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J Adolesc Health. 2019 Nov;65(5):613-620. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.05.006. Epub 2019 Jul 17.

Association of Cyberbullying Involvement With Subsequent Substance Use Among Adolescents.

Author information

1
Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
2
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
4
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
5
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California; Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. Electronic address: adam.leventhal@usc.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Adolescent involvement in cyberbullying is common and involves several roles (witness, perpetrator, or victim). Whether different cyberbullying roles are differentially associated with substance use is unknown. The present study examined the associations of adolescent cyberbullying involvement with use and polyuse of various substances.

METHODS:

A longitudinal cohort of students in Los Angeles, California (N = 2,768) completed surveys at baseline (10th grade, 2014, mean age = 15.5 years) and 12-month follow-up (11th grade, 2015). Five mutually exclusive cyberbullying roles were identified at baseline-no involvement; witness only; witness and victim; witness and perpetrator; and witness, victim, and perpetrator. Past 6-month use of nine substances and poly-use of multiple substances were assessed at baseline and follow-up.

RESULTS:

Most students (52.2%) were involved in >1 cyberbullying roles. Relative to no involvement, all cyberbullying roles, including witnessing only, were associated with increased odds of using most substances and polysubstance use at follow-up, after adjusting for sociodemographics and baseline substance use (odds ratios: 1.44 [95% confidence interval: 1.18-1.76] to 5.24 [2.73-10.05]). Relative to the witness-only role, students involved in all three roles were at greater odds of using several substances at follow-up (odds ratios: 1.47 [95% confidence interval: 1.05-2.05] to 2.96 [1.60-5.50]).

CONCLUSIONS:

Cyberbullying involvement, even witnessing, may be associated with future substance use in adolescence. All cyberbullying roles warrant consideration in understanding and preventing youth substance use.

KEYWORDS:

Cyberbullying; Cyberbullying roles; Polysubstance use; Substance use

PMID:
31326250
PMCID:
PMC6814523
[Available on 2020-11-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.05.006

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