Teens who experience cyberbullying are more likely to suffer from poor sleep, which in turn raises levels of depression, according to a new study.
For the study, researchers at the University at Buffalo surveyed more than 800 adolescents for sleep quality, cyber aggression, and depression.
“Cyber-victimization on the Internet and social media is a unique form of peer victimization and an emerging mental health concern among teens who are digital natives,” said Misol Kwon, a doctoral student in the university’s School of Nursing.
“Understanding these associations supports the need to provide sleep hygiene education and risk prevention and interventions to mistreated kids who show signs and symptoms of depression.”
Nearly one-third of teens have experienced symptoms of depression, which, in addition to changes in sleep pattern, include persistent irritability, anger, and social withdrawal, according to the U.S. Office of Adolescent Health.
And nearly 15 percent of U.S. high school students report being bullied electronically, according to Kwon. At severe levels, depression may lead to disrupted school performance, harmed relationships, or suicide.
The risks of allowing depression to worsen highlight the need for researchers and clinicians to understand and target sleep quality and other risk factors that have the potential to exacerbate the disorder, Kwon concluded.
Kwon will present the research at SLEEP 2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in San Antonio, Texas, from June 8-12.
Source: University at Buffalo