Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cyberpal: A mobile resource for cyberbullying
by Shieh, Beverly S., Psy.D., Pepperdine University, 2016, 212; 10100577
Abstract (Summary)

Bullying continues to be a global concern in schools and communities, especially in light of its adverse short- and long-term impacts on youth with respect to both psychiatric and physical health (Espelage & Swearer, 2003; Rodkin, Espelage, & Hanish, 2015; Witted & Dupper, 2005). As a result, numerous programs and resources aimed at preventing bullying and intervening with both victims and perpetrators have been developed. An increased use of computer-mediated communications (CMCs) among adolescents (Patchin, 2013) has lead to the emergence of a new form of bullying called cyberbullying, which involves intentional acts of aggression through online or cellular phone communications. Therefore a need for resources specifically targeting cyberbullying that are accessible and easy-to-use is also needed.

The current project involved developing a resource in the form of wireframing for a mobile-app, aimed at decreasing cyberbullying among adolescents (ages 12-18 years) by providing them with a reflective learning tool to heighten their awareness of their involvement in cyberbullying, its potential adverse consequences, and to connect them with relevant resources. The project was informed by a review of the literature on physical bullying, cyberbullying (e.g., prevalence, forms, and roles involved), and the efficacy of current prevention/treatment programs and resources. The resulting mobile-app wireframe is presented in the form of a manual and simulation using the JustinMind program (Farrell-Vinary, 2011). The wireframe is comprised of four modules: (1) An Assessment Module to assess user’s cyberbullying role (bully, victim, bully/victim) and tailor the mobile-app’s content, (2) a Psychoeducation Module providing information on the adverse affects, signs, and symptoms of cyberbullying, (3) a Daily Log Module to monitor online behaviors and increase online awareness, and (4) a Resources Module to provide additional support to other programs, information, and personal contacts. Although the resource is intended primarily for use by teens as a self-help tool, it may be implemented as part of a hybrid approach in conjunction with therapy or school-based programs.

Following a discussion of strengths, limitations and potential improvements to the current resource, plans for evaluating its efficacy once developed into a functional mobile-app and disseminating it to relevant professionals are described.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Erhardt, Drew
Commitee: Espelage, Dorothy, Falender, Carol
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Social psychology
Keywords: Adolescents, Bullying, Computer mediated communications, Cyberbullying, Mobile-app, Online aggression
Publication Number: 10100577
ISBN: 978-1-339-64468-4
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