Special Issue "Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. José Carlos Núñez Pérez
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Psychology, University of Oviedo, 33003, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Interests: bullying, cyber-aggression, and predictors of cyber-aggression; aggressive behavior; psychological wellbeing; eudaimonic wellbeing; coping strategies; learning disabilities; self-regulated learning; academic engagement; academic procrastination; homework; multilevel analysis; student dropout
Dr. María del Carmen Pérez-Fuentes
Website
Guest Editor
Dr. David Álvarez-García
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Psychology, University of Oviedo, 33003, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Interests: aggressive behavior; school violence; bullying; cyber-aggression; cyber-victimization; social networks; prevalence; predictors; risk factors; protective factors; impact on well-being; assessment; prevention; childhood; adolescence

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nowadays, there is growing concern about cyber-aggression among adolescents and its (personal, family, and social) consequences, especially in this particularly vulnerable age group. Families, schools, healthcare professionals, and social workers are all trying to understand and find responses to this problem. Despite the recent advances in this field, the mechanisms by which cyber-aggression in adolescents can have significant negative effects on those involved have not been sufficiently researched. The early research in this regard nevertheless suggests that it is not only the victims, but also the aggressors and witnesses, and even their families, who may suffer the negative consequences of this dreadful experience.

This Special Issue aims to offer the reader a multidisciplinary, up-to-date view of the consequences of adolescent cyber-aggression on the psychological wellbeing of those involved, as well as the mechanisms by which those consequences occur. These consequences and mechanisms may be examined by various disciplines such as psychology, psychiatry, healthcare sciences, criminology, sociology, and related areas. Therefore, we invite all researchers who work on this topic to present high-quality, relevant, scientific studies on this subject for this Special Issue. Empirical studies are especially welcome, however systematic reviews and meta-analyses are also acceptable.

Dr. José Carlos Núñez
Dr. Mª Carmen Pérez-Fuentes
Dr. David Álvarez-García
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • adolescence
  • bullying
  • cyber-aggression
  • psychological wellbeing
  • cyber-victimization
  • antisocial behavior
  • impulsivity
  • internet
  • protective and risk factors

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Psychological Correlates of Ghosting and Breadcrumbing Experiences: A Preliminary Study among Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1116; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17031116 - 10 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2418
Abstract
The present study aimed to examine differences in three psychological constructs (satisfaction with life, loneliness, and helplessness) among adults experiencing ghosting and breadcrumbing. A sample of 626 adults (303 males and 323 females), aged from 18 to 40 years, completed an online survey [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to examine differences in three psychological constructs (satisfaction with life, loneliness, and helplessness) among adults experiencing ghosting and breadcrumbing. A sample of 626 adults (303 males and 323 females), aged from 18 to 40 years, completed an online survey asking to indicate whether someone they considered a dating partner had ghosted or breadcrumbed them in the last year and to complete three different scales regarding satisfaction with life, loneliness, and helplessness. The results showed than those participants who had indicated experiencing breadcrumbing or the combined forms (both breadcrumbing and ghosting) reported less satisfaction with life, and more helplessness and self-perceived loneliness. The results from the regression models showed that suffering breadcrumbing would significantly increase the likelihood of experiencing less satisfaction with life, and of having more feelings of loneliness and helplessness. However, no significant relation was found between ghosting and any of the examined psychological correlates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
Open AccessArticle
Cyberaggression in Adolescents of Bolivia: Connection with Psychopathological Symptoms, Adaptive and Predictor Variables
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17031022 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1038
Abstract
Concern about the increase of cyberbullying underlies this study, which had four objectives: (1) to calculate the prevalence of cyberaggressors; (2) to compare non-cyberaggressors with cyberaggressors in other bullying/cyberbullying roles, in psychopathological symptoms, and in self-image of masculinity/femininity, happiness, and empathy; (3) to [...] Read more.
