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23-07-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 11/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 11/2020

The Mediating and Moderating Effects of Social Support and School Climate on the Association between Cyber Victimization and Internalizing Symptoms

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 11/2020
Auteurs:
Brett Holfeld, Rachel Baitz
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Abstract

Although the link between cyber victimization and internalizing symptoms is well established, questions remain about the factors that may describe this association and whether they differ by gender. In the current study, the mediating and moderating roles of social support (peers, family) and experiences of school climate (i.e., students’ feelings of safety and caring within the school environment) were examined on the association between cyber victimization and internalizing symptoms among early adolescent boys and girls. Participants included 1151 students (51.4% boys) aged 10 to 16 (Mage = 12.7, SD = 0.93). Results from a hierarchical regression model indicate moderation effects of peer support and school climate; higher levels of cyber victimization were more strongly associated with internalizing symptoms when adolescents reported lower levels of peer support whereas higher levels of cyber victimization were more strongly associated with internalizing symptoms when adolescents reported more positive experiences of school climate. Structural mediation models show partial mediation effects with higher levels of cyber victimization associated with lower levels of peer support, lower levels of family support, and poorer experiences of school climate respectively, which in turn, were associated with more internalizing symptoms. The findings highlight the importance of creating safe and supportive environments at home and at school to promote healthy development during early adolescence, however, these efforts may not benefit adolescents who experience repeated cyber victimization.

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