Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 685–697 | Cite as

Cyber Bullying and Internalizing Difficulties: Above and Beyond the Impact of Traditional Forms of Bullying

  • Rina A. Bonanno
  • Shelley Hymel
Empirical Research


Although recent research has demonstrated significant links between involvement in cyber bullying and various internalizing difficulties, there exists debate as to whether these links are independent of involvement in more traditional forms of bullying. The present study systematically examined the association between involvement in cyber bullying, as either a victim or a bully, and both depressive symptomatology and suicidal ideation. Self-report data were collected from 399 (57 % female) Canadian adolescents in grades 8–10 (mean age = 14.2 years, SD = .91 years). Results indicated that involvement in cyber bullying, as either a victim or a bully, uniquely contributed to the prediction of both depressive symptomatology and suicidal ideation, over and above the contribution of involvement in traditional forms of bullying (physical, verbal, relational). Given the ever increasing rate of accessibility to technology in both schools and homes, these finding underscore the importance of addressing cyber bullying, with respect to both research and intervention, as a unique phenomenon with equally unique challenges for students, parents, school administrators and researchers alike.


Cyber bullying Cyber victimization Depression Suicidal ideation 



The authors are grateful for the support provided for this research from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Gender and Aggression Project and the SSHRC Prevention Science Cluster. We also wish to thank the students, administrators and schools who participated in this project. Although they wish to remain anonymous, we greatly appreciate their cooperation.

Author Contributions

RB and SH conceived of the study and participated in its design and coordination. RB performed the statistical analysis, interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript. SH obtained funding and helped to draft the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and LearningDowling College, School of EducationOakdaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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