Concern about the increase of cyberbullying underlies this study, which had four objectives: (1) to calculate the prevalence of cyberaggressors; (2) to compare non-cyberaggressors with cyberaggressors in other bullying/cyberbullying roles, in psychopathological symptoms, and in self-image of masculinity/femininity, happiness, and empathy; (3) to analyze whether cyberaggressors consulted with a psychologist more than non-cyberaggressors; and (4) to identify predictor variables of cyberaggression. Participants were 1558 Bolivian students aged 13 to 17 years. Seven evaluation instruments were administered, using a descriptive, comparative, cross-sectional methodology. Results: (1) 32.7% of cyberaggressors (27.4% occasional, 5.3% severe) were found, with a higher percentage of males; (2) compared to non-cyberaggressors, cyberaggressors engaged in more face-to-face bullying behaviors, suffered more face-to-face victimization and cybervictimization, had more psychopathological symptoms (depression, somatization, obsession-compulsion, interpersonal sensitivity, anxiety, hostility, paranoid ideation, psychoticism), higher overall level of psychopathology, had requested psychological assistance in a greater proportion, self-defined with many attributes associated with masculinity, and felt less happiness and less empathy; and (3) being or having been a cybervictim, being or having been an aggressor of face-to-face bullying, low empathetic joy, and a self-image based on attributes associated with masculinity were predictors of cyberaggression. The need for therapeutic intervention with all those involved and the importance of prevention in the school context are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
Open AccessArticle
Cyberbullying and Social Anxiety: A Latent Class Analysis among Spanish Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020406 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
Cyberbullying is a common social maladjustment that has negative repercussions on the wellbeing and development of adolescents, but numerous questions remain as to the relationship between cyberbullying and social anxiety in adolescence. This study analyzes cyberbullying profiles (screening of harassment among peers) and [...] Read more.
Cyberbullying is a common social maladjustment that has negative repercussions on the wellbeing and development of adolescents, but numerous questions remain as to the relationship between cyberbullying and social anxiety in adolescence. This study analyzes cyberbullying profiles (screening of harassment among peers) and assesses whether these profiles vary with respect to the level of social anxiety (social anxiety scale for adolescents). The sample consisted of 1412 Spanish secondary education students aged 12 to 18 (M = 14.36, SD = 1.65). Latent class analysis and ANOVA were performed. Analyses revealed three profiles: high cyberbullying (high victimization, aggression, and aggression-victimization), low cyberbullying (moderate victimization, aggression, and aggression-victimization), and non-cyberbullying. The cyberbullying patterns varied significantly for all social anxiety subscales. Students with the high cyberbullying profile (bully–victims) presented high scores on social avoidance and distress in social situations in general with peers, whereas these students presented lower levels of fear of negative evaluation and distress and social avoidance in new situations as compared to the low cyberbullying (rarely victim/bully) and non-involved student profiles. Implications for psychologists and educational counselors and cyberbullying preventive interventions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
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Open AccessArticle
Cyberbullying and Psychological Well-being in Young Adolescence: The Potential Protective Mediation Effects of Social Support from Family, Friends, and Teachers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010045 - 19 Dec 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2855
Abstract
In the current study, we tested the relations between cyberbullying roles and several psychological well-being outcomes, as well as the potential mediation effect of perceived social support from family, friends, and teachers in school. This was investigated in a cross-sectional sample of 1707 [...] Read more.
