A number of recent series airing on traditional and streaming platforms portray sensitive topics faced by adolescents, including depression and suicide. Research has suggested that these subjects may be difficult for parents and adolescents to discuss, given their stigmatized nature. It is possible, however, that series portraying these issues in a realistic way can influence parent viewers’ perceived understanding of and comfort discussing these topics, and subsequently, relate to self-reported conversations with their adolescents. In addition, it is likely that these relations may differ for participants from different countries, especially considering country differences in mental health, access to mental health care, and stigmatization about mental health. We tested these relations using data from 778 parent viewers of the series 13 Reasons Why. We sampled viewers from four countries: Australia, the United States, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. Results suggested an indirect association between self-reported topic understanding and starting a conversation with their adolescent about these topics via reports of comfort discussing these topics. Participants’ country of habitation at the time of the study did not significantly influence these associations. We discuss these findings in the context of parent-adolescent communication, particularly around sensitive health-related topics.
- 13 Reasons Why
- Country differences
- Mental health
- Parent-adolescent communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies