Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Justine Dandy

Second Advisor

Craig Harms

Abstract

Much research has explored the nature, prevalence and impact that bullying behaviours have on children and adolescents. Correlations have been found between bullying behaviours and depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, loneliness, psychosomatic symptoms and conduct disorders. With a rapid increase in the availability and use of information and communication technologies young people are now able to bully others in a relatively anonymous, removed fashion, often referred to as cyber bullying. This paper provides a review of the research that has investigated the nature, prevalence and impact of cyber and non-cyber bullying. The bullying literature highlights the negative consequences this behaviour often has for adolescents, regardless of the means and mode of the behaviour (physical, verbal, relational, direct, indirect, cyber) and how the individual is involved (bully, victim, bully/victim). The review highlights a number of gaps within this literature (particularly within the cyber bullying literature) and concludes with recommendations for future research. With the rapid increase in the availability and use of information and communication technologies, young people are now able to bully others in a relatively anonymous, removed fashion, often referred to as cyber bullying. Much research has explored the nature, prevalence and impact that bullying behaviours have on children and adolescents with strong positive correlations often found between bullying behaviours and depression, however little empirical evidence exists to suggest whether the impacts are the same for those who are cyber bullied. This study investigated the relationships between cyber and non-cyber bullying and depressive symptoms among a sample of 1933 Western Australian adolescents. Consistent with the hypotheses and previous research findings, students who were both cyber and non-cyber bullied reported significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than those non-cyber bullied only, those cyber bullied only and those not bullied at all. The research highlights the negative psychological effect (as measured by depression) of being both cyber and non-cyber bullied. The findings validate the need to include a cyber bullying element to existing or newly developed interventions which aim to reduce bullying behaviours among school aged students.

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