Examining the Health Effects of Cyberbullying on Adolescents

Carter, Jemica M.

This study will examine the impact of cyberbullying on physical and psychosocial outcomes among adolescents. Individuals who experience repeated traditional bullying are at increased risk for experiencing repeated incidents of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can pose a danger to an adolescent’s emotional development and well-being than traditional bullying because of the power imbalance created by anonymity, transcendence beyond school grounds, and 24 hour availability. The misuse of interactive technologies to bully and harass others is a serious health concern that must be addressed by nurses and other health care professionals. To obtain a representative sample, approximately 270 adolescents attending three schools, four church youth groups, three recreation centers, and one community youth organization in urban and suburban environments will be asked to participate in the study. The inclusion criteria include being in sixth through twelfth grade and between 12 and 18 years of age. Students will not be excluded on the basis of gender or race/ethnicity. Five instruments (The Student Survey; Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment; Depression Self-rating Scale; Children’s Somatization Inventory, and a short demographic survey) will be used to collect data on the dependent and independent variables. Data analysis using the latest version of PASW will include chi-square tests for independence, Pearson product moment correlations, logistic regression, and stepwise multiple linear regression analysis. Given the pervasiveness of cyberbullying among adolescents, nurses are in a key position to address cyberbullying through the use of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Nurses have a complete understanding of important health issues related to bullying behaviors and receive training on how to deal with these behaviors. The paucity of research studies regarding cyberbullying and health outcomes support the need for additional exploration of this topic.