Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

December 2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Feleta L. Wilson

Abstract

Cyberbullying is a new phenomenon that has received substantial attention via media. An extensive review of the literature revealed limited nursing research on this topic. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of cyberbullying on adolescents' physical (e.g., headache, stomachache, etc.) and psychosocial (e.g., self-esteem, depression, post traumatic stress syndrome, etc.) outcomes. Individuals who experience repeated traditional bullying are at increased risk for experiencing repeated incidents of cyberbullying. Research has shown that effects of cyberbullying may be more traumatic than traditional bullying because victims can be bullied 24 hours and 7 days a week, on and off school property. A total of 367 adolescents aged 10 to 18 years of age (50.4% females and 49.6 males) in 4th through 12th grades participated in the study. A community-based approach was used to recruit students and collect data from charter schools, recreational centers, church youth groups, and a community organization.

Five instruments (The Student Survey; Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment; Depression Self-rating Scale; Children's Somatization Inventory, and a short demographic survey) were used to collect data on the dependent and independent variables. Data analysis used the IBM-SPSS (ver. 19.0) and included chi-square tests for independence, Pearson product moment correlations, logistic regression, and stepwise multiple linear regression analysis. Data analysis revealed that adolescents from urban and suburban areas are similar in their views of what constitutes cyberbullying and the emotions that are associated with cyberbullying. Adolescents are more likely to view cyberbullying activities more seriously if they are closely attached to their peers and parents. The results also revealed that adolescents may be less likely to report cyberbullying incidents. Physical and mental health did not appear to be problematic for these students. Given the pervasiveness of cyberbullying among adolescents, nurses are in a key position to address cyberbullying through the use of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Nurses have a complete understanding of important health issues related to bullying behaviors and receive training on how to deal with these behaviors. The paucity of research studies regarding cyberbullying and health outcomes support the need for additional exploration of this topic.

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