The Association Between Electronic Bullying and School Absenteeism Among High School Students in the United States

J Sch Health. 2017 Feb;87(2):142-149. doi: 10.1111/josh.12476.


Background: We examined the relationship between exposure to electronic bullying and absenteeism as a result of being afraid.

Methods: This multivariate, multinomial regression analysis of the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data assessed the association between experiencing electronic bullying in the past year and how often students were absent in the last month due to feeling unsafe at/in transit to school. The model controlled for other predictors of school absence including demographics, physical/behavioral health, and risk factors. Missing data were multiply imputed.

Results: Electronic bullying was significantly associated with absences. Controlling for model covariates, the relative risk of missing 1 day of school was 1.77 times higher, the relative risk of missing 2 to 3 days of school per month increased by a factor of 2.08, and the relative risk of missing 4 or more days of school per month increased by a factor of 1.77 for those who experienced electronic bullying in the past year compared with those who were not electronically bullied.

Conclusions: Electronic bullying's association with absenteeism places it among already recognized negative influences such as depression and binge drinking, necessitating schools to implement policies to mediate the resulting harmful effects.

Keywords: bullying; child and adolescent health; cyber bullying; electronic bullying; public health; violence.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adolescent
  • Bullying / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Schools*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States