On SAGE Insight: Psychological Predictors of Cyberbullying According to Ethnic-Cultural Origin in Adolescents

Article title: Psychological Predictors of Cyberbullying According to Ethnic-Cultural Origin in Adolescents: A National Study in Spain

From Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

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Cyberbullying is an intentional, aggressive, and repeated behavior perpetrated by one individual against another through the use of information and communication technologies). In contrast with traditional bullying, which occurs between peers and occupies physical space the cyberbullying experienced by children occurs through the Internet or telecommunication. Therefore, the cyber aggressions that result in cyber victimization can be perpetuated and reproduced at any time and they are difficult to erase from cyberspace.

Studying the predictors of cyberbullying is of great research interest; however, little is known about how these relationships function in different ethno-cultural groups within a similar context. This exploratory study was undertaken to understand possible differences across ethno-cultural groups in the presence of cyber victimization and aggression, as well as the relative strength of common predictors of these behaviors. The study population included students who were in their first to fourth year of Compulsory Secondary Education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria [ESO]) in public Spanish schools. A final sample for this study was composed of 25,684 students, it was of each of the autonomous communities and cities.  Ethno-cultural group was controlled representative for according to the country of birth—Moroccan, Romanian, Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Spanish—following the model from previous studies. The Spanish version of the European Cyberbullying Intervention Project Questionnaire was used.  Participants completed an online self-report survey.

No differences were found between levels of cyber aggression according to ethno-cultural group. However, there were differences between the levels of cyber victimization between Romanians and Spaniards. The two main patterns that were common to all ethno-cultural groups were (a) the level of cyber aggression is the most powerful predictor of the level of cyber victimization and (b) the level of cyber victimization is the most powerful predictor of the level of cyber aggression. Common and unique patterns of prediction are presented and discussed to improve psychoeducational programs that prevent and mitigate cyberbullying. In future studies It could be very important to include the variable “time spent in Spain” to analyze its influence on the results shown in this study as well as to inquire about “socioeconomic status” of the participants.

Abstract

Studying the predictors of cyberbullying is of great research interest; however, little is known about how these relationships function in different ethno-cultural groups within a similar context. Our study examines levels of cyber victimization, cyber aggression, self-esteem, empathy, and social skills as possible predictors of cyberbullying in various ethno-cultural groups: Moroccan, Romanian, Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Spanish. A multicultural sample that was representative of students in their first through fourth year of Compulsory Secondary Education in Spain (N = 25,684, age M = 13.94; SD = 1.396) participated by completing an online self-report survey. No differences were found between levels of cyber aggression according to ethno-cultural group. However, there were differences between the levels of cyber victimization between Romanians and Spaniards. Multiple linear regression analyses performed for each of the ethno-cultural groups with respect to cyber aggression and cyber victimization revealed that the presence and weight of the explanatory factors were different according to ethno-cultural origin. The best predictor of cyber victimization in the five ethno-cultural groups was cyber aggression, and vice versa. Among Columbian, Romanian, and Spanish students, cyber victimization was also predicted by self-esteem, empathy, or social skills, with predictive power of these variables differing across ethno-cultural groups. However, these variables were not predictive of cyber victimization among Moroccan or Ecuadorian students. Cyber aggression was also predicted in all ethno-cultural groups by self-esteem, empathy, or social skills. Common and unique patterns of prediction are presented and discussed to improve psychoeducational programs that prevent and mitigate cyberbullying.

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Article details

cyberbullying, ethno-cultural groups, self-esteem, empathy, social skills


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