Depression High Among Youth Victims of School Cyber Bullying, NIH Researchers Report
Unlike traditional forms of bullying, youth who are the targets of cyber bullying at school are at greater risk for depression than are the youth who bully them, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.
Akinso: New research findings underscore the need to monitor and obtain treatment for victims of cyber bulling.
Iannotti: Cyber bullying involves the use of information or communication technologies such as computers, or cell phones.
Akinso: Dr. Ronald Iannotti with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is the senior author of the study.
Iannotti: For example you might send nasty or threatening emails. You may leave these as phone messages. You could post insulting or embarrassing messages online. You could even do photos or videos.
Akinso: Traditional forms of bullying involve physical violence, verbal taunts, or social exclusion. Dr. Iannotti adds that having more friends doesn't really affect cyber bullying.
Iannotti: Having more friends is associated with more traditional bullying and less traditional victimization but these effects do not appear for cyber bullying. Boys are more likely to be cyber bullies, and girls are more likely to be cyber victims. With respect to symptoms in depression, victims of all forms of bullying, including cyber bullying, report more symptoms of depression. Even those who use all forms of bullying to bully others are at higher risk of depression.
Akinso: According to a survey conducted by researchers at NIH, unlike traditional forms of bullying, youth who are the targets of cyber bullying at school are at greater risk for depression than are the youth who bully them. Dr. Iannotti explains that past studies on traditional bullying show that bully-victims — those who both bully others and are bullied themselves — are more likely to report feelings of depression than are other groups.
Iannotti: Traditional victims and traditional bully victims — and we call bully victims those who report that they bully others but also report that they’ve been victimized by bullying — generally both bullies, victims and bully victims, report symptoms of higher symptoms of depression than those who are just traditional bullies. But what's unique about cyber bullying is that cyber victims report greater symptoms of depression than cyber bullies or cyber bully victims.
Akinso: Dr. Iannotti says because of the association between bullying and depression, bullies, bully-victims, and victims are candidates for evaluations by a mental health professional. For more information, visit www.nichd.nih.gov . This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Ronald Iannotti
Topic: Depression, Cyber Bullying