Analysis of cyberbullying research identifies factors associated with perpetration and victimization

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The widespread use of digital technologies and the Internet has given rise to a new type of personal intrusion, called cyberbullying. Reports of cyberstalking have increased, with the U.S. Department of Justice estimating that more than 1.3 million people experience this type of victimization each year. A new study explored research to identify factors associated with cyberbullying perpetration and victimization. The study results can inform the development of efforts to prevent and combat cyberbullying.

Led by a researcher from Sam Houston State University (SHSU), the work appears in the Journal of Criminal Justice.

“In light of the high prevalence of cyberbullying and the harmful consequences associated with this type of victimization, it is important to better understand the factors that contribute to it,” says Bitna Kim, professor of criminal justice at SHSU, who led the ‘study. study. Kim is an expert whose work is promoted by the NCJA Crime and Justice Research Alliance.

Although cyberstalking does not involve physical violence like offline stalking, repeated and unwanted electronic communications can instill fear in victims and make them feel unsafe. The perpetrators of these acts are often difficult to find due to the anonymity of the Internet.

Kim identified nearly 60 studies on cyberbullying between 2002 and 2022. All of the studies assessed repeated, unwanted electronic contact that sparked fear. Most research (76%) was conducted in the United States; studies have also been carried out in Australia, Belgium, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Chile, Egypt, England and Portugal. Participants included adults and adolescents.

Using a three-level meta-analytic approach, Kim assessed the relative validity of predictors associated with cyberbullying perpetration and victimization, including those related to individuals’ sociodemographic factors (e.g., age, gender, sexuality , race/ethnicity), background (previous experiences). of cybercrime and victimization, as well as offline experiences), risk (e.g., antisocial patterns or attitudes, family risk, attachment issues), and areas of protection (e.g., personality traits protection, guardianship and security). Within each domain, she measured subdomains to identify contributing factors. Its ultimate goal: to determine the relationship between a potential risk or protective factor and cyberbullying.

The contextual domain had the largest effect on cyberbullying perpetration and victimization, followed by the risk domain, while the sociodemographic and protective domains had no significant effect. The effect of context and risk varied depending on participant age and country, highlighting the need for studies identifying unique drivers of cyberbullying among adults in different countries. Among the study’s additional findings:

  • People who engage in cyber-aggressive behavior may put themselves at risk of cyberharassment or retaliation from victims.
  • Offending experiences, both online and offline, are strongly correlated with cyberbullying victimization.
  • Personality and psychological traits (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression) were strongly correlated with both cyberbullying perpetration and victimization, as were relational risk traits (e.g., cheating behaviors, jealousy love, threats).
  • Cyberbullying is similar to offline bullying in several respects, including that antisocial patterns (e.g., risky behaviors, alcohol problems, tendency to get into physical fights, likelihood of carrying a weapon) were significantly associated with perpetration and victimization of cyberbullying.
  • Cyberbullying differs from offline bullying in a number of ways, including that personality and psychological traits are strongly linked to cyberbullying but have little or no impact on offline bullying, and victims of cyberbullying rarely know their harassers.

“Providing a comprehensive picture of the factors that increase and decrease the likelihood of cyberbullying perpetration and victimization can help institutions and governments create prevention strategies,” says Kim. “This is essential to efficiently allocate limited resources and target prevention strategies to areas that need them most.”

In designing prevention strategies, Kim suggests that approaches targeting violence in general must consider the overlap between offending and victimization, as well as the co-occurrence between offline violence and cyberviolence. For example, given that the risk of committing and experiencing cyberbullying is higher among those who have been victims online or offline, prevention efforts should take these contextual factors into account.

More information:
Bitna Kim, A multilevel meta-analysis of cyberbullying: domains (and subdomains) of contributing factors, Journal of Criminal Justice (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2023.102084

Provided by the Crime and Justice Research Alliance

Quote: Analysis of cyberstalking research identifies factors associated with perpetration and victimization (November 20, 2023) retrieved November 20, 2023 from factors-perpetration-victimization.html

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