Differences in predictors of traditional and cyber-bullying: a 2-year longitudinal study in Korean school children


Traditional bullying has received considerable research but the emerging phenomenon of cyber-bullying much less so. Our study aims to investigate environmental and psychological factors associated with traditional and cyber-bullying. In a school-based 2-year prospective survey, information was collected on 1,344 children aged 10 including bullying behavior/experience, depression, anxiety, coping strategies, self-esteem, and psychopathology. Parents reported demographic data, general health, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. These were investigated in relation to traditional and cyber-bullying perpetration and victimization at age 12. Male gender and depressive symptoms were associated with all types of bullying behavior and experience. Living with a single parent was associated with perpetration of traditional bullying while higher ADHD symptoms were associated with victimization from this. Lower academic achievement and lower self esteem were associated with cyber-bullying perpetration and victimization, and anxiety symptoms with cyber-bullying perpetration. After adjustment, previous bullying perpetration was associated with victimization from cyber-bullying but not other outcomes. Cyber-bullying has differences in predictors from traditional bullying and intervention programmes need to take these into consideration.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Olweus D (1993) Bullying at schools. What we know and what we can do. Wiley-Blackwell, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Nansel TR, Craig W, Overpeck MD, Saluja G, Ruan WJ, HBSC group (2004) Cross-national consistency in the relationship between bullying behaviors and psychosocial adjustment. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 158:730–746

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Smith PK, Mahdavi J, Carvalho M, Fisher S, Russell S, Tippett N (2008) Cyberbullying: its nature and impact in secondary school pupils. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 49:376–385

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Kowalsaki RM, Limber SP (2007) Electronic bullying among middle school students. J Adolesc Health 41:S22–S30

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Wang J, Nansel TR, Iannotti RJ (2011) Cyber and traditional bullying: differential association with depression. J Adolesc Health 48:415–417

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Juvonen J, Gross EF (2008) Extending the school grounds? Bullying experiences in cyberspace. J Sch Health 78:496–505

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Williams KR, Guerra NG (2007) Prevalence and predictors of internet bullying. J Adolesc Health 41:S14–S21

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Agatston PW, Kowalski R, Limber S (2007) Student perspectives on cyber bullying. J Adolesc Health 41:S59–S60

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Bauer NS, Lozano P, Rivara FP (2007) The effectiveness of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in public middle schools: a controlled trial. J Adolesc Health 40:266–274

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Grossman DC, Neckerman HJ, Koepsell TD, Liu PY, Asher KN, Beland K, Frey K (1997) Effectiveness of a violence prevention curriculum among children in elementary school. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 277(20):1605–1611

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Yang SJ, Kim JM, Kim SW, Shin IS, Yoon JS (2006) Bullying and victimization behaviors in boys and girls at South Korean primary schools. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 45:69–77

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Austin S, Joseph S (1996) Assessment of bully/victim problems in 8 to 11 year-olds. Br J Educ Psychol 66:447–456

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Harter S (1985) The self-perception profile for children: revision of the perceived competence scale for children manual. University of Denver press, Denver

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Lee CJ, Kwak KJ (2000) Self-concept and social support according to bullying types. Kor J Dev Psychol 13:65–80

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Dooley J, Pyzalski J, Cross D (2009) Cyberbullying versus face-to-face bullying. A theoretical and conceptual review. J Psychol 217:182–188

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Kovacs M (1985) The Children’s Depression Inventory. Psychopharmacol Bull 21:995–998

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Cho SC, Lee YS (1990) Development of the Korean form of the Kovacs’ Children’s Depression Inventory. J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc 29:943–956

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Spielberger CD, Gorsuch RL, Lushene RE (1970) Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children. Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Cho SC, Choi JS (1989) Development of the Korean form of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children. Seoul J Psychiatry 14:150–157

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Coopersmith S (1981) Self-esteem inventories. Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Kim KY (1987) Self-esteem and child-rearing attitudes to children’s self-esteem. Graduate School of Home Management. Pusan National University, Pusan

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Halstead M, Johnson SB, Cunningham W (1993) Measuring coping in adolescents: an application of the ways of coping checklist. J Clin Child Psychol 22:337–344

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Kang JJ (2001) Relationship between satisfaction of body image and stress coping style. Graduate School of Psychology. Ehwa Women’s University, Seoul

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Goodman R, Meltzer H, Bailey V (1998) The Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire: a pilot study on the validity of the self-report version. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 9:129–134

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Ahn JS, Jun SK, Han JK, Noh KS, Goodman R (2003) The development of a Korean version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-Kr). J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc 42:141–147

