The Association Between Cyber Victimization and Subsequent Cyber Aggression: The Moderating Effect of Peer Rejection

Abstract

Adolescents experience various forms of strain in their lives that may contribute jointly to their engagement in cyber aggression. However, little attention has been given to this idea. To address this gap in the literature, the present longitudinal study examined the moderating influence of peer rejection on the relationship between cyber victimization at Time 1 (T1) and subsequent cyber aggression at Time 2 (T2; 6 months later) among 261 (150 girls) 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Our findings indicated that both peer rejection and cyber victimization were related to T2 peer-nominated and self-reported cyber aggression, both relational and verbal, after controlling for gender and T1 cyber aggression. Furthermore, T1 cyber victimization was related more strongly to T2 peer-nominated and self-reported cyber aggression at higher levels of T1 peer rejection. These results extend previous findings regarding the relationship between peer rejection and face-to-face aggressive behaviors to the cyber context. In addition, our findings underscore the importance of utilizing multiple methods, such as peer-nomination and self-report, to assess cyber aggression in a school setting.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Ang, R. P., & Goh, D. H. (2010). Cyberbullying among adolescents: The role of affective and cognitive empathy, and gender. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 41(4), 387–397. doi:10.1007/s10578-010-0176-3.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Badaly, D., Schwartz, D., & Gorman, A. (2012). Social status, perceived social reputations, and perceived dyadic relationships in early adolescence. Social Development, 212(3), 482–500. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2011.00646.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Barnow, S., Lucht, M., & Freyberger, H. (2005). Correlates of aggressive and delinquent conduct problems in adolescence. Aggressive Behavior, 31(1), 24–39. doi:10.1002/ab.20033.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bauman, S. (2010). Cyberbullying in a rural intermediate school: An exploratory study. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 30(6), 803–833. doi:10.1177/0272431609350927.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bellmore, A., Jiang, X., & Juvonen, J. (2010). Utilizing peer nominations in middle school: A longitudinal comparison between complete classroom-based and random list methods. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20(2), 538–550. doi:10.1111/j.153-7795.2010.00640.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Berson, I. R., Berson, M. J., & Ferron, J. (2002). Emerging risks of violence in the digital age: Lessons for educators from an online study of adolescent girls in the United States. Journal of School Violence, 1(2), 51–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Boneva, B., Quinn, A., Kraut, R., Kiesler, S., & Sklovski, I. (2006). Teenage communication in the instant messaging era. In R. Brynin & S. Kiesler (Eds.), Information technology at home (pp. 612–672). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Doyle, A. B., Markiewicz, D., & Bukowski, W. M. (2002). Boyfriends, girlfriends, and same-sex peers: Relations to early adolescents’ emotional, behavioral, and academic adjustment. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 48(1), 77–103. doi:10.1353/mpq.2002.0001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Calvete, E., Orue, I., Estévez, A., Villardón, L., & Padilla, P. (2010). Cyberbullying in adolescents: Modalities and aggressors’ profile. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(5), 1128–1135. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2010.03.017.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Coie, J. D., Lochman, J. E., Terry, R., & Hyman, C. (1992). Predicting early adolescent disorder from childhood aggression and peer rejection. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60(5), 783–792. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.60.5.783.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Crick, N. R., & Grotpeter, J. K. (1995). Relational aggression, gender, and social-psychological adjustment. Child Development, 66(3), 710–722. doi:10.2307/1131945.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Crick, N. R., Grotpeter, J. K., & Bigbee, M. A. (2002). Relationally and physically aggressive children’s intent attributions and feelings of distress for relational and instrumental peer provocations. Child Development, 73(4), 1134–1142. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00462.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Dehue, F., Bolman, C., & Vollink, T. (2008). Cyberbullying: Youngster’s experiences and parental perception. CyberPsychology Behavior & Social Networking, 11(2), 217–232. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.0008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Dempsey, A., Sulkowski, M., Dempsey, J., & Storch, E. (2011). Has cyber technology produced a new group of peer aggressors? CyberPsychology Behavior & Social Networking, 14(5), 297–302. doi:10.1089/cyber.2010.0108.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. DeRosier, M. E., & Mercer, S. H. (2009). Perceived behavioral atypicality as a predictor of social rejection and peer victimization: Implications of emotional adjustment and academic achievement. Psychology in the Schools, 46(4), 375–387. doi:10.1002/pits.20382.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. DeVoe, J., & Murphy, C. (2011). Student reports of bullying and cyber-bullying: Results from the 2009 school crime supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Retrieved from: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011336.

