A cyberbullying study: analysis of cyberbullying, comorbidities and coping mechanisms].

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Cyberbullying is a relatively new form of bullying. This bullying is committed by means of an electronic act, the transmission of a communication by message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device, including but limited to, a computer phone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, games console or pager. Cyberbullying is characterized by deliberately threatening, harassing, intimidating, or ridiculing an individual or group of individuals; placing an individual in reasonable fear of harm; posting sensitive, private information about another person without his/her permission; breaking into another person’s account and/or assuming another individual’s identity in order to damage that person’s reputation or friendships.


A review of the literature shows that between 6 and 40% of all youths have experienced cyberbullying at least once in their lives. Several cyberbullying definitions have been offered in the literature, many of which are derived from definitions of traditional bullying. In our study we asked clear definition of cyberbullying. Few studies explicate the psychosocial determinants of cyberbullying, and coping mechanisms. The authors of the literature recommend developing resiliency, but without analyzing the resilience factor.


The first aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of adolescents and adults engaged in cyberbullying. The second aim was to examine the coping mechanisms and comorbidity factors associated with the cyberbullied people.


The sample was composed of 272 adolescents (from a high school) and adults (mean age=16.44 ± 1). The Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire was used to identify profiles of cyberbullying. Coping mechanisms were investigated using the Hurt Disposition Scale (HDS) and the Brief Resilience Scale (BRS). Comorbidities were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD), Liebowitz’s Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), and the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire (BVAQ).


Almost one student in three was involved in cyberbullying (34.9% as cyber-victim, 16.9 as cyberbully); 4.8% of our sample was concerned by bullying as a victim. The victims of bullying were also victims of cyberbullying. The mean age of victims of cyberbullying was 17.84 ± 5.9 years, and the mean age of victims of bullying was 16.3 ± 4.5 years. Correlation coefficient was significant for HAD, LSAS, BVAQ scales with CQ. The retaliatory variable of HDS scale was not significant. Finally, the coping strategies of students who reported victimization were explored. These strategies include coping, telling someone, figuring out the situation, and avoidant coping. The results showed for the victims of cyberbullying, that they take longer to recover from a stressful event, compared to victims of bullying.


Results have indicated the importance of further study of cyberbullying because its association with comorbidities was distinct from traditional forms of bullying. The biggest risk factor for the adolescents is the severity of the consequences. These are: the adoption of the avoidance coping strategy, the occurrence of offline bullying during the situation, the adoption of the self-control coping strategy, the variety of cyberbullying acts, the victim’s level of self-blame, the victim’s perception of the duration of the situation, and the frequency of cyberbullying victimization.

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