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Cyber Stalking, Cyber Harassment, and Adult Mental Health: A Systematic Review
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF4.157),  Pub Date : 2021-06-14, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0253
Francesca Stevens, Jason R.C. Nurse, Budi Arief

As Internet use increases, there is a growing risk of online harms, including cyber stalking and cyber harassment. However, there has been limited research investigating the impact of such online harms upon adults' well-being. This article engages in a systematic literature review concerning the mental health impact of online stalking and harassment for adult victims to further understand their experiences and the effects these have on their lives. Our research utilized the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis technique to review articles published in eight online databases. A total of 1,204 articles were extracted and, ultimately, 43 articles analyzed. Forty-two of the reviewed articles reported that victims of cyber stalking and/or harassment experienced a multitude of harmful and detrimental consequences for their mental health, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and panic attacks. Victims recounted the lack of support they received from the criminal justice system and their subsequent distrust of technology postabuse. Only one study found no relationship between cyber abuse victimization and the well-being dimensions they examined. Our research highlights the need to devise practical solutions to tackle and minimize this victimization. Furthermore, it underlines the necessity for adult education concerning safer technology use, as well as for researchers to be transparent regarding the platforms that victims have been abused on, so we can better infer where and how exactly individuals need support to interact safely online.