New Publication on “Relationship between online social support and adolescents’ mental health: A systematic review and meta-analysis”


A new publication by Ms. Zhou Ziyao (our Year 3 PhD student supervised by Prof. Cheng) and Prof. Cheng Qijin titled “Relationship between online social support and adolescents’ mental health: A systematic review and meta-analysis” has been published online in Journal of Adolescence, an SSCI Q2 journal which addresses issues of professional and academic importance concerning development between puberty and the attainment of adult status within society.

Below please find an abstract of the paper: 
Introduction: The potential benefits of supportive interactions on social networking sites on adolescents’ mental health are promising; however, no systematic evaluation has been conducted on this topic. This review examined empirical research on the relationship between social support derived from social networking sites and adolescents’ mental health both theoretically and empirically.

Methods: Followed PRISMA guidelines, we conducted a systematic literature search on six English and three Chinese databases in February 2020. Four thousand one hundred and seventy-seven articles were screened first by title, then abstract, and lastly, full articles.

Results: Fourteen studies (five English and nine Chinese) were identified, with total sample of 11,616 adolescents (age: 10–19 years; females: 42.7%–56.3%). Meta-analysis showed that the correlation of online social support with self-esteem was moderate and significant (r = .29), but with depression was small and insignificant (r = −.09). Sensitivity analysis indicated that social support from acquaintances on the internet may not be as beneficial as from real-life acquaintances. Despite that there isn't enough research on other specific mental health outcomes to run a quantitative synthesis, individual studies suggest that online social support (OSS) may be associated with increased self-identity and life satisfaction, decreased loneliness and social anxiety, it also counteracts the negative effect of stress and cyberbullying on mental health.

Conclusions: OSS might be beneficial for adolescents' mental health, especially self-esteem, although the causal relationship requires longitudinal studies to confirm, and the underlying mechanisms need further investigation.

You may refer to this link for the article:

Congratulations to Ziyao and Qijin!