In the current study, we tested the relations between cyberbullying roles and several psychological well-being outcomes, as well as the potential mediation effect of perceived social support from family, friends, and teachers in school. This was investigated in a cross-sectional sample of 1707 young adolescents (47.5% girls, aged 10–13 years, self-reporting via a web questionnaire) attending community and private schools in a mid-sized municipality in Sweden. We concluded from our results that the Cyberbully-victim group has the highest levels of depressive symptoms, and the lowest of subjective well-being and family support. We also observed higher levels of anxiety symptoms in both the Cyber-victims and the Cyberbully-victims. Moreover, we conclude that some types of social support seem protective in the way that it mediates the relationship between cyberbullying and psychological well-being. More specifically, perceived social support from family and from teachers reduce the probability of depressive and anxiety symptoms, and higher levels of social support from the family increase the probability of higher levels of subjective well-being among youths being a victim of cyberbullying (i.e., cyber-victim) and being both a perpetrator and a victim of cyber bullying (i.e., cyberbully-victim). Potential implications for prevention strategies are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
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Open AccessArticle
Peer Victimization in Overweight Adolescents and Its Effect on Their Self-Esteem and Peer Difficulties
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010016 - 18 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1159
Abstract
This study has three objectives: to examine whether adolescents who perceive themselves as overweight differ from others in terms of offline victimization at school, cybervictimization, self-esteem, and difficulties relating to peers; to examine the possible effects of offline and cybervictimization on self-esteem and [...] Read more.
This study has three objectives: to examine whether adolescents who perceive themselves as overweight differ from others in terms of offline victimization at school, cybervictimization, self-esteem, and difficulties relating to peers; to examine the possible effects of offline and cybervictimization on self-esteem and difficulties relating to peers; and to examine the possible moderating role of perceiving oneself as overweight on those effects. Previously validated questionnaires were applied to a sample of 3145 adolescents in Asturias (Spain). Descriptive, inferential, correlational, and structural equation analyses were performed. Adolescents who perceived themselves as overweight reported being victims of both offline victimization and most forms of cybervictimization to a greater extent than those who did not perceive themselves as overweight. They also reported lower self-esteem and more peer difficulties (shyness or social anxiety). In both groups of adolescents, victimization and cybervictimization were correlated with each other, both types of victimization had direct, negative effects on self-esteem, and self-esteem in turn had a direct, negative effect on peer difficulties. Furthermore, offline victimization had a direct, positive effect on peer difficulties. Perceiving oneself as overweight moderated the effect of self-esteem on peer difficulties. In adolescents perceiving themselves as overweight, low self-esteem was a stronger risk factor of peer difficulties than in the rest of the adolescents. With high overall self-esteem there were no significant differences in peer difficulties between the adolescents perceiving themselves as overweight and the rest of the adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
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Open AccessArticle
Coping with Cybervictimization: The Role of Direct Confrontation and Resilience on Adolescent Wellbeing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4893; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244893 - 04 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1125
Abstract
Background. Recent studies have consistently identified the negative consequences of cyberbullying on adolescent mental health. Nevertheless, not all cybervictims are alike, and in the last few years some evidence has appeared indicating that faced with cyberbullying, victims may manifest different emotional outcomes. In [...] Read more.
Background. Recent studies have consistently identified the negative consequences of cyberbullying on adolescent mental health. Nevertheless, not all cybervictims are alike, and in the last few years some evidence has appeared indicating that faced with cyberbullying, victims may manifest different emotional outcomes. In this study, we explored whether cybervictim resilience fully or partially mediates the effects of cybervictimization and whether a confrontational coping strategy impacts emotional symptoms. Methods. The study was carried out with a sample of 474 high school students equally distributed between males and females. Data were collected using a questionnaire comprising four measures assessing cybervictimization, direct confrontation coping strategy, resilience and emotional symptoms. Results. Structural equation modelling indicated that the effects of cybervictimization and confrontational coping strategy on emotional symptoms were mediated by resilience, with cybervictimization showing a positive effect while direct confrontation a negative effect. Cybervictimization also showed a positive direct effect on emotional symptoms. Conclusions. These results are presented in light of their implications for designing effective interventions able to protect and promote adolescents’ psychological wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
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Open AccessArticle
Emotional Intelligence, Bullying, and Cyberbullying in Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4837; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234837 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2175
Abstract
Bullying and cyberbullying are important global issues with negative consequences for physical and mental health in education. The objective of this study was to analyze to what extent some dimensions of emotional intelligence predict certain manifestations of bullying and cyberbullying in adolescents. The [...] Read more.
