Interpersonal relationships are indispensable in helping adolescents cope with stressors, acting as social support sources that protect them from psychological distress. Learning from their experiences may elucidate what strategies could be employed to support adolescents during this vulnerable life stage. Focus groups (N = 80) with adolescents in the Basque Country, Spain, were conducted to capture adolescents' narratives on stress and social support. Findings revealed the dual role of interpersonal relationships – as stressors and as sources of social support. Adolescents draw on sources of support that are familiar, mature, friendly, and, most importantly, worth of trust. Their most valued type of support is emotional, although there should be a match between the needs and the help offered. Implications for intervention programmes are discussed.
Gonzalo Bacigalupe and Maria Camara. "The role of social support in adolescents: are you helping me or stressing me out?" International Journal of Adolescence and Youth (2014).