Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Nature and Impact of Cyberbullying on the Middle School Student
by Pilkey, Jacqueline K., Ed.D., Walden University, 2011, 168; 3458135
Abstract (Summary)

Cyberbullying is harassment through the Internet or other technologies. Forty-two percent of youth nationally have experienced cyberbullying and 53% admitted to being the cyberbully. A lack of understanding by adults of cyberbullying logistics and impact causes cyberbullying to remain a serious issue that has not yet been appropriately addressed within schools. A sequential, mixed methods study was implemented to investigate the prevalence of cyberbullying in one middle school and to determine the nature and impact of the experience in order to inform site-based interventions. Bandura's social learning theory, Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework, and Agnew's strain theory provided this investigation's theoretical foundation. Two separate web-based data collection tools were administered sequentially. Descriptive survey data showed that 37.8% of students had experienced cyberbullying, 56% observed cyberbullying, and that eighth grade students experienced a higher incident rate of cyberbullying (42.1%). Inductive coding of qualitative data from the questionnaire conducted with eighth graders contributed to the identification of emergent themes related to the psychological and educational impact. Specifically, these themes included symptoms of anger, depression, thoughts of violence, and interference with learning. Overall key findings from this study showed that cyberbullying is prevalent at this site and cyberbullying experiences have had a debilitating impact on psychological functioning, environmental comfort, and educational engagement. This study informs social change by providing information to tailor school-based solutions that can effectively decrease incidence of cyberbullying among students within this educational community.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lynn, Laura K.
Commitee: Besag, Frank
School: Walden University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle School education, Clinical psychology, Web Studies
Keywords: Bullying, Cyberbullying, Electronic bullying, Harassment, School safety, Strain theory
Publication Number: 3458135
ISBN: 9781124695051
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