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A Daily Diary Approach to Understanding Cyberbullying Experiences Among Latino Adolescents: Links with Emotional, Physical and School Adjustment

  • Author(s): Espinoza, Guadalupe
  • Advisor(s): Juvonen, Jaana
  • et al.
Abstract

With the growing use of electronic communication devices among adolescents, bullying encounters are no longer limited to the school grounds and cyberbullying is becoming increasingly more common. The current study examines how daily cyberbullying experiences among Latino adolescents are associated with their emotional and physical well-being as well as their school adjustment. High school students (N = 136) from predominately Latino backgrounds (88%) completed a baseline questionnaire and daily checklists across five consecutive school days that assessed a variety of school and online events, activities and emotions. Across, the one-week span, 20% of adolescents reported experiencing a cyberbullying incident on at least one day. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) results revealed that daily cyberbullying experiences were associated with greater feelings of distress, anger, shame and physical symptoms, even after accounting for average levels of cyberbullying and school bullying experiences. Daily cyberbullying experiences were also related to feeling less safe at school and more attendance problems, but were not associated with school belonging and academic problems, at the daily level. Results from the daily mediation models indicated that distress and perceptions of school safety accounted for the association between cyberbullying experiences and attendance problems. Moreover, support for the protective role of spending time with friends was found, such that on days that adolescents were cyberbullied and spent time with friends they were less likely to report feelings of distress, anger and were also less likely to report attendance problems, compared to teens who did not spend time with their friends during the day. The results demonstrate that although Latino adolescents may not encounter cyberbullying incidents on a routine basis, any single incident of cyberbullying is associated with changes in their emotional and physical well-being, as well as school adjustment.

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