The study compared levels of depression among bullies, victims and bully-victims of traditional (physical, verbal and relational) and cyber bullying, and 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 to 10 (N = 7313) completed the bullying and depression items in the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) 2005 Survey.
Depression was associated with each of four forms of bullying. Cyber victims reported higher depression than bullies or bully-victims, a finding not observed in other forms of bullying. For physical, verbal and relational bullies, victims and bully victims, the frequently-involved group reported significantly higher level of depression than the corresponding occasionally-involved group. For cyber bullying, differences were found only between occasional and frequent victims.
Findings indicate the importance of further study of cyber bullying as its association with depression is distinct from traditional forms of bullying.
Keywords: Cyber bullying, Traditional bullying, Depression