uni (P&P) 17 3.53 4.22 [1.36, 5.70]
Mild: 4-5 Uni (SM) 67 3.99 4.70 [2.84, 5.13]
Moderate: 6-7 TOTAL 135 3.87 4.14
Severe: 8-9
Extremely Severe: 10+
Distress High School (P&P) 50 19.02 5.67 [17.41, 20.63]
Low: <20, 20-24 Uni (P&P) 16 19.56 6.20 [16.26, 22.86]
Mild: 20-24 Uni (SM) 84 21.49 7.79 [19.80, 23.18]
Moderate: 25-29 TOTAL 150 20.46 7.04
High: >30
Happiness High School (P&P) 51 19.33 4.64 [18.03, 20.64]
Range: 8-48 (higher score indicates Uni (P&P) 17 19.41 5.16 [16.76, 22.07]
greater level of happiness) Uni (SM) 69 18.43 5.38 [17.14, 19.73]
TOTAL 137 18.89 5.07
Table 3
Correlations between Mental Health, Parenting Style and Time Spent Online Weekdays (W/D) and Weekends (W/E)
time online
time online
Time spend online weekday
Spend time online weekend
Total Mental Health
Parenting Style
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). *. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
Semi-structured Interviews
Table 4
Example of Some Individual Node Labels and Description
Example from transcript
Preference of young person (YP)
to talk face-to-face or online about
face to face vs online preference
No, I would rather talk to them face-to-face, but I don’t always have that sort of chance to” [Participant’s Story]
(Interview 11)
How technology can help to cope
with mental health problems
helping to understand the relationship between
mental health and technology use
“And if somebody who’s suffering with depression, if they need to use technology to do it, just if they go through
their news feed and they’ll see something that’s gonna make them feel better. Because there’s always something.
You have your Vines here, funny comments, pictures…there’s bound to me something that’ll make you feel better in
your news feed.” [Images] (Interview 5)
How YP feel when using
technology of choice
(eustress/distress) (present/past)
how feel when using technology: also code at
either eustress or distress
Most of the time it is just relaxing watching videos, sometimes playing role-plays which helps to take the edge
off, sometimes videos” [Stories & Images] (Interview 4)
Level of tech use based on number
of hours per day or week
how many hours
“Ahhh… I would say that it is quite high. Oh, say probably somewhere between 12 and 15 hours a day maybe”
[Participant’s Story] (Interview 4)
Main ways of coping using
Flourishing through technology
“If you’re a big fan of music like me, sometimes what I’ll do if my favourite artist has put out a new music video or
some sort of video to do with them, then I’ll watch them, ‘cause I have a very special connection with my artist, and
I’ll watch if there’s something to do with my artist.
YouTube’s a big one, games are a bit one, social media is a big one, music’s a big one, those are the main four ones”
[Stories & Images] (Interview 5)
Self reported views of online
Technology and story
“Well, I’ve said it before a couple of times, it depends on the person, not everyone’s a reader, that’s undoubted. I
know plenty of people that would hear the word “read” and run straight away. But people…not everyone’s a reader,
so if you’re going to try and use stories on technology to try and…what are you trying to use the stories for?”