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    So YK, Noh JS, Kim YS, Ko SG, Koh YJ (2002) The reliability and validity of Korean parent and teacher ADHD rating scale. J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc 41:283–289

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Goldberg D, Williams P (1991) A user’s guide to the General Health Questionnaire. NFER-Nelson, Windsor

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Yoon JS, Kook SH, Lee HY, Lee C, Paik IH (2000) The development of a Korean modification of the scale to measure subjective well-being. J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc 39:987–998

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Schafer JL (1997) Analysis of incomplete multivariate data. Chapman and Hall, London

    Book  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    White IR, Royston P, Wood AM (2011) Multiple imputation using chained equations: issues and guidance for practice. Stat Med 30:377–399

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Kim YS, Koh YJ, Leventhal B (2005) School bullying and suicidal risk in Korean middle school students. Pediatrics 115:357–363

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Ybarra ML, Mitchell KJ (2004) Online aggressor/targets, aggressors, and targets: a comparison of associated youth characteristics. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 45:1308–1316

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Raskauskas J, Stoltz AD (2007) Involvement in traditional and electronic bullying among adolescents. Dev Psychol 43:564–575

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Schwartz D, Farver JM, Chang L, Lee-Shin Y (2002) Victimization in South Korean children’s peer groups. J Abnorm Child Psychol 30:113–125

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Woods S, Wolke D (2004) Direct and relational bullying among primary school children and academic achievement. J Sch Psychol 42:135–155

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    McCall RB, Beach SR, Lau S (2000) The nature and correlates of underachievement among elementary school children in Hong Kong. Child Dev 71:785–801

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Bowes L, Arseneault L, Maughan B, Taylor A, Caspi A, Moffitt TE (2009) School, neighbourhood, and family factors are associated with children’s bullying involvement; a nationally representative longitudinal study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 48:545–553

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Hawker DS, Boulton MJ (2000) Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: a meta-analysis review of cross-sectional studies. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 41:441–455

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Pornari CD, Wood J (2010) Peer and cyber aggression in secondary school students: the role of moral disengagement, hostile attribution bias, and outcome expectancies. Aggress Behav 36:81–94

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Wang J, Iannotti RJ, Nansel TR (2009) School bullying among adolescents in the United States: physical, verbal, relational, and cyber. J Adolesc Health 45:368–375

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Perren S, Dooley J, Shaw T, Cross D (2010) Bullying in school and cyberspace: associations with depressive symptoms in Swiss and Australian adolescents. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 4:28

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Kim YS, Leventhal BL, Koh YJ, Hubbard A, Boyce WT (2006) School bullying and youth violence: causes or consequences of psychopathologic behavior? Arch Gen Psychiatry 63:1035–1041

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Hemphill SA, Kotevski A, Herrenkohl TI, Bond L, Kim MJ, Toumbourou JW, Catalano RF (2011) Longitudinal consequences of adolescent bullying perpetration and victimization: a study of students in Victoria, Australia. Crim Behav Ment Health 21:107–116

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Holmberg K, Hjern A (2008) Bullying and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder in 10-year-olds in a Swedish community. Dev Med Child Neurol 50:134–138

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Boulton MJ, Smith PK (1994) Bully/victim problems in middle-school children: stability, self-perceived competence, peer rejection and peer acceptance. Br J Dev Psychol 2:315–329

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Hanish LD, Guerra NG (2002) A longitudinal analysis of patterns of adjustment following peer victimization. Dev Psychopathol 14:69–89

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    Mishna F, Cook C, Gadalla T, Daciuk J, Solomon S (2010) Cyber bullying behaviours among middle and high school students. Am J Orthopsychiatry 80:362–374

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. 48.

    Chosunilbo (2009) Mobile phone in primary school students, Seoul, Korea. http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/08/12/2009081201027.html. Accessed 7 Mar 2012 (available in Korean)

  49. 49.

    Hunt C, Peters L, Rapee RM (2012) Development a measure of the experience of being bullied in youth. Psychol Ass 24:156–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We are very grateful to all the families who participated in this study and the school personnel who supported to work. This work has been funded by a grand of the Korea Health 21 R&D, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (A050047). The Ministry of Health and Welfare had no role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publications. RS is part-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no competing interest to declare.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Su-Jin Yang.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17.1 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yang, SJ., Stewart, R., Kim, JM. et al. Differences in predictors of traditional and cyber-bullying: a 2-year longitudinal study in Korean school children. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 22, 309–318 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-012-0374-6

Download citation


  • Cyber-bullying
  • Bullying
  • Depression
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Longitudinal study