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Bullying in schools and in cyberspace: Associations with depressive symptoms in Swiss and Australian adolescents


Perren, S; Dooley, J; Shaw, T; Cross, D (2010). Bullying in schools and in cyberspace: Associations with depressive symptoms in Swiss and Australian adolescents. Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Psychiatry, 4:28.

Abstract

Cyber-bullying (i.e., bullying via electronic means) has emerged as a new form of bullying that presents unique challenges to those victimised. Recent studies have demonstrated that there is a significant conceptual and practical overlap between both types of bullying such that most young people who are cyber-bullied also tend to be bullied by more traditional methods. Despite the overlap between traditional and cyber forms of bullying, it remains unclear if being a victim of cyber-bullying has the same negative consequences as being a victim of traditional bullying. The current study investigated associations between cyber versus traditional bullying and depressive symptoms in 374 and 1320 students from Switzerland and Australia respectively (52% female; Age: M = 13.8, SD = 1.0). All participants completed a bullying questionnaire (assessing perpetration and victimisation of traditional and cyber forms of bullying behaviour) in addition to scales on depressive symptoms. Across both samples, traditional victims and bully-victims reported more depressive symptoms than bullies and non-involved children. Importantly, victims of cyber-bullying reported significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms, even when controlling for the involvement in traditional bullying/victimisation. Overall, cyber-victimisation emerged as an additional risk factor for depressive symptoms in adolescents involved in bullying.

Abstract

Cyber-bullying (i.e., bullying via electronic means) has emerged as a new form of bullying that presents unique challenges to those victimised. Recent studies have demonstrated that there is a significant conceptual and practical overlap between both types of bullying such that most young people who are cyber-bullied also tend to be bullied by more traditional methods. Despite the overlap between traditional and cyber forms of bullying, it remains unclear if being a victim of cyber-bullying has the same negative consequences as being a victim of traditional bullying. The current study investigated associations between cyber versus traditional bullying and depressive symptoms in 374 and 1320 students from Switzerland and Australia respectively (52% female; Age: M = 13.8, SD = 1.0). All participants completed a bullying questionnaire (assessing perpetration and victimisation of traditional and cyber forms of bullying behaviour) in addition to scales on depressive symptoms. Across both samples, traditional victims and bully-victims reported more depressive symptoms than bullies and non-involved children. Importantly, victims of cyber-bullying reported significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms, even when controlling for the involvement in traditional bullying/victimisation. Overall, cyber-victimisation emerged as an additional risk factor for depressive symptoms in adolescents involved in bullying.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:08 Mar 2011 13:51
Last Modified:04 Aug 2017 13:41
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1753-2000
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/1753-2000-4-28
PubMed ID:21092266

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