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Cénat, J. M., Hébert, M., Blais, M., Lavoie, F., Guerrier, M., & Derivois, D. (2014). Cyberbullying, psychological distress and self-esteem among youth in Quebec schools. Journal of affective disorders, 169, 7-9.

Cyberbullying is intentional, aggressive, and repetitive behavior perpetrated by a more powerful individual against someone more vulnerable through the use of technology (Kowalski et al., 2012). The Internet offers greater disinhibition that makes perpetrators of cyberbullying more aggressive.This study by Cénat et al. (2014) aims to explore the contribution of cyberbullying victimization among youths to the prediction of psychological distress and low self-esteem.

The Quebec Youths' Romantic Relationships Survey (QYRRS) was utilized by participants. Participants were recruited through a sampling of 34 Quebec high schools; the sample included 8194 students (56.3% were girls) aged 14-20 years. The survey included two questions measuring cyberbullying victimization using the internet and other forms of bullying. Respondents quoted both on a 4-point-scale: Never (0), 1 to 2 times(1),3 to 5 times(2)and 6 times and more(3). Psychological distress was assessed using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (Kessler et al., 2002). This scale encompasses 10 items rated on a 5-point scale ranging from 1(never) to 5(always) with a score ranging from 10 to 50. A score of 20 and higher was represented a clinical score of severe psychological distress (Donker et al., 2010). The researchers used the four items version of Self-Description Questionnaire to measure one's self-esteem (Marsh & O’Neill, 1984). Responses varied from 0(false) to 4 (true) with a score varying from 0 to 16.

Overall, 22.9% of teenagers experienced cyberbullying in the past year. Girls had a significantly higher prevalence of cyberbullying, psychological distress, and low self-esteem than boys. There was a substantial overlap between cyberbullying and psychological distress (57.6%) and low self-esteem (42.9%); similar results were obtained for other forms of bullying, 53.7% and 39.6% for psychological distress and low self-esteem. Sex and cyberbullying victimization significantly predicted psychological distress and low self-esteem.

The results showed a greater prevalence of psychological distress and low self-esteem among victims of cyberbullying than non-victims. This study also revealed that youths bullied via technology had a slightly higher prevalence of psychological distress and low self-esteem compared to victims of other forms of bullying.