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Adolescent cyberbullies and their victims may have physical, mental health problems
Date:7/5/2010

Adolescent victims and perpetrators of electronic bullying appear more likely to report having psychiatric and physical symptoms and problems, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Cyberbullying is defined as an aggressive, intentional, repeated act using mobile phones, computers or other electronic forms of contact against victims who cannot easily defend themselves, according to background information in the article. In a U.S. survey on Internet use among individuals age 10 to 17 years, 12 percent reported being aggressive to someone online, 4 percent were targets of aggression and 3 percent were both aggressors and targets. "There are several special features regarding cyberbullying when compared with traditional physical, verbal or indirect bullying such as the difficulty of escaping from it, the breadth of the potential audience and the anonymity of the perpetrator," the authors write.

Andre Sourander, M.D., Ph.D., of Turku University, Turku, Finland, and colleagues distributed questionnaires to 2,438 Finnish adolescents in seventh and ninth grade (age range, 13 years to 16 years). Of those, 2,215 (90.9 percent) were returned with sufficient information for analysis. In addition to information about cyberbullying and cybervictimization, the teens were asked to report their demographic information, general health, substance use, traditional bullying behavior and psychosomatic symptoms, such as headache and abdominal pain.

In the six months prior to the survey, 4.8 percent of the participants were only victims of cyberbullying, 7.4 percent were cyberbullies only and 5.4 percent were both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying.

Being a cybervictim only was associated with living in a family with other than two biological parents; perceived difficulties in emotions, concentration, behavior, or getting along with other people; headache; recurr
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Contact: Andre Sourander, M.D., Ph.D.
andre.sourander@utu.fi
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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