Cyberbullying Linked to Mental Issues

TURKU, Finland, July 7 (UPI) — Teen victims and perpetrators of bullying by cellphone or computers are more likely to report psychiatric and physical symptoms, Finnish researchers found.

Dr. Andre Sourander of Turku University in Finland and colleagues had 2,438 Finnish adolescents in seventh- and ninth-grade complete questionnaires and found six months prior to the survey, 4.8 percent of the participants were only victims of cyberbullying, 7.4 percent were cyberbullies only and 5.4 percent were both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying.


Cybervictims were associated with living in a family with a single parent, emotional difficulties, concentration problems, behavioral problems, problems getting along with others, headache, recurrent abdominal pain, sleeping difficulties and not feeling safe at school.

Being a cyberbully was associated with emotional difficulties, concentration problems, behavioral problems, problems getting along with others, hyperactivity, conduct problems, seldom helping behaviors, frequently smoking or getting drunk, headache and not feeling safe at school.

However, those who were both a cyberbully and cybervictim reported all of these conditions.

“One in four cycbervictims reported that it had resulted in fear for their safety,” the study authors said in a statement. “The feeling of being unsafe is probably worse in cyberbullying compared with traditional bullying. Traditional bullying typically occurs on school grounds, so victims are safe at least within their homes. With cyberbullying, victims are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The findings were reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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