Online peer help: Its quality in an online service for adolescents

Bastianina Contena, Michela Maccherini, Stefano Alemanno, Stefano Taddei

Accepted August 31, 2019

First published August 31, 2019

https://doi.org/10.26387/bpa.285.2

Abstract

Internet is the primary source of health-related information for adolescents and young adults and it is
possible to find online several groups, forums or communities of teenagers and young adults that offer peer help. A
problematic aspect related to this kind of help is its evaluation, not only in term of outcome but even in term of process.
Using a mixed methodology (quantitative and qualitative) this study tries to improve our understanding of dynamics of
online help among teenagers, by evaluating which are the principal users’ problems and how is the quality of support
offered by peers. 82 chats between adolescents in an online peer help service, called Youngle, are analyzed in term of
quality of offered help. Adolescents seek online help most of all for relational problems and the overall quality of peerhelp
is high. However, some aspects related to conversational ability require improvement interventions. For example,
peers seem to use more frequently negative communication patterns when talk about sexuality. Results suggest the
utility of peer help for generic topics that concern adolescence, such as the relational ones, but even the need to provide
specialized help for specific issues that appear to be extremely complex for adolescents, such as sexuality.

Online peer help: Its quality in an online service for adolescents

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Author Surname Author Initial. Title. Publication Title. Year Published;Volume number(Issue number):Pages Used. doi:DOI Number.


Contena Bastianina . Maccherini Michela . Alemanno Stefano . Taddei Stefano . Online peer help: Its quality in an online service for adolescents. BPA Applied Psychology Bulletin. 2019;285(1):13-23. doi:10.26387/bpa.285.1.

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Author Surname Author Initial. Title. Publication Title. Year Published;Volume number(Issue number):Pages Used. doi:DOI Number.


Contena Bastianina . Maccherini Michela . Alemanno Stefano . Taddei Stefano . Online peer help: Its quality in an online service for adolescents. BPA Applied Psychology Bulletin. 2019;285(1):13-23. doi:10.26387/bpa.285.1.