How Daily Strain Leads to Cyber Delinquency: a Focus on the Role of Self-Esteem and Anger

  • Sangwon KimEmail author


Exposure to cyber delinquent behaviors leads to various far-reaching negative consequences in adolescents, which justifies exploring factors that contributes to their involvement in cyber delinquency. This study used General Strain Theory to explain cyber delinquent behavior by hypothesizing that daily strain leads to involvement in cyber delinquency through anger. Additionally, in consideration of previous findings on the relationships among self-esteem with strain, anger, and cyber delinquent behaviors; self-esteem was hypothesized to be mediated in the pathway between strain and cyber delinquent behaviors along with anger. A total of 2844 fourth grade students (46.4% female) from the Korean Youth Panel Survey (KYPS) were used to investigate the hypothesized model. This model showed an appropriate model fit, and specifically displayed that strain had a significant positive association with negative self-esteem, anger, and involvement in cyber delinquent behaviors. In the results, general strain theory in explaining cyber delinquency, was confirmed by revealing the findings that anger was significantly mediated in the pathway between strain and cyber delinquency. In addition, the sequential mediation effect of negative self-esteem and anger in the pathway between strain and cyber delinquency was verified. That is, strain could lead to an increase in negative self-esteem which continues to heighten levels of anger, eventually leading to involvement in cyber delinquency. These findings contribute to advancing our understanding of the mechanism that leads to involvement in cyber delinquency from strain. Practical implications are discussed based on these findings.


Cyber delinquency Korean adolescent General strain theory Negative self-esteem Anger 



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

The research process was approved by Sungkyunkwan University Institutional Review Board (Approval number: SKKU 2019–02-001).

Informed Consent

For this type of study using the secondary data, formal consent is not required.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child Psychology and EducationSungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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