Our Research

Predicting university students’ self-reported engagement in cyber-bullying and traditional bullying from attitudes. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 15, 141-7.

Boulton, M.J., Lloyd, J., Down, J., & Marx, H. (2012). Predicting university students’ self-reported engagement in cyber-bullying and traditional bullying from attitudes. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 15, 141-7.

Studies indicate that attitudes predict traditional forms of bullying. Fewer studies have tested this for cyberbullying, in which the harassment is delivered via electronic communication technology. The current study represents the first direct comparison of attitudes toward the two forms of bullying among undergraduates (N=405). It also tested the hypothesis that engagement in traditional and cyberbullying could be predicted from attitudes toward bullying behavior, bullies, and victims. Results indicated that participants held least favorable attitudes toward physical bullying/bullies, more accepting attitudes toward verbal bullying/bullies, and attitudes toward forms of cyberbullying/bullies somewhere in between. Significant sex differences were also obtained; women expressed significantly less accepting attitudes toward bullying behavior and perpetrators, and more accepting attitudes toward victims, across all subtypes of bullying. The hypothesis that attitudes predict bullying behavior received some support. Some similarities and differences emerged for cyber and traditional forms. The implications for future research, theory building, and interventions are discussed.

Boulton, M.J., Hardcastle, K., Down, J. Simmonds, J., & Fowles, J. A. (2014). A comparison of pre-service teachers’ responses to cyber versus traditional bullying scenarios: similarities and differences and implications for practice. Journal of Teacher Education, 65, 145-165

A comparison of pre-service teachers’ responses to cyber versus traditional bullying scenarios: similarities and differences and implications for practice.

Boulton, M.J., Hardcastle, K., Down, J. Simmonds, J., & Fowles, J. A. (2014). A comparison of pre-service teachers’ responses to cyber versus traditional bullying scenarios: similarities and differences and implications for practice. Journal of Teacher Education, 65, 145-165

Prior studies indicate that teachers differ in how they respond to different kinds of traditional bullying, and that their beliefs predict their intervention intentions. The current study provided the first extension of this work into the realm of cyber bullying. Preservice teachers in the United Kingdom (N = 222) were presented with vignettes describing three subtypes of traditional bullying as well as cyber bullying, and the latter was directly compared with the former. Dependent variables were perceived seriousness, ability to cope, empathy, and intentions to intervene. Results showed that responses to cyber bullying were most similar to verbal traditional bullying, but distinct from physical and relational traditional bullying. For cyber bullying, willingness to intervene was significantly predicted from the other three dependent variables (collectively and each one uniquely). No gender differences were observed. The implications of the results concerning how teacher educators could help teachers to deal with cyber bullying were discussed.

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