International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 219–226 | Cite as

Cyberbullying, help-seeking and mental health in young Australians: implications for public health

  • Barbara A. SpearsEmail author
  • Carmel M. Taddeo
  • Anthony L. Daly
  • Alexander Stretton
  • Larisa T. Karklins
Original Article



To examine the relationship between young Australians’ cyberbullying experiences, their help-seeking practices and associated mental well-being and social connectedness, with a view to informing national health and well-being agendas.


An online survey was administered to young people aged 12–18 years (n = 2,338), recruited across Australia in year 2 of a larger 4-year study.


Youth with no experience of cyberbullying had better well-being profiles and mental health overall. Conversely, cyberbully victims, had poorer well-being and mental health and tended not to engage with online support services, in spite of being more likely to be online after 11 pm. Parents and peers were identified as key sources of help for most young people when dealing with problems.


Cyberbullying is a public health issue particularly for vulnerable youth whose mental health and well-being is impacted more than those not involved. As youth are spending increasing time in the 24/7 online environment, there is a need to develop initiatives that engage young people and encourage help-seeking online, whilst concomitantly building capacity of parents and peers to support their well-being.


Cyberbullying Help-seeking Mental health Youth Australia Cyberbully-victim 



This study is supported by the national Australian Young and Well Co-operative Research Centre in partnership with young people, community, government, end users, research organizations and the digital media industry.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara A. Spears
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Carmel M. Taddeo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anthony L. Daly
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexander Stretton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Larisa T. Karklins
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.The Young and Well Co-operative Research CentreMelbourneAustralia

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