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J Adolesc Health. 2011 Apr;48(4):415-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.07.012. Epub 2010 Sep 22.

Cyber and traditional bullying: differential association with depression.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research, Prevention Research Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.



The study compared levels of depression among bullies, victims, and bully-victims of traditional (physical, verbal, and relational) and cyber bullying that is a relatively new form of bullying. The study also examined the association between depression and frequency of involvement in each form of bullying.


A U.S. nationally representative sample of students in grades 6-10 (N = 7,313) completed the bullying and depression items in the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children 2005 Survey.


Depression was associated with each of the four forms of bullying. Cyber victims reported higher depression than bullies or bully-victims, a result not observed in other forms of bullying. For physical, verbal, and relational bullies, the frequently-involved group of victims and bully victims reported a significantly higher level of depression than the corresponding occasionally involved group. For cyber bullying, differences were found only between the occasional and frequent victims.


Results indicated the importance of further study of cyber bullying because its association with depression was distinct from traditional forms of bullying.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

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