Bullying and cyberbullying are important global issues with negative consequences for physical and mental health in education. The objective of this study was to analyze to what extent some dimensions of emotional intelligence predict certain manifestations of bullying and cyberbullying in adolescents. The total number of subjects recruited in compulsory secondary education schools, was 309 (53.1% female). Their ages ranged from 12 to 16 (M = 14.17, SD = 1.4). The used instruments were the school violence questionnaire and the emotional coefficient inventory; the study design was cross-sectional. Results showed that the score increases on some scales (adaptability, stress management, and interpersonal) involved a greater risk of increasing the likelihood of social perception the different manifestations of school violence. However, in the general mood, the increase in this variable score implied lower perceiving in likelihood of violent behavior. It is important to take into account preventive actions aimed at improving school life and, above all, to alleviate difficulties in managing stress, adaptability, and interpersonal relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
Open AccessArticle
Self-Expressive Creativity in the Adolescent Digital Domain: Personality, Self-Esteem, and Emotions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4527; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224527 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1563
Abstract
Background: Although self-expressive creativity is related to cyberbullying, it can also reinforce strengths that contribute to positive adolescent development. Our study concentrated on the relationships between personality traits and self-expressive creativity in the digital domain in an adolescent population. For this, we analyzed [...] Read more.
Background: Although self-expressive creativity is related to cyberbullying, it can also reinforce strengths that contribute to positive adolescent development. Our study concentrated on the relationships between personality traits and self-expressive creativity in the digital domain in an adolescent population. For this, we analyzed the effect of self-esteem and emotional intelligence as assets for positive development related to personality traits and self-expressive creativity. Methods: The study population included a total of 742 adolescents that were high-school students in the province of Almería, Spain. The following instruments were used: Big Five Inventory (BFI) to evaluate the five broad personality factors, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), Expression, Management, and Emotion Recognition Evaluation Scale (TMMS-24), and the Creative Behavior Questionnaire: Digital (CBQD). Results: The cluster analysis revealed the existence of two profiles of adolescents based on their personality traits. The analysis showed that the group with the highest levels of extraversion and openness to experience and lowest levels of neuroticism were those who showed the highest scores in self-esteem, clarity, and emotional repair, as well as in self-expressive creativity. Higher scores in neuroticism and lower scores in extraversion and openness to experience showed a direct negative effect on self-expressive creativity and indirect effect through self-esteem and emotional attention, which acted as mediators in series. Conclusions: To counteract certain characteristics that increase adolescents’ vulnerability to social network bullying, a plan must be developed for adequate positive use of the Internet from a creative model that enables digital self-expression for acquiring identity and self-efficacy through the positive influence of peers, which promotes feelings of empowerment and self-affirmation through constructive tasks that reinforce self-esteem and emotional intelligence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
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Open AccessArticle
Associations between Witnessing and Perpetrating Online Hate in Eight Countries: The Buffering Effects of Problem-Focused Coping
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3992; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203992 - 18 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1222 | Correction
Abstract
Online hate is a topic that has received considerable interest lately, as online hate represents a risk to self-determination and peaceful coexistence in societies around the globe. However, not much is known about the explanations for adolescents posting or forwarding hateful online material [...] Read more.