[Stories] (Interview 5)
If parents’ level of tech use
influences the YP’s use of tech
(not necessarily problematic as in
helping adults understand)
Parents view of technology
“Yeah, I think it does, it’s like a trust relationship, that they can trust me without them supervising what I'm doing
24/7”[Participant’s Story] (Interview 12)
Level of honesty/character persona
in YP’s tech use
Honesty issues and character persona
(Laughs) “Yeah…you can sort of control what you are going to say if you say something online. Like you can type
something out, look at it, then change it…but I don’t feel like that is honest. It is not who you are, it is who you think
people would like you to be.” [Image] (Interview 4)
Self report overuse/misuse of tech
in past/present
Technology addiction
NOTE: We haven’t yet accounted for past/present
“Umm….that’s quite likely I suppose! I suppose I could well be. There are times that I prefer to go
outside…umm…ride horses, sometimes just go for a walk but most of the time…you could say I am addicted to
technology use.” [Participant’s Story] (Interview 4)
Negative feelings of stress from
use of tech in everyday life
Technology and distress
Well, it can be both. The whole break-up could have started over someone posting a comment on something…one
thing would lead to another…if something happens on social media, it’s there for everyone to see, so if you don’t see
then other people are gonna see it, and so that could have been the start of coping.” [Stories & Images] (Interview 5)
Positive feelings of stress from use
of tech in everyday life
Technology and eustress
“No, it because I have weird wrists and I don’t like writing. It hurts my wrists and typing doesn’t hurt as much
because it requires less movement. [Story] (Interview 11)
If YP is using tech for school or
not, and if tech is distracting from
school work
Technology and schoolwork
“Yes, the school gave it to us for school work. So we use it to write up our assignments and email and message the
other students to get information and to get apps for learning. We use the Internet. It is like a mini laptop.” [Stories
& Images] (Interview 11)
Self report tech as an instrument to
stop/improve YP from social
relations with others
Technology as social/antisocial
Yeah, I also use it for photography and stuff because it takes really good photos. [Images]… Uh, I use Instagram
mainly to post photos of places I have been to and of myself….Everyone seems to be doing that” [Story & Image]
(Interview 11)
Is tech perceived as an effective or
ineffective coping strategy
Technology as coping
“It’s never social media does create stress, or social media does not create stress, it can be either, depending on how
you use it or how you choose to see what you see on the social media, whether it stresses you out or whether it makes
you feel better. It’s how you see it.” [Stories & Images] (Interview 5)
How tech helps other YP cope
Sub: Tech and others coping
“No, games…once again it depends on the person, I know a lot of people they’ll go on to YouTube, everyone can
access YouTube. YouTube’s a big one that’s good for releasing stress. You’ll watch videos from your favourite
youtuber and you’ll feel better afterwards, ‘cause more often than not they’re funny, or they’ll make you feel good”
[Stories & Images] (Interview 5)
How tech helps themselves cope
Sub: Tech and self coping
“Again it depends on the situation or how I am. If I’m feeling…going off as a way of coping, if I’m trying to cope
with a sad situation then I will listen to sad songs, and if I’m dealing with a situation which I’m angry, then I’ll listen
to more upbeat songs” [Stories & Images] (Interview 5)
Using a specific tech to cope is a
conscious choice
Sub: Tech and conscious choice
“Yes. I mean, you’ve seen “Step up”, haven’t you? Well, not “Step up”, “Footloose”. In “Foot loose” he’s listening
to loud heavy music, blasting from his car and he’s doing all the weird movements he does and he feels better
afterwards, it’s something like that” [Stories & Images] (Interview 5)
Using a specific tech to cope is a
unconscious choice
Sub: Tech and unconscious choice
Yeah, because I spend so much time on technology that I push my school life away more than I should be doing. I
should be more productive” [Participant’s Story] (Interview 12)
Tech helps in some situations
(which?) but not in others
Technology as a double edged sword
Not online, but on the actual device, like typing. It is a lot easier for me than writing.” [Participant’s Story]
(Interview 11)
Tech is a form of distraction at
school and at home
Technology as temptation
With school, that will cut into the time a bit but I do spend pretty much most of my time outside of school with the
computer, so I suppose school does throw off that estimate (sigh) but after school I will be an hour with my family
and then go to use the computer essentially. [Story] (Interview 4)
Enhancing resilience through
digital and non-digital stories e.g.
as a song, an interactive digital
story/written book, computer
Resilience enhancing through stories
“Indirectly they would be having a look at the character to which they relate and then begin to relate to themselves,
say “Oh, how they’re feeling. You know what? That’s how I feel, I feel exactly the same way that you do”. Now,
how do you deal with this? How is this character dealing with this situation, and then they’ll read through the rest of
the story: “Oh, that’s how he deals with it. You know what, I do actually have that option.” [Stories & Images]
(Interview 5)
Table 5
Example of Semi-Structured Interview Questions to Address Research Questions (excerpts from Interview Transcript)
Qualitative Research (Grounded Theory - Charmaz' Constructivist Theoretical
1 a) Is there a relationship between the level of technology use and how the participant
copes? (i.e., How much technology is used and how can technology help the students to
cope more effectively)
Can you tell me what you think in terms of your level of technology use, would you say that it’s low, medium,
high…what do you think?
