Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Just as in traditional bullying, bystanders play a pivotal role in cyberbullying as well. The current study sought to elucidate characteristics that distinguish individuals who act as passive bystanders from those who intervene on a victim’s behalf who is cyberbullied (“active bystanders”). Of particular interest was to examine whether empathy, moral beliefs and emotion regulation predict bystanding. Social self-efficacy, i.e., the belief in one’s ability to express one’s opinion and handle interpersonal conflict, was also examined. A sample of 400 college students completed a set of self-report instruments assessing these constructs and cyberbullying. Additionally, participants were asked how they would respond (e.g., “do nothing”, “respond to the bully directly within the thread”) to three interspersed lab-generated scenarios of cyberbullying. Using latent path modeling, I investigated how empathy, moral disengagement, and emotion regulation interrelate to predict bystanding in response to cyberbullying. The results indicated a direct relationship between active bystanders’ empathic concern and their perceived social self-efficacy to confront a bully (“active bystanding”). The findings regarding passive bystanders’ non-intervention were more complicated. Less empathy was related to greater moral disengagement, which in turn was associated with less involvement in the bullying situation. Furthermore, social self-efficacy mediated the relationship between empathy and emotion regulation with passive bystanding. This study’s implications for reducing or preventing cyberbullying are discussed.
Rice, Valdis, "The Mediating Effect of Moral Beliefs on Responses to Cyberbullying Scenarios" (2016). Psychology. 29.