Adolescents’ Viewing of Suicide-Related Web Content and Psychological Problems: Differentiating the Roles of Cyberbullying Involvement.


Possible links of cyberbullying with suicide and psychological problems have recently received considerable attention. Suicide-related behaviors have also been linked with viewing of associated web content. Studies on traditional bullying indicate that the roles of bullying involvement (bullies, victims, and bully-victims) matter in terms of associations with specific suicide-related behaviors and psychological problems. Yet, related research in the area of cyberbullying is lacking. The current study investigates the association of cyberbullying roles with viewing of specific suicide-related web content and psychological problems. Data from N = 19,406 (50 percent girls) 11-16-year-olds (M = 13.54, SD = 1.68) of a representative sample of Internet-using children in Europe were analyzed. Self-reports were obtained for cyberbullying role, viewing of web content related to self-harm, and suicide, as well as the emotional, peer, and conduct problem subscales of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that compared with those not involved in cyberbullying, viewing of web content related to suicide was higher for cybervictims and cyberbully-victims, but not for cyberbullies. Viewing of web content related to self-harm was higher for all cyberbullying roles, especially for cyberbully-victims. Rates of emotional problems were higher among cybervictims and cyberbully-victims, rates of peer problems were higher for cybervictims, and rates of conduct problems were higher for all cyberbullying roles. Moreover, the links between cyberbullying role and viewing of suicide-related web content were independent of psychological problems. The results can be useful to more precisely target efforts toward the specific problems of each cyberbullying role. The outcomes on viewing of web content also indicate an opportunity to enhance the presence of health service providers on Internet platforms.