Traditional bullying victimization and new cyberbullying behaviors

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Carolyn Roecker Phelps


Bullying is a serious concern with lasting effects. It involves the use of aggressive behaviors as a way to gain power and control over peers (Olweus, 1993). Teen involvement, in both traditional forms of bullying and cyberbullying, is significant. The present study attempted to better understand the relationship between traditional bullying victimization and cyberbullying behavior through the interplay of hurt reaction, poor social skills, and/or avoidant coping. One hundred and six high school students ranging from 14 to 18 years old participated in an online survey. While as many as 72% of the participants recognized cyberbullying occurring among their peers, only 4.7% of participants self-identified as having engaged in cyberbullying behaviors. The low number of self-identified cyberbullies made it difficult to conduct analyses. Therefore, the two primary hypotheses in this study could not be examined. Additional exploratory analyses examined the relationship between traditional bullying victimization and cyberbullying victimization. Gender differences among victims and non-victims of cyberbullying were not found to be significant. Analyses revealed that participants' involvement in cyberbullying victimization was significant if they were also involved in more traditional forms of bullying victimization and used more than one coping strategy as a way to stop their victimization. In addition, cyberbullying victimization was found to be correlated with the amount of time participants spent online during the week. Finally, regression analyses revealed relational bullying victimization was the only predictor of cyberbullying victimization. Possible reasons for these study findings and limitations are discussed further. The strong overlap between traditional forms of bullying and cyberbullying highlights the importance and need for continued study.


Bullying, Cyberbullying, Aggressiveness in adolescence

Rights Statement

Copyright 2009, author