Year of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department or School/College
Department of Psychology
Greg Machek, Margaret Beebe-Frakenberger, Darrell Stolle, Danette Wollersheim
bullying, cyber victimization, Internet bullying, peer victimization, cyber bullying, electronic aggression
University of Montana
This study explored cyber bullying and victimization. The use of technology as a vehicle for peer victimization is increasing and is associated with a risk of psychosocial maladjustment (Finkelhor, et al., 2000; Wolak, et al., 2006; Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004a, 2004b). It is thought to peak during middle school (Harris & Petrie, 2002); thus, the sample included 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who identified themselves as cyber bullies, victims, or bully/victims. Hypotheses were as follows: face-to-face bullies and victims would also be involved in cyber bullying and victimization, with females being more involved than males; cyber bullying and victimization would be associated with psychosocial maladjustment; externalizing behaviors would be more common among cyber bullies while internalizing symptoms, loneliness and low self-esteem would be more common among cyber victims; cyber bully/victims and individuals who were victims of both face-to-face bullying and cyber bullying would exhibit the poorest overall psychosocial adjustment. The study also sought to identify predictor variables related to cyber victimization, with loneliness and low self-esteem hypothesized as the most predictive. Analyses included chi-square tests of independence, a series of one-way ANOVAS and discriminant function analysis. Assessments included the Youth Self (Achenbach, 1991) (for internalizing, externalizing and total problems), the Children's Loneliness Scale (Asher & Wheeler, 1985) for loneliness, and the Self-Esteem Questionnaire-Short Form (DuBois, et al., 1996) for peer and global self-esteem.
Results indicated that 69% of participants were involved in cyber bullying and/or victimization. A significant overlap was found among face-to-face bullies and victims and cyber bullies and victims. Females were over-represented among cyber bullies, victims, and bully/victims. The psychosocial characteristics of cyber victims, and bully/victims included externalizing behaviors, total problems, and low peer self-esteem. Cyber bullies did not endorse any psychosocial symptoms of maladjustment. Cyber bully/victims and victims of both face-to-face and cyber bullying exhibited the poorest psychosocial adjustment. Externalizing behaviors and total problems were most predictive of cyber victim status. Increased awareness about the use of technology as a vehicle for bullying and identification of potential problems associated with cyber bullying and victimization will aid parents, educators, and psychologists in developing intervention and prevention strategies.
Campfield, Delia Carroll, "Cyber Bullying and Victimization: Psychosocial Characteristics of Bullies, Victims, and Bully/Victims" (2008). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 288.
© Copyright 2008 Delia Carroll Campfield