Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Jamie Abaied

Abstract

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, online environments have become critical ways of connecting among college students. With the increase in online interactions, cybervictimization has been identified as a public health issue. This study aims to examine whether cybervictimization among college students is associated with clinical adjustment outcomes such as depression and alcohol consumption. This study also aims to examine whether reactivity in the two branches of the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic) jointly moderate the relationship between cyberbullying and depression/alcohol consumption, indicating sensitivity to the environment. Participants (n =164, 69% female, M age = 19.92, SD = 1.42; 65% White) completed a stress task in the laboratory, during which participants’ ANS reactivity was continuously monitored, and reports of depression and alcohol consumption were obtained. Results indicated that cyberbullying predicted higher levels of both depressive symptoms and alcohol use. Results also showed that PNS and SNS reactivity did not jointly moderate the relationship between cyberbullying and depressive symptoms or alcohol consumption. However, parasympathetic reactivity moderated the relationship between cyberbullying and alcohol consumption. This study corroborates prior research on the relationship between online environmental stressors and clinical outcomes. The results also support the notion that physiological factors are important to our understanding of how social stressors affect clinical outcomes in college students.

Language

en

Number of Pages

51 p.

Available for download on Friday, May 27, 2022

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