Publication Date

2016-07-25

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2018-07-25

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2015-07-16

First Committee Member

Annette M. La Greca

Second Committee Member

Maria Llabre

Third Committee Member

Alan Delamater

Fourth Committee Member

Patrice Saab

Fifth Committee Member

Cynthia Rowe

Abstract

Cyber victimization and cyber aggression have been linked with numerous mental and physical health problems in adolescence. Emerging research suggests that cyber victimization and cyber aggression are also related to greater alcohol use; however, our understanding of these relationships remains limited. The purpose of this study was to examine characteristics of youth involved in cyber victimization and/or cyber aggression, as well as the short-term prospective and reciprocal associations between cyber victimization, cyber aggression, and adolescents’ drinking and binge drinking over the course of three months. The moderating role of impulse control difficulties, gender, and Hispanic ethnicity in these relationships was tested. Participants were 1140 high school students aged 13 to 19 years. Adolescents completed several self-report measures at two time points, three months apart. Cross-lagged panel analyses within a structural equation modeling framework were conducted, using zero-inflated negative binomial regressions for the alcohol use outcomes. Youth involved in cyber victimization and/or cyber aggression differed from their uninvolved peers in terms of their alcohol use, level of impulse control difficulties, and perceived social support from family. Adolescents who experienced more cyber victimization were more likely to abstain from drinking, but reported more frequent drinking if they were a drinker. Cyber victimization was unrelated to later binge drinking. Adolescents who engaged in more cyber aggression toward their peers were more likely to use alcohol and adolescents who were more frequent users of alcohol engaged in more cyber aggression. Adolescents’ levels of impulse control difficulties, gender, and ethnicity did not moderate any associations. Findings suggest that it may be important for prevention programs for adolescent alcohol use to evaluate, address, and monitor youths’ cyber peer experiences. Drinking behaviors may also be important to assess and target in anti-cyberbullying interventions.

Keywords

cyber victimization; cyber aggression; alcohol use; adolescent

Available for download on Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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