Purpose: To analyze the temporal and reciprocal relationships between being a victim of cyberbullying (CB) and three frequent problems during adolescence: depressive symptoms, substance use, and problematic Internet use; also, to analyze whether the relationship between CB and these psychological and behavioral health problems differs as a function of being only a victim or being both bully and victim.
Method: A total of 845 adolescents (mean age = 15.2, SD = 1.2) completed measures at T1 and at T2, 6 months apart. The relationship among variables was analyzed using structural equation modeling.
Results: CB victimization at T1 predicted depressive symptoms and problematic Internet use at T2, and higher depressive symptoms and more substance use at T1 predicted more CB victimization at T2. However, the relationships of CB predicting substance use and problematic Internet use predicting CB were not significant. Bully-victims presented higher levels than victims of all three problem variables, both at T1 and T2.
Conclusions: CB is predictive of some significant psychological and behavioral health problems among adolescents. Intervention efforts should pay attention to these in the prevention and treatment of consequences of CB.
Keywords: Adolescents; Cyberbullying; Depressive symptoms; Problematic Internet use; Psychological and behavioral health problems; Substance use; Victimization.
Copyright © 2013 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.