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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2012 Mar;15(3):141-7. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2011.0369. Epub 2012 Feb 3.

Predicting undergraduates' self-reported engagement in traditional and cyberbullying from attitudes.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, United Kingdom.


Studies indicate that attitudes predict traditional forms of bullying. Fewer studies have tested this for cyberbullying, in which the harassment is delivered via electronic communication technology. The current study represents the first direct comparison of attitudes toward the two forms of bullying among undergraduates (N=405). It also tested the hypothesis that engagement in traditional and cyberbullying could be predicted from attitudes toward bullying behavior, bullies, and victims. Results indicated that participants held least favorable attitudes toward physical bullying/bullies, more accepting attitudes toward verbal bullying/bullies, and attitudes toward forms of cyberbullying/bullies somewhere in between. Significant sex differences were also obtained; women expressed significantly less accepting attitudes toward bullying behavior and perpetrators, and more accepting attitudes toward victims, across all subtypes of bullying. The hypothesis that attitudes predict bullying behavior received some support. Some similarities and differences emerged for cyber and traditional forms. The implications for future research, theory building, and interventions are discussed.

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