The Mediating Role of Depression in the Relationship Between Body Image Dissatisfaction and Cyberbullying Perpetration

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Balta S., Emirtekin E. , Kircaburun K., Griffiths M. D.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION, vol.18, no.6, pp.1482-1492, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11469-019-00151-9
  • Page Numbers: pp.1482-1492


Preliminary evidence suggests that psychopathological factors (e.g., depression) are associated with higher engagement in cyberbullying perpetration, and those with elevated body image dissatisfaction (BID) are more susceptible to depression. However, the possible impact of body image dissatisfaction (BID) on cyberbullying remains untested. The present study examined the direct and indirect relationships of BID with cyberbullying via depression among a sample of 507 university students (mean age, 21.37 years; range 18-44 years). t tests showed that males had a higher prevalence of cyberbullying than females. Structural equation modeling indicated that BID was directly and indirectly associated with cyberbullying via depression among the total sample and males. However, BID was only indirectly related to cyberbullying via depression among females. Depression fully explained the relationship between BID and cyberbullying among females, although there were additional mediating factors between BID and cyberbullying among males. The findings are in accordance with theoretical models suggesting that individuals' personal characteristics including psychopathological factors are associated with cyberbullying. Furthermore, males attempt to cope with their body image-related psychopathology with more externalizing behaviors than females.