Teens who experience cyberbullying are more likely to suffer from poor sleep, which in turn raises levels of depression, found a University at Buffalo study.
Although research has examined the relationship between cyberbullying and depression, the UB study is one of few to explore the connection between cyber victimisation and sleep quality.
The study surveyed more than 800 adolescents for sleep quality, cyber aggression and depression.
The research was presented by Misol Kwon, first author and doctoral student in the UB School of Nursing, at SLEEP 2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in San Antonio, Texas from June 8-12.
“Cyber victimization on the internet and social media is a unique form of peer victimization and an emerging mental health concern among teens who are digital natives,” said Kwon. “Understanding these associations supports the need to provide sleep hygiene education and risk prevention and interventions to mistreated kids who show signs and symptoms of depression.”
Nearly one third of teens have experienced symptoms of depression, which, in addition to changes in sleep pattern, include persistent irritability, anger and social withdrawal, according to the U.S. Office of Adolescent Health.
And nearly 15 percent of U.S. high school students report being bullied electronically, says Kwon. At severe levels, depression may lead to disrupted school performance, harmed relationships or suicide.
The risks of allowing depression to worsen highlight the need for researchers and clinicians to understand and target sleep quality and other risk factors that have the potential to exacerbate the disorder.
Another research said that teenagers who don’t get enough sleep may be at an increased risk of engaging in unsafe sexual behaviors, such as not using condoms or having sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to new research published by the American Psychological Association, teens by and large are not getting the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, due to a number of reasons, including biological changes in circadian rhythms, early school start times, balancing school and extracurricular activities and peer social pressures.