Texas Tech University

Human Development and Family Sciences Ph.D. Student Investigates Effect on Digital Communication

Matilda Beckanovic

October 9, 2023

Narges Hadi

Narges Hadi is researching the intergenerational solidarity with digital communication and mental health between older parents and adult children

Narges Hadi is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) Ph.D. program. She is researching intergenerational solidarity with digital communication and mental health between older parents and adult children during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study investigates the impact of digital communication on intergenerational solidarity and mental health among older parents and adult children during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Her research identified three distinct classes of intergenerational relationships: tight-knit traditional, distant-but-digitally connected, and detached. The tight-knit traditional class is characterized by strong solidarity across various dimensions, while the distant-but-digitally connected class emphasizes digital contact over in-person interactions, and the detached class exhibits weak solidarity overall. 

"In terms of mental health outcomes, the study revealed interesting patterns," Hadi said. "Among mother-child dyads, both mothers and adult children reported better mental health (lower depressive symptoms and higher life satisfaction) when they had either tight-knit traditional or distant but digitally connected relationships, compared to those with detached relationships. In father-child dyads, fathers' mental health was not significantly different across the three classes, but adult children reported better mental health when they had tight-knit traditional or distant-but-digitally connected relationships with their fathers."           

These findings highlight the importance of digital communication in maintaining intergenerational solidarity and promoting better mental health during pandemic-related restrictions. The study suggests that incorporating digital elements into the intergenerational solidarity model can offer valuable insights for researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers interested in using technology-based solutions to support the mental health of older parents and their adult children. This study provides a promising methodological framework for further exploring intergenerational and digital solidarity in the post-pandemic era. 

After graduation, Hadi will focus on researching the intersection of Educational Psychology and Human Development and Family Sciences, encompassing online learning's impact on academic achievements, young adults' mental health, positive youth development, family conflicts, and domestic violence. Hadi shares how her research areas align with crucial national interests in the United States. 

"My emphasis on young adults' mental well-being contributes to public health goals by preventing long-term psychological challenges," Hadi said. "Additionally, my research in positive youth development seeks to promote the cognitive, emotional, and social growth of young individuals, ultimately aiming to make meaningful contributions to academia and society while aligning with national priorities for societal well-being."

During her time in the Human Development and Family Sciences doctoral program, she received academic and personal support from faculty and staff. Hadi said the HDFS faculty are incredibly dedicated to their students throughout their academic advising, assisting from planning course schedules to facilitating their student's participation in conferences and everything in between. 

"The department has been proactive in enhancing my professional development. They regularly organize workshops, seminars, conferences, and training sessions, all of which have contributed significantly to my growth as a scholar," Hadi said. "The dedicated faculty members within the HDFS department have consistently encouraged and supported me in disseminating my research findings through conference presentations and scholarly publications, further enriching my academic experience."