Peer victimisation and depressive symptoms : Can specific coping strategies buffer the negative impact of cybervictimisation?

Machmutov, Katja;
Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau
Perren, Sonja;
Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau
Sticca, Fabio; Alsaker, Françoise D.

This longitudinal study investigated whether cybervictimisation is an additional risk factor for depressive symptoms over and beyond traditional victimisation in adolescents. Furthermore, it explored whether certain coping strategies moderate the impact of cybervictimisation on depressive symptoms. A total of 765 Swiss seventh graders (mean age at time-point 1 (t1) = 13.18 years) reported on the frequency of traditional and cybervictimisation, and of depressive symptoms twice in six months. At time-point 2 (t2) students also completed a questionnaire on coping strategies in response to a hypothetical cyberbullying scenario. Analyses showed that both traditional and cybervictimisation were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms. Cybervictimisation also predicted increases in depressive symptoms over time. Regarding coping strategies, it was found that helpless reactions were positively associated with depressive symptoms. Moreover, support seeking from peers and family showed a significant buffering effect: cybervictims who recommended seeking close support showed lower levels of depressive symptoms at t2. In contrast, cybervictims recommending assertive coping strategies showed higher levels of depressive symptoms at t2.


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