Cyber victimization, cyber aggression, and adolescent alcohol use: Short-term prospective and reciprocal associations

Sherilynn F. Chan, Annette M. La Greca, James L. Peugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cyber victimization is a significant public health concern. We examined prospective and reciprocal associations between cyber victimization, cyber aggression, and adolescents’ drinking and binge drinking. Gender, Hispanic ethnicity, and age were examined as moderators. Methods: Adolescents (N = 1140; 58% girls; 13–19 years; 80% Hispanic) from two US high schools completed the Cyber Peer Experiences Questionnaire and alcohol use items from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey at two time points, three months apart. Perceived social support was assessed at Time 1 and controlled for. Cross-lagged panel analyses using structural equation modeling were conducted, using zero-inflated negative binomial regressions for alcohol use outcomes. Results: Adolescents who experienced more cyber victimization were more likely to abstain from drinking over time; however, they reported more frequent drinking if they were a drinker, a relationship that was stronger for older adolescents. Cyber victimization was unrelated to binge drinking, and alcohol use was unrelated to cyber victimization over time. Adolescents who engaged in more cyber aggression were more likely to use alcohol over time; conversely, adolescents who used alcohol more frequently engaged in more cyber aggression over time. Gender and ethnicity did not moderate these associations. Conclusions: A complex relationship between cyber victimization and alcohol use emerged; findings support the self-medication hypothesis among drinkers only and especially older adolescents. Reciprocal associations between cyber aggression and alcohol use fit with problem behavior theory Adolescent alcohol use prevention programs might play an important role in addressing cyber aggression. Drinking behaviors may be important to target in anti-cyberbullying interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Alcohol use
  • Cyber aggression
  • Cyber victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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