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Journal of Youth and Adolescence

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Academic Pressure -- Psychology, Youth and Adolescence


Adolescents face many academic pressures that require good coping skills, but coping skills can also depend on social resources, such as parental support and fewer negative interactions. The aim of this study was to determine if parental support and parental negative interactions concurrently and longitudinally relate to adolescents’ ways of academic coping, above and beyond the impact of three types of academic stress, students’ achievement at school (i.e., grades in school), and age. Survey data were collected from 839 Australian students in grades 5 to 10 (Mage = 12.2, SD = 1.72; 50% girls). Students completed measures of support and negative interactions with parents; academic stress from workload, external pressure (teachers/parents) to achieve, and intrapsychic pressure for high achievement; and ways of academic coping that were grouped into two positive and two negative types. Hypothesized associations were tested concurrently and from one year to the next using path modeling. Beyond the numerous significant influences of academic stress and achievement on coping, and control for age and COVID-19 timing, adolescents with more parental support reported more use of engagement coping (e.g., strategizing) and comfort-seeking, whereas those who reported more negative interactions with parents reported more use of disengagement coping (e.g., concealment) and escape. In the longitudinal model, parental support predicted an increase in engagement and comfort-seeking and a decrease in disengagement coping, whereas negative interaction with parents predicted an increase in disengagement coping. Overall, the findings support the view that coping with academic stressors will continue to depend on parent-adolescent relationships even into the teen years.


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