Cyberbullying : what are the psychological profiles of bullies, victims, and bully-victims?
The purposes of the present study were to classify youth into subgroups based on their involvement in cyberbullying, to examine group differences in terms of internalizing problems, and to examine moderator effects of peer relationships and sex. The research questions of the present study were: 1) Are there any differences between bullies, victims, bully-victims, and those not involved in cyberbullying, in terms of their internalizing problems (self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and stress)?; 2) Are there moderating effects of peer relationships between these groups and their internalizing problems?; and 3) Are there moderating effects of sex between these groups and their internalizing problems? In the present study, a cyberbullying survey was conducted with 463 public middle and high school students in central Texas. The participants were selected from two different school districts to include diverse samples. Students' cyberbullying experiences, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, stress, and peer relationships were measured. As a result of group classification, 2.3% of the participants were categorized in the victim group, 2.0% were in the bully group, 10.9% were in the bully-victim group, and the rest of the students (84.9%) were categorized in the not-involved group. Participants who were involved reported higher levels of internalizing problems than those who were not involved. Among them, the bully-victim group scored significantly higher on depression, anxiety, and stress compared to the rest of the groups. With regard to interaction effects of peer relationship and sex, practical effects were very small. These findings indicate that both males and females have equal risk of developing internalizing problems due to cyberbullying and better peer relationship was not a strong buffer against internalizing problems.