Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Terry A. Kinney

Abstract

This study examined cyber-bullying as a social transgression and the potentially negative effects it has on individuals, specifically adolescents and young adults from experiences recalled by college students. Findings established support for a moderator/mediator model, designed and tested for this study, that describes the psychological process prompted by a cyber-bullying message, which is moderated as well as mediated by several factors. This study examined the theoretical and practical value of the model in terms of being able to reflect the psychological process that individuals move through when exposed to a cyber-bullying message, and its ability to account for both primary and secondary effects of bullying. To accomplish these goals, a packet of standardized measurement tools were used and data were quantitatively analyzed. Findings support that adolescents and young adults who find themselves to be a target of a cyber-bullying message find that message to be negative and experience negative effects. Findings from this study add support to current cyber-bullying research and remind readers of the critically important nature of cyber-bullying in our society today.