Cyberbullying is a significant problem among school-aged youth. Although a growing body of literature has documented the association between cyberbullying victimization and mental health risks, there is limited research examining the impact of witnessing cyberbullying, particularly among elementary school students. To address this gap, we conducted a cross-sectional study with elementary school students (N = 122). Students completed questionnaires assessing witnessing cyberbullying, witnessing school bullying, bullying victimization, depressive symptoms, and social anxiety. Regression analyses revealed that witnessing cyberbullying was positively associated with depressive symptoms (β = 0.25, p < 0.04) and social anxiety (β = 0.30, p < 0.01), even after controlling for frequency of witnessing school bullying and bullying victimization. Further, the moderating effect of witnessing school bullying was significant for depressive symptoms (β = −0.44, p < 0.001) and social anxiety (β = −0.31, p < 0.01), such that students who witnessed cyberbullying only reported the highest level of depressive symptoms and social anxiety. The moderating effect of bullying victimization was not significant. Findings suggest the importance of providing programs to support elementary school students who witness cyberbullying to reduce the mental health risks associated with being a cyberbullying bystander.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Doumas, D.M., & Midgett, A. (2021). The Association Between Witnessing Cyberbullying and Depressive Symptoms and Social Anxiety Among Elementary School Students. Psychology in the Schools, 58(3), 622-637,
which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22467. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Doumas, Diana M. and Midgett, Aida. (2021). "The Association Between Witnessing Cyberbullying and Depressive Symptoms and Social Anxiety Among Elementary School Students". Psychology in the Schools, 58(3), 622-637. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22467