Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Social media, cyber-aggression and student mental health on a university campus

J Ment Health. 2018 Feb 15:1-8. doi: 10.1080/09638237.2018.1437607. [Epub ahead of print] Social media, cyber-aggression and student mental health on a university campus. Mishna F1, Regehr C1, Lacombe-Duncan A1, Daciuk J1, Fearing G1, Van Wert M1. Author information Abstract AIM: Information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer immense benefits for university students including enhancing engagement and connections with others and promoting self-directed and interactive learning. Perceived anonymity and the absence of social cues, however, may contribute to risk of interpersonal aggression. While extensive research examines bullying in child and adolescent educational settings, this study addresses a gap regarding post-secondary environments. METHODS: An internet-based survey was provided to 5004 university students to examine the nature, extent and consequences of cyber-aggression. The survey received a response from 1350 students, a response rate of 28.5%. To enable further exploration, nine focus groups and eight individual interviews were conducted. RESULTS: This exploratory study found one quarter of respondents had a private video or photo shared without their permission and 28% were sent angry, vulgar, threatening or intimating messages. Perpetrators were most likely to be a friend (50%), another student (20%) or an intimate partner (18%). Focus group data revealed risks of ICTs and the need for resources and support to address students' wellbeing in the context of cyber-aggression. CONCLUSION: Cyber-aggression is experienced by a significant minority of university students, impacting their sense of wellbeing and mental health. KEYWORDS: Cyber-aggression; college students; information and communication technologies; mental health; social media; university students PMID: 29447048 DOI: 10.1080/09638237.2018.1437607