Oh, high.
High level of technology use? Ok.
When you say it’s high, roughly how many hours a day would you spend on technology?
Ok, so as a rough guide, how many hours would you say?
How many hours roughly?
Five in total…
In terms of how you use the technology, how do you say that you would normally use it?
I would normally use it, could you elaborate on that?
Well, would you use it as a way of coping, would you use it as a way of socializing with other people, would
you use it as a way of learning information? How would you use the technology?
So which one do you use it for mostly out of say…music, for enjoyment and way of coping, which one would
you say you use it for…?
I suppose it depends on where I am and when I am.
If I’m […] not connected to the internet, so I’ll use my music more, but if I’m at home, then I’m connected to
the internet and I’ll use Facebook.
And you use that for coping, enjoyment and socializing. Which one would you use it for mostly?
Like I said it depends on where and when, actually no, in terms of Facebook it’s not so much where or when,
it’s just whenever they’re online I’ll talk to them. If they’re not online I can’t talk to them so I won’t. If they’re
not online then I’ll be using it for enjoyment. If I’m feeling down it’ll be using it for coping, if they’re online
it’s using it for social.
2 a) What are the Australian youths’ perceptions of their parents/caregivers’ parenting style?
(year 11 and 12 students only)
…lots of different ways that different people would use.
Ok, so, can I just ask whether your parents are understanding of your technology use, do you think that they
understand why you use it all, how do you use it?
I think my mother understands a lot more about technology use that what my dad does, because of her line of
work. But I believe that they’d like to think that they know everything that goes on in terms of technology, but
the truth is, no one can ever really know what you’re doing on technology all the time.
I mean, I’m not going to pretend like I know exactly what my best friend is doing. I mean, I’ve known him for
years and years, and I know everything about him, but I can’t possibly know exactly what he’s doing on social
media, and nor can he know exactly what I’m doing. It’s the same with parents…
So, when you ask “Do the parents have more of an understanding?” I would say it depends on how close they
are with their kid. If they’re very close, well, the kid would feel more comfortable to talk to them, and they
wouldn’t even need social media to feel better, they’d have a parent to talk to and to vent their feelings to.
So you think it depends on the relationship…
…between the parent and the child. That’s a big factor in how much the parent knows.
2 b) How, why and when do Australian youth perceive parenting style impacts on their
level/type of technology use e.g., interactions with family, friends, at home, school or
elsewhere? (year 11 and 12 students only)
So you’re thinking that the kids who don’t have as good a relationship with their parents might need social
media more?
They would need another outlet more.
Such as social media.
Such as social media, or music, or YouTube, or some other form of outlet.
Ok, so then you’re suggesting that kids with high levels of parental warmth and involvement are less likely to
use technology?
As a way of coping, yes. Every teenager that I know, every single one of my friends uses technology for
something, we use technology for something. But the more open or the more strong a relationship that you
have with your parent, the less likely or less often you might be using the technology as a way of coping,
‘cause you’ll have the parent there to vent to.
So basically stricter the parent, less warmth and involvement, the more likely they are to have to use
technology as a way of coping.
2c) Do young Australian students perceive that their parents/caregivers are aware of their
child’s sources of technology distress and eustress and know how to assist their young
students to use technology to build eustress and manage distress?
And did you just get that from your observation or like have you seen that happening with your peers?
