The article “The Interaction Between Adolescent Cyber Dating Abuse and Parenting on Mental Health Outcomes” by Morgan Lancaster Strickland, Hayley Love, and Jonathan Kimmes, published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies in 2023, explores the protective role of parent-child relationship quality against the negative mental health effects of cyber dating abuse (CDA) among adolescents. Utilizing data from 1,960 adolescents aged 11 to 18 who were in romantic relationships, the study aimed to determine if aspects of the parent-child relationship, such as closeness, communication, and shared activities, could mitigate the impacts of CDA on adolescent depression and anxiety.

The study found that parent-child closeness, but not communication or shared activities, moderated the effects of CDA on adolescents’ symptoms of depression and anxiety. This suggests that the quality of parent-child relationships, specifically emotional closeness, plays a significant role in protecting against the adverse mental health outcomes associated with CDA, whereas the quantity of interactions (measured by shared activities and communication) does not have the same protective effect.

Cyber dating abuse is identified as the use of communication technologies to harass, threaten, or control one’s partner and has become a growing concern among adolescents, leading to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Despite the rise in CDA, supportive parent-child relationships, especially those characterized by closeness, can serve as a buffer against the stressors introduced by such abuse.

The study highlights the importance of fostering positive and close relationships between parents and adolescents to combat the negative implications of cyber dating abuse. Clinical implications suggest that interventions aimed at enhancing parent-child relationships could be beneficial in mitigating the psychological impacts of CDA. Future research is encouraged to further explore the dynamics of parent-child interactions and their effects on adolescents facing cyber dating abuse, considering factors such as gender differences and the quality of communication.

This study adds to the growing body of literature on adolescent mental health and the protective role of parent-child relationships, emphasizing the need for supportive and emotionally close relationships to safeguard against the harms of cyber dating abuse.

Strickland, M. L., Love, H., & Kimmes, J. (2023). The interaction between adolescent cyber dating abuse and parenting on mental health outcomes. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 32(3), 769-780. doi: