Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Predicting Resilience after Cyberbully Victimization among High School Students

Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Predicting Resilience after Cyberbully Victimization among High School Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

Recently, research has increasingly focused on bullying and its recurring presence in schools and the workplace. One aspect of this research has explored the effects bullying has on the adolescent population. In 2009, 19.9% of students reported being bullied on school property within the previous twelve months, with the average being slightly higher for girls than for boys (Eaton et al., 2010).

Definitions of bullying vary, yet there are overarching concepts between definitions that are present across prior studies. Olweus (2011), for example, identified three common concepts which he believes most practitioners have accepted: that bullying is (a) purposeful behavior which is adverse in nature, (b) usually takes place more than once, and (c) the intended victim is usually one who has trouble withstanding the bullying. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014) describes bullying as unsolicited behavior, combative in nature, that is experienced by a young person (or group) who is neither related to nor currently dating the aggressor(s). Bullying research to date has distinguished two categories of bullying, that of traditional bullying and cyberbullying, the latter identified by the use of technology to engage in bullying. Before the introduction and widespread use of cellular phones, the internet, and social media, cyberbullying was non-existent. Research has only recently identified cyberbullying as a new phenomenon (Carvalho, Fisher, Mahdavi, Russell, Smith, & Tippett, 2008).

There may be factors which increase an individual's risk for bully victimization. For example, an individual who is at risk may feel socially isolated and lack basic support. Adolescents who are at increased risk of being bully victims may have low self-esteem, have poor relationships with peers, or be described by others as "quiet" (CDC, 2014). People who do not possess these characteristics can also be bullied. Being the victim of bullying may put an individual at risk for negative outcomes including physical harm and emotional harm. Victims may also undergo physical or psychological harm as well. Adolescents who are victimized may be at an increased risk for poor mental health functioning, headaches, anxiety, and depression (CDC, 2014). Bannink, Broeren, de Waart, Raat, and van de Looij-Jansen (2014) as well as the CDC (2014) also note the linkage between being an adolescent bully victim in relation to mental health concerns and suicide.

Cyberbullying

Technology is prominent in modern society. With increasing technological advancements, a larger part of the population has access to the internet. With increasing access to the internet, the realms where bullying may take place have also expanded. Cyberbullying is often described similarly to traditional bullying (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010) but uses technology (i.e. mobile phones, e-mail, the internet) to carry out harmful acts (Brighi, Elipe, Genta, Guarini, Mora-Merchán, Ortega, & Tippett, 2012).There are now a growing number of social media websites that could potentially act as an avenue for bullying activity including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. One factor which may encourage individuals to engage in cyberbullying rather than traditional bullying is that the interaction does not occur face to face. Cyberbullying combines both the anonymity of indirect bullying as well as the targeted attack seen with direct bullying (Carvalho et al., 2008). Carvalho et al. (2008) found that roughly five to ten percent of students had been victims of cyberbullying within their last school term. Although their findings suggest cyberbullying occurs less frequently than traditional bullying, the authors note the possibility of underreporting by participants. Carvalho et al. (2008) pointed out that although the duration of cyberbullying is generally shorter than traditional bullying, this does not mean there is any less of a negative impact. The authors suggested that although cyberbullies are less likely to receive a response from the victim, they may receive some sort of gratifying response from their peers. …

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