Well, I’ll use my parents as an example. My mom’s very busy, my mom’s busy all the time, and as is my dad,
except he works all the time, physically. My mom works all the time mentally, both because of their career,
their line of work. So, they’ll come home and more often than not my dad will be a bit cranky, tired and he
wouldn’t wanna be bothered, he just wanna sit and watch some TV, or see if the game’s on, or something like
that. And my mom will be having a nap, or still working while trying to watch TV and trying to deal with my
brother and sister, so I don’t actually have the opportunity to be able to talk to them, ‘cause they’re busy or
tired, so I use social media a lot more as a way of coping with a crappy day, than I do talking to my parents.
More often I talk to my mom than my dad, ‘cause dads, my dad, he doesn’t seem to understand as much.
So would you say you’ve got medium level of parental warmth and involvement, or a high level, or low level?
I’d say it’s somewhere in the middle, not in the middle, closer to, it’s in the middle between low and medium,
leaning more towards medium.
Somewhere between low to medium.
Leaning more towards medium. ‘Cause I can’t tell my parents everything, ‘cause like I said they’re always
tired or working or something like that, so I don’t get the chance to talk to them, but I still do sometimes get to
talk to them, so I’ll say to my mom: “Can I have a chat with you for a minute?”, and if she’s to busy she’ll say
“Nah!”, I’ll say “Ok, fine, whatever”. And I’ll come back later and ask her again, and she’ll say “Yeah, ok,
fine, now we can talk”, and we’ll talk.
3a) Do Australian students recognize technology use as a cause of distress and how, why
and when do they perceive this can this be improved e.g., through interactions with family,
friends, at home/school/elsewhere?
And are they things that you’ve always used, the Facebook and music, or are they things that you’ve just
started using?
Well, Facebook, I wasn’t actually allowed Facebook until a little while ago, I think it was last year. I was
introduced to Facebook for the first time last year. Ever since then I’ve been using it as an outlet, and it has
been very successful as being an outlet. But music however, has been an outlet since before I can remember,
I’ve loved music since…yeah.
Ok. So it’s always been an outlet, but has it been an outlet in terms of technology with the music?
In terms of technology with the music, when I got my first phone, and I first realized “Hey, I can put songs on
my phone, I can listen to it anywhere”, that was the day that I realized that technology and music together
could be an incredible outlet for stress, or for anything like that.
Facebook, when I first got Facebook was when I realized that it could be that way.
So, it’s really music you’ve always used as an outlet…
I’ve always used music as an outlet, but technology in music, as soon as I had the means, the physical means.
3b) Do young Australian students perceive that technology based resilience-enhancing
programs are effective in helping them to cope with stress or do they perceive that
something else may be more effective and why?
Okay. (Long Pause) Okay, how, um, because the purpose of during this research is to work out how we can
use technology to help young people to cope with their problems, so do you have any ideas how we could use
technology in a way to that could help other young people to flourish more?
Well, most of the things I can think of have already been done. Like those little chat rooms that people have
that are like, not quite like psychologists, but older people with more experience. There is always at least one
or more of them online that are there to help, if you need help. You send them a message and they’ll send one
And you get sorted out (?)
So, do you find that there very effective for people or do you think they aren’t?
Um, I haven’t used one and don’t really know anyone who has used one.
But, um, by the sounds of it, it sounds like it could be a very effective thing.
3c) How, why and when do Australian youth think that technology based resilience-
enhancing programs, or other methods to reduce distress, should be used?
Okay. What about stories? If you had an app that…
Yeah, I would say that is a better idea.
Having stories?
Yeah, but not, not just stories that are made up. But like inspirational, real life stories like people’s
experiences, with the same thing that you have with them, like, pulling through it.
How long would you like the stories to be?
Like, not like a sentence or paragraph, but like maybe it’s short, but not too short. Like we don’t want a
massive 10 page real life story. That would be sort of a strain to read. You want something that is short and
Okay. So people, what kinds of people? Like sports people or everyday people?
Everyday people. Sports people doesn’t like, you know, like celebrities, like, that can help but knowing that
people like you have gotten through it, and how they have gotten through it is often really helpful.
