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Cyberbullying puts female students at risk of depression

A new study has found that female college students who are involved in cyberbullying have an increased risk of depression – that’s both bullies and victims. Cyberbullies are also more likely to report problems with alcohol abuse.

Rajitha Kota, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, said:

“Participants with any involvement in cyberbullying had increased odds of depression and those involved in cyberbullying as bullies had increased odds of both depression and problem alcohol use.”

Cyberbullying and its effects have been studied largely in middle and high school students, but less is known about cyberbullying in college students. This research investigated the relationship between involvement in cyberbullying and depression or problem alcohol use among a community of female college students.

For the study, two hundred and sixty-five female students from four colleges completed online surveys assessing involvement in cyberbullying behaviours. Participants also completed two questionnaires to examine their symptoms relating to depression and problems with alcohol abuse.

The researchers found that more than one in four females experienced cyberbullying in college, increasing their risk for depression. Among the participants who had experienced cyberbullying, the most common behaviours reported were hacking into another person’s account, receiving unwanted sexual advances, being harassed by text, and posting of abusive comments. The findings showed that those women who had experienced unwanted sexual contact online or by text had six times the odds of experiencing depression.

This study appeared in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. If you have experienced cyberbullying and need someone to talk to, get in touch with us – find a method to suit you on our Total Access Support page.