To our knowledge, no population study examining psychosocial and psychiatric risk factors associated with cyberbullying among adolescents exists.
To study cross-sectional associations between cyberbullying and psychiatric and psychosomatic problems among adolescents.
Population-based cross-sectional study.
The sample consists of 2215 Finnish adolescents aged 13 to 16 years with complete information about cyberbullying and cybervictimization.
Main Outcome Measures
Self-reports of cyberbullying and cybervictimization during the past 6 months.
In the total sample, 4.8% were cybervictims only, 7.4% were cyberbullies only, and 5.4% were cyberbully-victims. Cybervictim-only status was associated with living in a family with other than 2 biological parents, perceived difficulties, emotional and peer problems, headache, recurrent abdominal pain, sleeping difficulties, and not feeling safe at school. Cyberbully-only status was associated with perceived difficulties, hyperactivity, conduct problems, low prosocial behavior, frequent smoking and drunkenness, headache, and not feeling safe at school. Cyberbully-victim status was associated with all of these risk factors. Among cybervictims, being cyberbullied by a same-sex or opposite-sex adult, by an unknown person, and by a group of people were associated with fear for safety, indicating possible trauma.
Both cyberbullying and cybervictimization are associated with psychiatric and psychosomatic problems. The most troubled are those who are both cyberbullies and cybervictims. This indicates the need for new strategies for cyberbullying prevention and intervention.