So, like stories of resilience, basically?
People whom have gotten through difficulties.
Okay. And do you think that would help you to identify with those people and their stories?
Yeah (Inaudible)
And maybe you could learn, or other people, young people could learn from their stories.
What about if it was a different story to your own issues, like if it was a story of survival, let’s say, and you’re
not in a situation where you are out in the bush and going to die so…
I wouldn’t say a story like that, but more of a story of survival like the situation you’re in. So like, even if it is
a little bit more intense than your own, it sometimes gives you a perspective type thing.
So to survival in certain areas.
Yeah. Such as when your parents argue or like a family member passed away or anything that could trigger
any sort of severe emotions.
Okay. I understand. So, um, so with lots of different issues. So what the person could press on, um, if this is a
story about how to cope with your parents fighting, this is a story about…
Yeah. But there should be more than just one, because sometimes people need to read more than just one.
... Unexpectedly, I also discovered that it was the pain that I had experienced during my teen years, and my need to develop resilient strategies to cope, that made me so passionate to help improve the resilience of young people. Further, it was not until I engaged in second-person action research, and wrote about it academically, that I decided to conduct doctoral study to investigate creative ways to help young people to be more resilient (Gordillo, 2015;2019). ...
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Students making the transition from high school to university often encounter many stressors and new experiences. Many students adjust successfully to university; however, some students do not, often resulting in attrition from the university and mental health issues. The primary aim of the current study was to examine the effects that optimism, self-efficacy, depression, and anxiety have on an individual's life stress and adaptation to university. Eighty-four first-year, full-time students from the Queensland University of Technology (60 female, 24 male) who had entered university straight from high school completed the study. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing their levels of optimism, self-efficacy, depression, anxiety, perceived level of life stress and adaptation to university. In line with predictions, results showed that optimism, depression, and anxiety each had a significant relationship with students’ perceived level of stress. Furthermore, self-efficacy and depression had a significant relationship with adaptation to university. We conclude that students with high levels of optimism and low levels of depression and anxiety will adapt better when making the transition from high school to university. In addition, students with high levels of self-efficacy and low levels of depression will experience less life stress in their commencement year of university. The implications of this study are outlined.
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Introduction Electronic devices in the bedroom are broadly linked with poor sleep in adolescents. This study investigated whether there is a dose-response relationship between use of electronic devices (computers, cellphones, televisions and radios) in bed prior to sleep and adolescent sleep patterns. Methods Adolescents aged 11–17 yrs (n = 1,184; 67.6% female) completed an Australia-wide internet survey that examined sleep patterns, sleepiness, sleep disorders, the presence of electronic devices in the bedroom and frequency of use in bed at night. Results Over 70% of adolescents reported 2 or more electronic devices in their bedroom at night. Use of devices in bed a few nights per week or more was 46.8% cellphone, 38.5% computer, 23.2% TV, and 15.8% radio. Device use had dose-dependent associations with later sleep onset on weekdays (highest-dose computer adjOR = 3.75: 99% CI = 2.17–6.46; cellphone 2.29: 1.22–4.30) and weekends (computer 3.68: 2.14–6.32; cellphone 3.24: 1.70–6.19; TV 2.32: 1.30–4.14), and later waking on weekdays (computer 2.08: 1.25–3.44; TV 2.31: 1.33–4.02) and weekends (computer 1.99: 1.21–3.26; cellphone 2.33: 1.33–4.08; TV 2.04: 1.18–3.55). Only ‘almost every night’ computer use (: 2.43: 1.45–4.08) was associated with short weekday sleep duration, and only ‘almost every night’ cellphone use (2.23: 1.26–3.94) was associated with wake lag (waking later on weekends). Conclusions Use of computers, cell-phones and televisions at higher doses was associated with delayed sleep/wake schedules and wake lag, potentially impairing health and educational outcomes.