  18. Erdur-Baker, Ö. (2009). Cyberbullying and its correlation to traditional bullying, gender, and frequently and risky usage of internet-mediated communication tools. New Media & Society, 12(1), 109–125. doi:10.1177/1461444809341260.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Espelage, D. L. (2002). Bullying in early adolescence: The role of the peer group. ERIC Digest. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED471912).

  20. Finkelhor, D., Mitchell, K. J., & Wolak, J. (2005). Online victimization: What youth tell us. In S. W. Cooper, R. J. Estes, A. P. Giardino, N. D. Kellogg, & V. I. Vieth (Eds.), Medical, legal, and social science aspects of child sexual exploitation: A comprehensive review of pornography, prostitution, and Internet crimes (Vol. 1, pp. 437–467). St. Louis: GW Medical Publishing, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Fite, P. J., Colder, C. R., Lochman, J. E., & Wells, K. C. (2007). Pathways from proactive and reactive aggression to substance use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21(3), 355–364. doi:10.1037/0893.164X.21.3.355.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Gradinger, P., Strohmeier, D., & Spiel, C. (2009). Traditional bullying and cyberbullying: Identification of risk groups for adjustment problems. Journal of Psychology, 217(4), 205–213. doi:10.1027/0044-3409.217.4.205.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Graham, S., & Juvonen, J. (1998). Self-blame and peer victimization in middle school: An attributional analysis. Developmental Psychology, 34(3), 587–599. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.34.3.587.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Grigg, D. W. (2010). Cyber-aggression: Definition and concept of cyberbullying. Australian Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 20(2), 143–156. doi:10.1375/ajgc.20.2.143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Hanish, L. D., & Guerra, N. G. (2000). Predictors of peer victimization among urban youth. Social Development, 9(4), 521–543. doi:10.1111/1467-9507.00141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Hemphill, S., Kotevski, A., Tollit, M., Smith, R., Herrenkohl, T., Toumbourou, J., et al. (2012). Longitudinal predictors of cyber and traditional bullying perpetration in Australian secondary school students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(1), 59–65. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.11.019.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. (2009). Bullying beyond the schoolyard: Preventing and responding to cyberbullying. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Hodges, E. V. E., & Perry, D. G. (1999). Personal and interpersonal consequences of victimization by peers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(4), 677–685. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.76.4.677.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Ialongo, N. S., Vaden-Kierman, N., & Kellam, S. (1998). Early peer rejection and aggression: Longitudinal relations with adolescent behavior. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 10(2), 199–213. doi:10.1023/B:JODD.0000036976.48023.a6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. i-SAFE America Inc. (2004). Cyber Bullying: Statistics and tips. Stop Bullying Now. Retrieved from http://www.isafe.org/channels/sub.php?ch=op&sub_id=media_cyber_bullying.

  31. Jennings, W., & Komro, K. (2011). A longitudinal examination of the relationship between physical aggression and violent victimization among urban minority Chicago youth and young adults. The Open Family Studies Journal, 4(1), 68–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Jerome, L., & Segal, A. (2003). Bullying by internet. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(7), 751.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Juvonen, J., Nishina, A., & Graham, S. (2001). Self-views and peer perceptions of victim status among early adolescents. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), Peer harassment in school: The plight of the vulnerable and victimized (pp. 105–124). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  34. König, A., Gollwitzer, M., & Steffgen, G. (2010). Cyberbullying as an act of revenge? Australian Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 20(2), 210–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Kowalski, R. M., & Limber, S. P. (2007). Electronic bullying among middle school students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(6), S22–S30. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.08.017.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P., & Agatston, P. W. (2008). Cyber bullying—bullying in the digital age. Hoboken: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Kupersmidt, J. B., & Coie, J. D. (1990). Preadolescent peer status, aggression, and school adjustment as predictors of externalizing problems in adolescence. Child Development, 61(5), 1350–1362. doi:10.2307/1130747.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2010). Social media & mobile internet use among teens and young adults. Retrieved from: http://web.pewinternet.org/~/media/files/reports/2010/pip_social_media_and_young_adults_report_final_with_toplines.pdf.

