Cyberbullying can become a cause of depression among the college girls, a new study led by Indian origin scientist claims. Not only victim girls but the bullies are also equally likely to suffer from depression that further results in alcohol abuse.
“Participants with any involvement in cyber bullying had increased odds of depression and those involved in cyberbullying as bullies had increased odds of both depression and problem alcohol use,” said lead author Rajitha Kota from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in the US.
The study involved more than 250 females from four colleges. Researchers conducted an online survey to assess the cyberbullying behaviours. In addition, all the participants were asked to complete Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) to determine depression and alcohol use among the participants.
After analysing the data, researchers found that one out of four girls victim of cyberbullying reported depression. It was found in the study that hacking one’s account, harassing by text messages, taking sexual advancements and posting degrading comments were most common in cyberbullying. Moreover, girls who received unwanted sexual advancement were six times more likely to suffer from depression. Boys aren’t untouched too, they also become the victim of cyberbullying although the number of cases of cyberbullying was less when compared to the girls, the study found.
Although the social media giants have been giving confidence of increased security, but still people are breaching security to get access to one’s account. Once the account is accessed, the attacker gets all the privates information of the victim including nude photos. Victim girls are forced to fulfil the unwanted demands including sexual favours. Thus, due to fear of getting defame these girls get depressed and fall into bad habits like excessive alcohol consumption. In some cases, the grip of depression on the victim is such that it results in suicide.
The study appeared in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.