Eating dinners with family can protect teens from cyberbullying
A new study has revealed that family dinners, which are good for teenager's mental health, can also protect them from cyberbullying.
Frank J. Elgar, Ph.D., of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and his colleagues measured five internalizing problems (anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide ideation and suicide attempt), two externalizing problems (fighting and vandalism) and four substance use problems (frequent alcohol use, frequent binge drinking, prescription drug misuse and over-the-counter drug misuse).
It was found that nearly 19 percent of the students reported they had experienced cyberbullying during the previous 12 months. Cyberbullying was associated with all 11 of the internalizing, externalizing and substance use problems.
However, family dinners appeared to moderate the relationship between cyberbullying and the mental health and substance use problems. For example, with four or more family dinners per week there was about a 4-fold difference in the rates of total problems between no cyberbullying victimization and frequent victimization. When there were no dinners the difference was more than 7-fold.
Furthermore, based on these findings, they did not conclude that cyberbullying alone was sufficient to produce poor health outcomes nor that family dinners alone could inoculate adolescents from such exposures. Such an oversimplified interpretation of these associations disregards other exacerbating and protective factors throughout the social environment.
Instead, these findings supported calls for integrated approaches to protecting victims of cyberbullying that encompass individual coping skills and family and school social supports.
(Posted on 02-09-2014)