  39. Li, Q. (2006). Cyberbullying in schools: A research of gender differences. School Psychology International, 27(2), 157–170. doi:10.1177/0143034306064547.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Li, Q. (2008). A cross-cultural comparison of adolescents’ experience related to cyberbullying. Educational Research, 50(3), 223–234. doi:10.1080/00131880802309333.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. London, B., Downey, G., Bonica, C., & Paltin, I. (2007). Social causes and consequences of rejection sensitivity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17(3), 481–506. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2007.00531.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. López, E. E., Olaizola, J. H., Ferrer, B. M., & Ochoa, G. M. (2006). Aggressive and nonaggressive rejected students: An analysis of their differences. Psychology in the Schools, 43(3), 387–400. doi:10.1002/pits.20152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Mesch, G. S. (2009). Parental mediation, online activities, and cyberbullying. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 12(4), 387–393. doi:10.1089/cpb.2009.0068.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Nesdale, D., & Duff, A. (2011). Social identity, peer group rejection, and young children’s reactive, displaced, and proactive aggression. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29(4), 823–841. doi:10.1111/j.2044-835X.2010.02012.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Newcomb, A. F., Bukowski, W. M., & Pattee, L. (1993). Children’s peer relations: A meta-analytic review of popular, rejected, neglected, controversial, and average sociometric status. Psychological Bulletin, 113(1), 99–128. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.113.1.99.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Orobio de Castro, B., Slot, N. W., Bosch, J. D., Koops, W., & Veerman, J. W. (2003). Negative feelings exacerbates hostile attributions of intent in highly aggressive boys. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32(1), 57–66. doi:10.1207/S15374424JCCP3201_06.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Ostrov, J. M. (2008). Forms of aggression and peer victimization during early childhood: A short-term longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36(3), 311–322. doi:10.1007/s10802-007-9179-3.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Parkhurst, J. T., & Asher, S. R. (1992). Peer rejection in middle school: Subgroup differences in behavior, loneliness, and interpersonal concerns. Developmental Psychology, 28(2), 231–241. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.28.2.231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2011). Traditional and nontraditional bullying among youth: A test of general strain theory. Youth & Society, 43(2), 727–751. doi:10.1177/0044118X10366951.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Perry, D. G., Kusel, S. J., & Perry, L. C. (1988). Victims of peer aggression. Developmental Psychology, 24(6), 807–814. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.24.6.1988.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Pettit, G. S., Lansford, J. E., Malone, P. S., Dodge, K. A., & Bates, J. E. (2010). Domain specificity in relationship history, social-information processing, and violent behavior in early adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(2), 190–200. doi:10.1037/a0017991.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Pornari, C. D., & Wood, J. (2010). Peer and cyber aggression in secondary school students: The role of moral disengagement, hostile attribution bias, and outcome expectancies. Aggressive Behavior, 36(2), 81–94. doi:10.1002/ab.20336.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Prinstein, M. J., & La Greca, A. M. (2004). Childhood peer rejection and aggression as predictors of adolescent girls’ externalizing and health risk behaviors: A 6-year longitudinal study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(1), 103–112. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.72.1.103.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Putallaz, M., Grimes, C., Foster, K., Kupersmidt, J., Coie, J., & Dearing, K. (2007). Overt and relational aggression and victimization: Multiple perspectives within the school setting. Journal of School Psychology, 45(5), 523–547. doi:10.1016/jsp.2007.05.003.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Raskauskas, J. (2010). Text-bullying: Associations with traditional bullying and depression among New Zealand adolescents. Journal of School Violence, 9(1), 74–97. doi:10.1080/15388220903185605.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Raskauskas, J., & Stoltz, A. (2007). Involvement in traditional and electronic bullying among adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 43(3), 564–575. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.43.3.564.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Reijntjes, A., Thomaes, S., Kamphuis, J., Bushman, B., de Castro, B., & Teich, M. (2011). Explaining the paradoxical rejection-aggression link: The mediating effects of hostile intent attributions, anger, and decreases in state self-esteem on peer rejection-induced aggression in youth. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(7), 955–963. doi:10.1177/04146167211410247.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Rivers, I., & Noret, N. (2010). Ih8 u: Findings from a five-year study of text and email bullying. British Educational Research Journal, 36(4), 643–671. doi:10.1080/01411920903071918.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Salmivalli, C., & Isaacs, J. (2005). Prospective relations among victimization, rejection, friendlessness, and children’s self- and peer-perceptions. Child Development, 76(6), 1161–1171.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Sanders, J. (2009, August). Cyberbullies: Their motives, characteristics, and types of bullying. Presentation at the XIV. European Conference of Developmental Psychology, Vilnius, Lithuania.

