Background: Adolescent substance use represents a significant public health concern. Growing research has linked peer victimization with substance use among youth; however, less attention has been devoted to the role of cyber victimization specifically, while controlling for peer aggression. Objective: This study examined the unique associations between cyber victimization and adolescent smoking and drinking, controlling for traditional peer victimization types and for peer aggression. Methods: Participants were 1064 9th–12th graders, who completed self-report measures assessing peer victimization, peer aggression, and the frequency of cigarette and alcohol use. Censored regression analyses were used to evaluate study aims. Results: Greater cyber victimization was related to greater smoking, drinking, and binge drinking, controlling for traditional forms of peer victimization, but not when controlling for peer aggression. Cyber aggression emerged as a unique correlate of all substance use outcomes. Conclusions: Cyber victimization and cyber aggression co-occur with adolescent cigarette and alcohol use; however, only cyber aggression demonstrates unique associations. Findings suggest that prevention programs for adolescent substance use might evaluate and potentially target adolescents’ victimization and aggression, especially in the cyber realm. Adolescent substance use may be important to evaluate and monitor in anti-bullying and victimization interventions.
- Adolescent substance use
- Alcohol use
- Cyber aggression
- Cyber victimization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Life-span and Life-course Studies