Academic journal article Journal of Cyprus Studies

Associations between Independent Self-Construal, Gender-Role Orientation, and Cyberbullying / Cybervictimization: Findings from a University Student Sample in North Cyprus/Bagimsiz Benlik Anlamladirmasi, Toplumsal Cinsiyet Rollerine Dair Yonelimler Ve Siberzorbalik / Siberzorbaliga Maruz Kalma Arasindaki Iliskiler: Kuzey Kibris'tan Bir Universite Ogrencisi Orneklemine Iliskin Bulgular

Academic journal article Journal of Cyprus Studies

Associations between Independent Self-Construal, Gender-Role Orientation, and Cyberbullying / Cybervictimization: Findings from a University Student Sample in North Cyprus/Bagimsiz Benlik Anlamladirmasi, Toplumsal Cinsiyet Rollerine Dair Yonelimler Ve Siberzorbalik / Siberzorbaliga Maruz Kalma Arasindaki Iliskiler: Kuzey Kibris'tan Bir Universite Ogrencisi Orneklemine Iliskin Bulgular

Article excerpt

Introduction

Traditional bullying is a long-standing problem among children and adolescents. It is a subset of aggressive behavior which intends to inflict injury or discomfort upon another individual (Olweus, 2012). Rapid development of information and communication technologies such as the Internet and cell phones has enabled the expansion of this behavior into cyberspace. This form of bullying is called cyberbullying and can be defined as "...the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal websites, and defamatory online personal polling websites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others" (Belsey, 2005).

Cyberbullying is often described as the online continuum of traditional bullying (Gradinger, Strohmeier, & Spiel, 2009; Hinduja & Patchin, 2008; Machackova, Dedkova, Sevcikova & Cerna, 2013; Olweus, 2012; Riebel, Jager, & Fischer, 2009; Wade & Beran, 2011), or as a specific form of indirect bullying that involves the use of electronic devices to carry out bullying (Hemphill et al., 2012; Li, Smith, & Cross, 2012). Due to this connection between both phenomena, findings related to traditional bullying can provide important hints for research on cyberbullying. Table 1 shows some of the similarities and differences between traditional bullying and cyberbullying. As can be seen from the table, traditional bullying and cyberbullying share a lot of common features. Both behaviors are aggressive/hostile; there is power imbalance between bully and victim; bullying behavior is intentional and repetitive (Dooley, Pyzalsky, & Cross, 2009; Li, 2007; Slonje & Smith, 2008). On the other hand, in case of cyberbullying a degree of technological expertise is required; cyberbullies are much more invisible or anonymous compared to traditional bullies, and the act of bullying in cyberspace typically happens when the bully and victim are physically distant (Cowie, 2009; Li et al., 2012). But it should be noted that traditional bullies who use indirect and relational ways of bullying can be anonymous and distant, as well (Bjorkqvist, Osterman, & Kaukiainen, 1992; Garandeau, & Cillesen, 2006; Xie, Swift, Cairns, & Cairns, 2002).

Despite these similarities, cyberbullying has been discussed as being more severe in its consequences than traditional bullying (Campbell, 2005; Dooley et al., 2009; Tokunaga, 2010). For example, Bonanno and Hymel (2013) found that the impact of cyberbullying on depression and suicidal ideation was higher than the impact of traditional bullying. Similarly, compared to traditional bullying, cyberbullying has been identified as an additional risk factor for the development of depressive and psychosomatic symptoms (Gradinger, Strohmeier, & Spiel, 2009; Juvonen & Gross 2008; Perren, Dooley, Shaw, & Cross 2010; Sourander et al., 2010).

The amount of research on cyberbullying has increased dramatically in recent years, answering some basic questions concerning this phenomenon. But there remains a need for additional research to contribute to an understanding of the dynamics of cyber-bullying. One gap in the literature is the association between self-construals (i.e. independent vs. interdependent), gender-role orientation (i.e. femininity vs. masculinity) and cyberbullying/cybervictimization. The cultural level of this problem has already been acknowledged (e.g Cross, Li, Smith, & Monks, 2012; Walrave, & Heirman, 2010). But, we still lack research examining this dynamic on the individual level, which should also contribute to current knowledge.

After the seminal study by Markus and Kitayama (1991), culture and self started to be described as two interrelated constructs. For example, Gudykunst et. al (1996) stated that "members of individualistic cultures are socialized to rely predominantly on their independent self-construal, and members of collectivistic cultures are socialized to rely predominantly on their interdependent self-construals" (p. …

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