Help-seeking behavior in Norwegian adolescents: the role of bullying and cyberbullying victimization in a cross-sectional study
Objective: The main aim of this study was to examine if bullying and cyberbullying victimization predicted help-seeking behavior among< Norwegian adolescents.
Method: Help-seeking behavior was predicted using three different Generalized Linear Mixed Models. In addition to demographic characteristics and mental health, these models controlled for bullying and cyberbullying, respectively.
Results: 2054 adolescents answered questions on help-seeking behavior and if they had felt the need to seek outside help with their problems, feelings, behavior, or emotional troubles within the past 6 months. Two hundred (9.7%) reported seeking outside help. Being exposed to bullying increased the likelihood of help-seeking behavior, while being exposed to cyberbullying did not. Only when forms of bullying or cyberbullying, respectively, were added to the models, did the threat of having rumors spread, both in real life and online, increase the likelihood for seeking help.
Conclusions: Many factors affect whether adolescents seek help for a problem. The fact that adolescents exposed to bullying seek help more often than those not exposed may be considered a success, as this behavior is encouraged by many adults, mental health professionals, and anti-bullying interventions. However, adolescents exposed to cyberbullying did not seem to seek help. Future studies should identify factors that lead to more and successful help-seeking among bullied and cyberbullied adolescents.