Online hate is a topic that has received considerable interest lately, as online hate represents a risk to self-determination and peaceful coexistence in societies around the globe. However, not much is known about the explanations for adolescents posting or forwarding hateful online material or how adolescents cope with this newly emerging online risk. Thus, we sought to better understand the relationship between a bystander to and perpetrator of online hate, and the moderating effects of problem-focused coping strategies (e.g., assertive, technical coping) within this relationship. Self-report questionnaires on witnessing and committing online hate and assertive and technical coping were completed by 6829 adolescents between 12 and 18 years of age from eight countries. The results showed that increases in witnessing online hate were positively related to being a perpetrator of online hate. Assertive and technical coping strategies were negatively related with perpetrating online hate. Bystanders of online hate reported fewer instances of perpetrating online hate when they reported higher levels of assertive and technical coping strategies, and more frequent instances of perpetrating online hate when they reported lower levels of assertive and technical coping strategies. In conclusion, our findings suggest that, if effective, prevention and intervention programs that target online hate should consider educating young people about problem-focused coping strategies, self-assertiveness, and media skills. Implications for future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
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Open AccessArticle
Does Parental Mediation of Technology Use Moderate the Associations between Cyber Aggression Involvement and Substance Use? A Three-Year Longitudinal Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2425; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132425 - 08 Jul 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
The goal of this three-year longitudinal study was to examine the buffering effect of parental mediation of adolescents’ technology use (i.e., restrictive, co-viewing, and instructive) on the relationships among cyber aggression involvement and substance use (i.e., alcohol use, marijuana use, cigarette smoking, and [...] Read more.
The goal of this three-year longitudinal study was to examine the buffering effect of parental mediation of adolescents’ technology use (i.e., restrictive, co-viewing, and instructive) on the relationships among cyber aggression involvement and substance use (i.e., alcohol use, marijuana use, cigarette smoking, and non-marijuana illicit drug use). Overall, 867 (Mage = 13.67, age range from 13–15 years, 51% female, 49% White) 8th grade adolescents from the Midwestern United States participated in this study during the 6th grade (Wave 1), 7th grade (Wave 2), and 8th grade (Wave 3). Results revealed that higher levels of Wave 2 instructive mediation weakened the association between Wave 1 cyber victimization and Wave 3 alcohol use and Wave 3 non-marijuana illicit drug use. The relationship was stronger between Wave 1 cyber victimization and Wave 3 alcohol use and Wave 3 non-marijuana illicit drug use when adolescents reported lower levels of Wave 2 instructive mediation. At lower levels of Wave 2 instructive mediation, the association between Wave 1 cyber aggression perpetration and Wave 3 non-marijuana illicit drug use was stronger. Implications of these findings are discussed in the context of parents recognizing their role in helping to mitigate the negative consequences associated with adolescents’ cyber aggression involvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
Open AccessArticle
Associations between Profiles of Self-Esteem and Achievement Goals and the Protection of Self-Worth in University Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(12), 2218; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122218 - 23 Jun 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1588
Abstract
The high demands of academia and the fear of failure lead some university students to prioritize defending their personal worth through the use of complex strategies such as self-handicapping or defensive pessimism. Adopting a person-centered approach, this study established two objectives: First, to [...] Read more.
The high demands of academia and the fear of failure lead some university students to prioritize defending their personal worth through the use of complex strategies such as self-handicapping or defensive pessimism. Adopting a person-centered approach, this study established two objectives: First, to analyze the conformation of different motivational profiles based on the combination of self-esteem and achievement goals (learning, performance approach, and performance avoidance); and second, to determine if the identified profiles differ from one another in the use of self-handicapping and defensive pessimism. A total of 1028 university students participated in the research. Four motivational profiles were obtained: (a) High self-esteem, low learning goals, high performance approach goals, and high performance avoidance goals; (b) high self-esteem, high learning goals, low performance approach goals, and low performance avoidance goals; (c) low self-esteem, low learning goals, high performance approach goals, and high performance avoidance goals; and (d) low self-esteem, high learning goals, high performance approach goals, and medium performance avoidance goals. Profiles (c) and (d) were significantly related to self-handicapping and defensive pessimism, respectively. These results suggest that students with low self-esteem are more vulnerable to self-protection strategies. Additionally, under self-handicapping and defensive pessimism, the achievement goals are slightly different. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
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