Relationships between traditional and electronic bullying and wellbeing in young adolescents
Research on traditional (face-to-face) bullying and victimization has led to an extensive body of knowledge about the psychosocial correlates of this phenomenon. Recent research into electronic (or cyber) bullying has shown many similar outcomes for bullies and victims. Multivariate hierarchical regression analyses tested whether electronic bullying would explain additional variance in outcome measures of internalizing and externalizing problems above traditional bullying/victimization. Unique amounts of variance contributed by each type of bullying were measured, and gender differences were also assessed. Participants were 148 6th-8th grade students (59% female; 69% Caucasian) from three rural northern California schools. Results showed that for the total sample, electronic bullying contributed variance in externalizing problems above traditional bullying alone. Electronic bullying victimization also added variance to internalizing problems above traditional victimization. For boys, the magnitudes of these relationships were stronger. For boys, electronic victimization was also found to explain variance in externalizing problems above traditional victimization. For girls, electronic bullying and victimization did not add to the variance in either externalizing or internalizing problems. Electronic and traditional forms of bullying/victimization appear to be correlated to similar maladjustment outcomes. The pattern of these associations are not identical, indicating that electronic and traditional bullying/victimization should be considered as separate constructs with different relationships to adjustment outcomes. The current study also validated a new measure of electronic bullying/victimization (EBVS). Preliminary results indicate that the EBVS improves upon methodological limitations of previous measures.