Cyberbullying victimization and its association with health across the life course: A Canadian population study
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OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence of cyberbullying victimization (CV), its associations with self-reported health and substance use and the extent to which age moderates these associations. METHODS: We used the 2014 Canadian General Social Survey on Victimization (N = 31 907, mean age = 45.83, SD = 18.67) and binary logistic regression models to estimate the strength of association between CV and health-related outcomes. RESULTS: The five-year prevalence of CV was 5.1%. Adolescents reported the highest prevalence of CV (12.2%), compared to all other adult age groups (1.7%-10.4%). After controlling for socio-demographic covariates, individuals exposed to CV had increased odds of reporting poor mental health (OR = 4.259, 95% CI = 2.853-6.356), everyday limitations due to mental health problems (OR = 3.263, 95% CI = 2.271-4.688), binge drinking (OR = 2.897, 95% CI = 1.765-4.754), and drug use (OR = 3.348, 95% CI = 2.333-4.804), compared to those not exposed to CV. The associations between CV and self-reported mental health and substance use were strongest for adolescents and attenuated across the adult age groups. CONCLUSION: Adolescence may represent a developmental period of heightened susceptibility to CV. Developing and evaluating targeted preventive interventions for this age group is warranted.