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The Impact of Cyberbullying on Substance Use and Mental Health in a Multiethnic Sample


The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between cyberbullying and mental health problems among a multiethnic sample of high school students in Hawai`i. A University-Community partnership was established to direct the research. Using a mixed-methods approach, we explored violence among Asian and Pacific Islander youth. In the first phase, focus groups were conducted to identify areas of youth concern and develop survey questions. Responses from 677 high school students on interpersonal youth violence and risk and protective factors were utilized in this study. More than 1 in 2 youth (56.1%) had been victims of cyberbullying in the last year. Filipino and Samoan youth were more likely to report feeling badly about themselves as a result of cyberbullying. While cyberbullying and mental health problems varied by sex and ethnicity, we found that cyberbullying is widespread with serious potential consequences among Asian and Pacific Islander youth. A multifaceted approach is needed to reduce and prevent cyberbullying. School, family and community programs that strengthen positive relationships and promote safe use of technology provide promise for reducing cyberbullying.

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This article was supported by the Asian/Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; R49/CCR918619-05; 1 U49/CE000749-01), the National Center for Indigenous Hawaiian Behavioral Health (NIMH; R24 MH5015-01, R24 MH57079-A1, The Queen Emma Research Foundation and The John A. Burns Foundation) and National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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Correspondence to Deborah Goebert.

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Goebert, D., Else, I., Matsu, C. et al. The Impact of Cyberbullying on Substance Use and Mental Health in a Multiethnic Sample. Matern Child Health J 15, 1282–1286 (2011).

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  • Cyberbullying
  • Violence
  • Mental health
  • Adolescence
  • Asian
  • Pacific Islander