Does cyber dating abuse victimization increase depressive symptoms or vice versa?
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CitationToplu-Demirtaş, E., May, R. W., Seibert, G. S., & Fincham, F. D. (December 30, 2020). Does Cyber Dating Abuse Victimization Increase Depressive Symptoms or Vice Versa?. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. pp. 1-17. doi:10.1177/0886260520984261
Although there is a robust positive association between cyber dating abuse victimization and depression, the direction of effects between them is unknown. Thus, we conducted two studies to investigate their temporal relationship. Study 1 (n = 198) examined whether cyber dating abuse victimization predicted depressive symptoms 6 weeks later, after controlling for the initial level of depressive symptoms. Study 2 (n = 264) used a two-wave, cross-lagged design to investigate possible bidirectional relations between cyber dating abuse victimization and depression. Participants in both studies were emerging adults in romantic relationships. They completed the Partner Cyber Abuse Questionnaire and depression subscale of the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale. Many individuals (42.40% in Study 1 and 36.4% in Study 2) reported experiencing cyber abuse from their partners. Study 1 replicated the cross-sectional association previously found between cyber dating abuse victimization and depression and showed that cyber abuse predicted depression 6 weeks later. Study 2 replicated the findings of the first study and revealed that cyber dating abuse victimization was related to higher levels of depressive symptoms 12 weeks later, but the converse was not the case. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for future research and clinical practice.