Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 27–37 | Cite as

Retrospective Experiences of Cyberbullying and Emotional Outcomes on Young Adults Who Stutter

  • Stephanie Nicolai
  • Robert Geffner
  • Ronald Stolberg
  • J. Scott Yaruss


The objective of this quantitative research study was to identify and examine psychological effects on adults who stutter who were cyberbullied as an adolescent, specifically looking at depression, anxiety, and stress levels. Using survey methodology, a two-way between-groups multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was utilized to determine if young adults who stutter and were cyberbullied in middle and/or high school express current depression, anxiety, or stress levels as compared to three other groups (no cyberbullying and no stuttering; cyberbullying and no stuttering; and no cyberbullying and stuttering). This study used the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS) instrument in an online survey format to determine which, if any, lasting psychological stressors were found. Results indicate that the cyberbullied and stuttering group have significantly higher anxiety levels compared to the three additional groups, significantly higher depression levels compared to the group with no cyberbullying and no stuttering, and significantly higher stress levels compared to the groups with stuttering and no cyberbullying and no cyberbullying and no stuttering. This research indicates the effects that cyberbullying can have on mental health, and additionally the negative effect that stuttering can have on a person’s overall mental health as well.


Bullying Stress Anxiety Depression Speech disorders Quality of life 



I would like to acknowledge the people who helped make not only this research a possibility, but more importantly helped make me professionally and personally successful. My Mom and Dad, my husband, and my research committee; Thank you for your unconditional support. Lastly, I dedicate this research to anyone who has been victimized via any form of bullying. You were and are the motivation for all my work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Disclosure of Interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts to report.

Ethical Standards and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation [institutional and national] and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