The debate on the social impact of information and communication technologies is particularly important for the study of adolescent life, because through their close association with friends and peers, adolescents develop life expectations, school aspirations, world views, and behaviors. This book presents an up-to-date review of the literature on youth sociability, relationship formation, and online communication, examining the way young people use the internet to construct or maintain their inter-personal relationships. Using a social network perspective, the book systematically explores the various effects of internet access and use on adolescents' involvement in social, leisure and extracurricular activities, evaluating the arguments that suggest the internet is displacing other forms of social ties. The core of the book investigates the motivations for online relationship formation and the use of online communication for relationship maintenance. The final part of the book focuses on the consequences, both positive and negative, of the use of online communication, such as increased social capital and online bullying. Wired Youth is ideal for undergraduate and graduate students of adolescent psychology, youth studies, media studies and the psychology and sociology of interpersonal relationships.
Young people need to cope in a variety of settings, including school, home, peer groups and the workplace, and with a range of life problems such as examinations and parental divorce. This thoroughly revised and updated new edition of Adolescent Coping presents the latest research and applications in the field of coping. It highlights the ways in which coping can be measured and, in particular, details a widely used adolescent coping instrument. Topics include the different ways in which girls and boys cope, coping in the family, how culture and context determine how young people cope, decisional coping, problem solving and social coping, with a particular emphasis on practice. Each topic is considered in light of past and recent research findings and each chapter includes quotations from young people. While topics such as depression, eating disorders, self-harm and grief and loss are addressed, there is a substantial focus on the positive aspects of coping, including an emphasis on resilience and the achievement of happiness. In addition to the wide-ranging research findings that are reported, many of the chapters consider implications and applications of the relevant findings with suggestions for the development of coping skills and coping skills training. Adolescent Coping will be of interest to students of psychology, social work, sociology, education and youth and community work as well as to an audience of parents, educators and adolescents.
The study of and interest in adolescence in the field of psychology and related fields continues to grow, necessitating an expanded revision of this seminal work. This multidisciplinary handbook, edited by the premier scholars in the field, Richard Lerner and Laurence Steinberg, and with contributions from the leading researchers, reflects the latest empirical work and growth in the field.
Until researchers and theorists account for the complex relationship between resilience and culture, explanations of why some individuals prevail in the face of adversity will remain incomplete. This edited volume addresses this crucial issue by bringing together emerging discussions of the ways in which culture shapes resilience, the theory that informs these various studies, and important considerations for researchers as they continue to investigate resilience. Using research from majority and minority world contexts, ‘Youth Resilience and Culture: Commonalities and Complexities’ highlights that non-stereotypical, critical appreciation of the cultural systems in which youth are embedded, and/or affiliate with, is pivotal to understanding why particular resilience processes matter for particular youth in a particular life-world at a particular point in time. In doing so, this book sensitizes readers to the importance of accounting for the influence of cultural contexts on resilience processes, and to the danger of conceptualising and/or operationalising resilience, culture, and their interplay, simplistically or idealistically. In short, the progressive contents of ‘Youth Resilience and Culture: Commonalities and Complexities’ make it an essential read for resilience-focused scholars, students, academics, and researchers, as well as policy makers, practitioners, and humanitarian workers engaged with high-risk populations.
An attempt has been made to examine the effect of gender and academic competence on the self-concept of adolescents. The study adopted a 2 (academically competent versus academically less-competent adolescents) × 2 (boys versus girls) factorial design. In the present study, two hundred forty adolescents (120 academically competent adolescents securing 80% or more marks and 120 academically less-competent adolescents securing 50% or fewer marks) are randomly sampled from different urban colleges of Odisha. In each group of 120 adolescents, there are 60 boys and 60 girls. All the subjects are first year graduate students. The participants of all the four groups are compared with respect to their self-concept. The result indicated that academically competent adolescents have higher physical, moral, personal, family, social and overall self-concept than less-competent ones. The strength of association between personal self-concept and overall self-concept in boys is higher than the association found in girls. Similarly, the strength of association between physical self-concept and overall self-concept, as well as social self-concept and overall self-concept is higher in girls than that of the boys.