Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 9, pp 1952–1965 | Cite as

Trajectories of Social and Emotional Competencies according to Cyberbullying Roles: A Longitudinal Multilevel Analysis

  • Vítor Alexandre CoelhoEmail author
  • Marta Marchante
Empirical Research


Current cyberbullying literature lacks longitudinal studies clarifying its predictors and consequences. This 1-year longitudinal study investigated how social and emotional competencies develop according to Portuguese middle school students’ involvement in cyberbullying, and whether class size influences this relationship. There were 455 participants (Mage = 12.58; SD = 0.94; 46% girls), and data collection through self-reports took place in three different moments during 12 months. The results showed that students involved in cyberbullying in any role displayed negative trajectories during 1 year in self-control and social awareness, while victims and bully-victims displayed a more pronounced decrease in self-esteem and relationship skills during the same period. Additionally, girls displayed higher initial social awareness levels, while larger classes were associated with higher levels of self-control and responsible decision making. These results supported the importance of conducting longitudinal research and using a multilevel approach to address this topic.


Cyberbullying Social and emotional competencies Middle school Class-level variables 



The authors would like to thank Ana Maria Romão, Patrícia Brás and Vanda Sousa for collecting and organizing the data. We would also like to thank the students who took part in this study. The present study was conducted following the national professional code of ethics for psychologists (OPP), following national legislation.

Authors’ Contributions

VAC conceived the study and its design, drafted the manuscript, performed the statistical analysis and participated in the interpretation of the data; MM drafted the manuscript and participated in the interpretation of the data. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Data Sharing and Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


Project Positive Attitude is funded by Municipality of Torres Vedras.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The current study was approved by the Psychology for Positive Development Research Center.

Informed Consent

All school directors agreed to the implementation of the programs and schools used passive informed parental consent, because the questionnaires were applied as a screening for potential inclusion into a program that is considered part of the school offering.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Académico de Torres VedrasTravessa do Quebra-CostasTorres Vedras 9Portugal

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