Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cyberbullying and school bullying are associated with lower school performance and mental distress among student victims


"Cyberbullying, School Bullying, and Psychological Distress: A Regional Census of High School Students" will appear in the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look” at

A high proportion of high school students are victims of cyberbullying and school bullying, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health. These forms of bullying are shown to be negatively associated with school performance as well as mental health.

Researchers used a regional census of high school students to document the prevalence of cyberbullying and school bullying victimization and their associations with psychological distress. In fall 2008, researchers surveyed 20,406 ninth through 12th graders in Boston’s MetroWest region to assess their bullying victimization and psychological distress, including depressive symptoms, self-injury and suicidality. A total of 15.8 percent of students reported cyberbullying, and 25.9 percent reported school bullying in the past 12 months. Reports of cyberbullying were higher among girls than among boys, whereas reports of school bullying were similar by gender. Both cyberbullying and school bullying victimization were higher among non-heterosexually identified youths. Victims of bullying reported lower school performance and school attachment. Victims also reported elevated levels of depressive symptoms and suicide attempts.

The study’s authors concluded, “Our study provides a better understanding of cyberbullying and its relationship to school bullying, which is critical to informing school-based prevention efforts and engaging parents and other community members in combating this significant public health issue.”

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