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Research Snapshot: How does perceived support in school relate to teens’ mental health?

February 21, 2013

Studies show that self-esteem goes down and symptoms of depression and mental disorders rise as adolescents move from grade to grade at school. However, strong emotional support from their classmates and teachers helps ward off mental health problems in youth.

Researchers looked at how teens’ perceptions of their social supports in school relate to their mental health. They surveyed 2,616 grade nine students from 23 high schools across Ontario. The students filled out a survey at the beginning and end of grade nine, and at the beginning of grade ten. They were asked questions about their perceived support systems, self-esteem, and mental health.

The results showed that as students advanced in school, they believed they were getting less and less support from their teachers and classmates. Also, their self-esteem decreased and they had more symptoms of depression. Less classmate support was more strongly related to lower self esteem and more symptoms of depression than less support from teachers.

Read this Research Snapshot here.

Research Snapshots are brief, clear language summaries of research, presented in a user-friendly format. To read EENet’s clear language summary of this research, and others, visit

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