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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care

Topic Suggestion Description

View Topic Suggestion Disposition (PDF) 1.2 MB

Date submitted: April 13, 2012

Briefly describe a specific question, or set of related questions, about a health care test or treatment that this program should consider.
What is the comparative effectiveness of preventive and therapeutic interventions to address cyberbullying and cyberharassment?
Does your question include a comparison of different health care approaches? (If no, your topic will still be considered.)
If yes, explain the specific technologies, devices, drugs, or interventions you would like to see compared:
- Different modes of delivery: e.g., Online, In person, Phone, etc.
- Different settings of intervention: e.g., Primary care, School-based, Community-based, and Justice system
- Interventions to help victims: e.g., Counseling, Educational, Empowerment, Legal, etc.
What patients or group(s) of patients does your question apply to? (Please include specific details such as age range, gender, coexisting diagnoses, and indications for therapy.)
All users of the Internet and other electronic communication devices
Are there subgroups of patients that your question might apply to? (For example, an ethnic group, stage or severity of a disease.)
School-aged girls and boys
Young adults and college students
LGBT youth and young adults
Describe the health-related benefits you are interested in. (For example, improvements in patient symptoms or problems from treatment or diagnosis.)
Suicide prevention
Reduce injury, depression, anxiety
Increase self-confidence
Describe any health-related risks, side effects, or harms that you are concerned about.
Inaccurate assessment, labeling
Invasion of privacy
Increased depression and anxiety

Appropriateness for EHC Program

Does your question include a health care drug, intervention, device, or technology available (or likely to be available) in the U.S.?
Which priority area(s) and population(s) does this topic apply to? (check all that apply)
EHC Priority Conditions (updated in 2008)
  • Depression and other mental health disorders
AHRQ Priority Populations
  • Women
  • Children
  • Individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities or who need chronic care or end-of-life health care
Federal Health Care Program
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare


Describe why this topic is important.
This is a timely topic that presents a new risk associated with growing numbers of Internet and cell phone users, particularly among children and youth.

Serious detrimental effects of cyber bullying and cyberharassment include suicide, depression, anxiety, and an inability to concentrate. Estimates of youth who are victims of cyberbulying range from 10-35%, and approximately 20% of young people report they have cyberbullied others in their lifetime. Review of effective approaches to screening and prevention and effective methods of intervention in the health care setting are important to complement research in the social sciences.

Hinduja, S., Patchin J. Cyberbullying fact sheet: What you need to know about online aggression. Cyberbullying Research Center. 2009. Accessed 3/8/2012.

Cyberbullying a high-tech health risk for young patients

Mishna F, Cook C, Saini M., et al. Interventions to prevent and reduce cyber abuse of youth: a systematic review. Research on social work practice. 2010;21(1): 5-14.
See also: for full systematic review
What specifically motivated you to ask this question? (For example, you are developing a clinical guideline, working with a policy with large uncertainty about the appropriate approach, costly intervention, new research you have read, items in the media you may have seen, a clinical practice dilemma you know of, etc.)
This question was prioritized by stakeholders engaged in the Topic Identification project conducted by the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center on “Prevention in Women’s Health.”
Does your question represent uncertainty for clinicians and/or policy-makers? (For example, variations in clinical care, controversy in what constitutes appropriate clinical care, or a policy decision.)
If yes, please explain:
The most effective approaches for preventing cyberbullying and cyberharassment are unclear as are the most effective therapeutic interventions for helping victims overcome detrimental effects of cyberbullying and cyberharassment.

In the clinical setting, clarity is needed on the best method for framing questions for parents and children in assessment and for implementing the best therapeutic care for victims.

Potential Impact

How will an answer to your research question be used or help inform decisions for you or your group?
This report would help identify the best approaches for preventing cyberbullying and cyberharassment and for identifying victims and how to treat them. It would help victims and the organizations that care for them.
Describe the timeframe in which an answer to your question is needed.
Not aware of a specific timing issue
Describe any health disparities, inequities, or impact on vulnerable populations your question applies to.
Women, teens, school-aged children, young adults, overweight youth, LGBT youth, youth with disabilities

Nominator Information

Other Information About You: (optional)
Please choose a description that best describes your role or perspective: (you may select more than one category if appropriate)
  • Researcher
Are you making a suggestion as an individual or on behalf of an organization?
Organization - This question was prioritized by stakeholders engaged in the Topic Identification project conducted by the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center on “Prevention in Women’s Health.”
Please tell us how you heard about the Effective Health Care Program