Background: Research on the extent to which cyberbullying affects sexual minority youth is limited. This study examined associations between experiencing cyber and school bullying and engaging in aggressive and suicidal behaviors among sexual minority youth. We also explored whether feeling connected to an adult at school moderated these associations.
Methods: Data came from 951 self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth, who completed the New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey during fall 2009. We used multiple logistic regression to examine the hypothesized associations and test for effect modification.
Results: Cyber and school bullying were associated with engaging in aggressive and suicidal behaviors among LGB youth. Youth experiencing both cyber and school bullying had the greatest odds of engaging in aggressive and suicidal behaviors. However, feeling connected to an adult at school moderated these associations such that bullied youth who felt connected were not more likely to report aggressive and suicidal behaviors.
Conclusions: The findings highlight the challenges faced by bullied LGB youth. Practitioners should work with school administrators to establish supportive environments for sexual minority youth. Helping victimized LGB youth develop meaningful connections with adults at school can minimize the negative impacts of cyber and school bullying.
Keywords: Youth Risk Behavior Survey; aggression; bullying; connectedness; cyber bullying; high school; lesbian, gay, and bisexual; prevention; sexual minorities; suicide.
© 2014, American School Health Association.