Skip to main content

Adolescent and Parent Reports of Aggression and Victimization on Social Media: Associations With Psychosocial Adjustment



This study investigated the relations of adolescent and parent reports of adolescents’ aggression and victimization on social media with self-perception (e.g., self-esteem, narcissism) and psychosocial adjustment (e.g., attention problems, conduct problems, anxiety, depression).


The sample consisted of 428 participants (214 parent–adolescent dyads) from the United States, with adolescents ranging from 14 to 17 years of age.


The majority of adolescents and parents reported that the adolescents had not engaged in social media aggression or experienced victimization; however, nearly one-third of parents reported that they were “unsure.” Those involved in such online interactions tended to demonstrate a variety of psychosocial difficulties. Specifically, parent- and adolescent-reported aggression were associated with parent-reported inattention, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as adolescent-reported narcissism, loneliness, fear of missing out (FoMO), and lower self-esteem. Adolescent-reported victimization was associated with many parent-reported indicators of adjustment as well as adolescent-reported loneliness, FoMO, and lower self-esteem.


Social media aggression and victimization were related to a variety of indicators of adolescent self-perception and adjustment. Importantly, adolescents who reported experiencing social media aggression and victimization tended to be viewed by their parents as more maladjusted. Implications for further research on the developmental trajectories of these relations are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



C.T.B.: designed the study, secured IRB approval, conducted analyses, and assisted in writing the paper. S.M.B.: assisted with the literature review and writing the paper. C.L.S.: assisted in designing the study and assisted in writing the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Christopher T. Barry.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were approved by the Institutional Review Board at Washington State University. All procedures were also conducted in accordance with APA Ethical Standards and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

All parents provided informed consent for their participation and permission for their adolescents to be contacted about the study. All adolescent participants provided voluntary assent for their participation.

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Barry, C.T., Briggs, S.M. & Sidoti, C.L. Adolescent and Parent Reports of Aggression and Victimization on Social Media: Associations With Psychosocial Adjustment. J Child Fam Stud 28, 2286–2296 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Social media
  • Aggression
  • Victimization
  • Adolescence
  • Psychosocial adjustment