  1. Baumeister, A. L., Storch, E. A., & Geffken, G. R. (2008). Peer victimization in children with learning disabilities. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 25, 11–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blood, G., & Blood, I. (2004). Bullying in adolescents who stutter: communicative competence and self-esteem. Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders, 31, 69–79.Google Scholar
  3. Blood, G., & Blood, I. (2016). Long-term consequences of childhood bullying in adults who stutter: social anxiety, fear of negative evaluation, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 50, 72–84.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bloodstein, O., & Bernstein-Ratner, N. (2008). A Handbook on stuttering (6th edn.). New York: Thomson-Delmar.Google Scholar
  5. Cammack-Barry, T. (2004). Long-term impact of elementary school bullying victimization on adolescents. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from (305045475).
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Bullying among middle school and high school students – Massachusetts, 2009. MMWR, 60, 465–496.Google Scholar
  7. Common Sense Media (2012). Social media, social life: How teens view their digital lives. Retrieved from
  8. Copeland, W. E., Wolke, D., Angold, A., & Costello, E. (2013). Adult psychiatric outcomes of bullying and being bullied by peers in childhood and adolescence. JAMA Psychiatry, 70(4), 419–426. Scholar
  9. Craig, A., Blumgart, E., & Tran, Y. (2009). The impact of stuttering on the quality of life in adults who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 34(2), 61–71. Scholar
  10. Davis, S., Howell, P., & Cooke, F. (2002). Sociodynamic relationships between children who stutter and their non-stuttering classmates. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 939–947.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Didden, R., Scholte, R., Korzilius, H., DeMoor, J., Vermeulen, A., & O’Reilly, M. (2009). Cyberbullying among students with intellectual and developmental disability in special education settings. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 12, 146–151.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Donegan, R. (2012). Bullying and cyberbullying: history, statistics, law, prevention, and analysis. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 3(1), 33–42. Retrieved from
  13. Espelage, D. (2013). Children, adolescents, & technology: What do we all need to know? [PowerPoint Slides]. Proceedings from 18th International Conference on Violence Abuse and Trauma.Google Scholar
  14. Estell, D. B., Farmer, T. W., Irvin, M. J., Crowther, A., Akos, P., & Boudah, D. J. (2009). Students with exceptionalities and the peer group context of bullying and victimization in late elementary school. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18, 136–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fuse, A., & Lanham, E. A. (2016). Impact of social media and quality life of people who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 50, 59–71.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Guerra, N. G., Williams, K. R., & Sadek, S. (2011). Understanding bullying and victimization during childhood and adolescence: a mixed methods study. Child Development, 82(1), 295–310. Scholar
  17. Gunn, A., Menzies, R. G., O’Brian, S., Onslow, M., Packman, A., Lowe, R. et al. (2014). Axis I anxiety and mental health disorders among stuttering adolescents. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 40, 58–68.
  18. Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. Archives of suicide research, 14(3), 206–221. Scholar
  19. Hoff, D. L., & Mitchell, S. N. (2009). Cyberbullying: causes, effects, and remedies. Journal of Educational Administration, 47(5), 652–665. Scholar
  20. Hughes, S., Schuele, C. M., & Kelly, E. (2014). Bullying: what speech-language pathologists should know. Language, Speech & Hearing Services In Schools, 45(1), 3–13. Scholar
  21. Hugh-Jones, S., & Smith, P. K. (1999). Self-reports of short- and long-term effects of bullying on children who stammer. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 69(2), 141–158. Scholar
  22. Humphrey, N., & Lewis, S. (2008). What does ‘inclusion’ mean for pupils on the autistic spectrum in mainstream secondary schools. Journal of Research in Special Education Needs, 8, 132–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Koedoot, C., Bouwmans, C., Franken, M., & Stolk, E. (2011). Quality of life in adults who stutter. Journal of Communication Disorders, 44(4), 429–443. Scholar
  24. Kowalski, R. M., & Fedina, C. (2011). Cyber bullying in ADHD and asperger syndrome populations. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(3), 1201–1208. Scholar
  25. Kowalski, R. M., & Limber, S. P. (2013). Psychological, physical, and academic correlates of cyberbullying and traditional bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), S13-S20. Scholar
  26. Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P., & Agatston, P. W. (2012). Cyberbullying: Bullying in the digital age. United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  27. Langevin, M., Packman, A., & Onslow, M. (2010). Parent perceptions of the impact of stuttering on their preschoolers and themselves. Journal of Communication Disorders, 43, 407–423.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Langos, C. (2012). Cyberbullying: the challenge to define. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 15(6), 285–289. Scholar
  29. Li, Q. (2007). New bottle but old wine: a research of cyberbullying in schools. Computers in human behavior, 23(4), 1777–1791. Scholar
  30. Litwiller, B. J., & Brausch, A. M. (2013). Cyber bullying and physical bullying in adolescent suicide: the role of violent behavior and substance use. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(5), 675–684. Scholar
  31. Lovibond, P. F., & Lovibond, S. H. (1995). The structure of negative emotional states: comparison of the depression anxiety stress scales (DASS) with the beck depression and anxiety inventories. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 335–343.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. McLaughlin, C., Byers, R., & Oliver, C. (2012). Perspectives on bullying and difference: Supporting young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in schools [Ebrary reader version]. Retrieved from alliant/docDetail.action?docID = 10570522.
  33. Menesini, E., Nocentini, A., Palladino, B., Frisén, A., Berne, S., Ortega-Ruiz, R. et al. (2012). Cyberbullying definition among adolescents: a comparison across six European countries. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 15(9), 455–463. Scholar
  34. Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US Youth: prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(16), 2094–2100. Scholar
  35. Naruskov, K., Luik, P., Nocentini, A., & Menesini, E. (2012). Estonian students’ perception and definition of cyberbullying. TRAMES: A Journal Of The Humanities & Social Sciences, 16(4), 323–343. Scholar
  36. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  37. Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2010). Cyberbullying and self-esteem. Journal Of School Health, 80(12), 614–621. Scholar
  38. Popovic-Citic, B., Djuric, S., & Cvetkovic, V. (2011). The prevalence of cyberbullying among adolescents: a case study of middle schools in Serbia. School Psychology International, 32(4), 412–424. Scholar
  39. Price, M., & Dalgleish, J. (2010). Cyberbullying experiences, impacts and coping strategies as described by Australian young people. Youth Studies Australia, 29(2), 51–59.Google Scholar
  40. Rose, C. A., Espelage, D. L., & Monda-Amaya, L. E. (2009). Bullying and victimization rates among students in general and special education: a comparative analysis. Educational Psychology, 29, 761–776. Scholar
  41. Rose, C. A., Swearer, S. M., & Espelage, D. L. (2012). Bullying and students with disabilities: the untold narrative. Focus On Exceptional Children, 45(2), 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sticca, F., & Perren, S. (2013). Is cyberbullying worse than traditional bullying? Examining the differential roles of medium, publicity, and anonymity for the perceived severity of bullying. Youth Adolescence, 42, 739–750. Scholar
  43. Tokunaga, R. (2010). Following you home from school: A critical review and synthesis of research on cyberbullying victimization. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 277–287. Scholar
  44. Ybarra, M.L. (2004). Linkages between depressive symptomatology and internet harassment among young regular internet users. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7(2), 247–257.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Psychology DepartmentAlliant International UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.San DiegoUSA
  3. 3.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations