Study: Cyberbullying tied to depression, drinking


NEED TO KNOW
  • 43% of teens have been victims of cyberbullying in the last year
  • Study: Those who had experienced cyberbullying had almost 3X the odds of meeting the clinical criteria for depression
Study: Cyberbullying tied to depression, drinking
Cyberbullying is a growing problem facing our technology-centric world.
Forty-three percent of teens have been victims of cyberbullying in the last year, according to a report published by the National Crime Prevention Council.
So, how is this affecting America's youth over the long term? A new study of college females suggests that being involved in cyberbullying increases the rates of meeting the criteria for both depression and alcohol abuse.
In “Cyberbullying, Depression, and Problem Alcohol Use in Female College Students: A Multisite Study,” authors Selkie Ellen M., Kota Rajitha, Chan Ya-Fen and Moreno Megan analyzed surveys from 265 female students, ages 18-25, from four U.S. universities.
The surveys evaluated the individuals' involvement in cyberbullying behaviors -- both as the victims and the aggressors in such situations. Participants also completed a patient health questionnaire to assess depressive symptoms and an alcohol use disorder test "to assess problem drinking,” according to the abstract.
The results, which were published last week in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, found that 27% of participants experienced cyberbullying in college. Among that group, “The most common behaviors reported were hacking into another person’s account, receiving unwanted sexual advances, being harassed by text message, and posting of degrading comment.”
The results also found that 17.4% of participants met the criteria for depression and that 37.5% met the criteria for problem drinking.
When these findings were analyzed together, they found that those who had experienced cyberbullying had almost three times the odds of meeting the clinical criteria for depression.
Participants who were the aggressors in cyberbullying situations not only had four times the odds for depression, but they also had increased odds of meeting the criteria for problem alcohol use compared to those with no cyberbullying experience