  61. Schad, M. M., Szwedo, D. E., Antonishak, J., Hare, A., & Allen, J. P. (2008). The broader context of relational aggression in adolescent romantic relationships: Predictions from peer pressure and links to psychosocial functioning. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(3), 346–358. doi:10.1007/s10964-007-9226-y.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Schwartz, D., Gorman Hopmeyer, A., Nakamoto, J., & McKay, T. (2006). Popularity, social acceptance and aggression in adolescent peer groups: Links with academic performance and school attendance. Developmental Psychology, 42(6), 1116–1127. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.42.6.1116.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Ševcíková, A., & Šmahel, D. (2009). Online harassment and cyberbullying in the Czech Republic: Comparison across age groups. Journal of Psychology, 217(4), 227–229. doi:10.1027/0044-3409.217.4.227.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Slonje, R., & Smith, P. K. (2008). Cyberbullying: Another main type of bullying? Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 49(2), 147–154. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2007.00611.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Smith, P. K., Mahdavi, J., Carvalho, M., Fisher, S., Russell, S., & Tippett, N. (2008). Cyberbullying: Its nature and impact in secondary school pupils. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(4), 376–385. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01846.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Sontag, L. M., Clemans, K. H., Graber, J. A., & Lyndon, S. T. (2011). Traditional and cyber aggressors and victims: A comparison of psychosocial characteristics. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(4), 392–404. doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9575-9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Soper, D. (2010). Interaction! Unpublished copyrighted software. Retrieved from httpc:www.danielsoper.com.

  68. Vandebosch, H., & van Cleemput, K. (2008). Defining cyberbullying: A qualitative research into the perceptions of youngsters. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 11(4), 499–503. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.0042.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Veenstra, R., Lindenberg, S., Munniksma, A., & Dijkstra, J. (2010). The complex relation between bullying, victimization, acceptance, and rejection: Giving special attention to status, affect, and sex differences. Child Development, 81(2), 480–486. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624-2009.01411.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Vitaro, F., Boivin, M., & Tremblay, R. (2007). Peers and violence: A two-sided developmental perspective. In: D. J. Flannery, Alexander T., & Waldman, D. (Eds.). The Cambridge handbook of violent behavior and aggression (pp. 361–387). New York: Cambridge University Press.

  71. Volling, B. L., MacKinnon-Lewis, C., Rabiner, D., & Baradaran, L. P. (1993). Children’s social competence and sociometric status: Further exploration of aggression, social withdrawal, and peer rejection. Development and Psychopathology, 5(3), 459–483. doi:10.1017/S0954579400004521.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Wallace, L. H., Patchin, J. W., & May, J. D. (2005). Reactions of victimized youth: Strain as an explanation of school delinquency. Western Criminology Review, 6(1), 104–116.

    Google Scholar 

  73. Werner, N. E., & Crick, N. R. (2004). Maladaptive peer relationships and the development of relational and physical aggression during middle childhood. Social Development, 13(4), 495–514. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2004.00280.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Williams, K. R., & Guerra, N. G. (2007). Prevalence and predictors of internet bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(6), S14–S21. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.08.018.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Wright, M. F., & Li, Y. (2012). Kicking the digital dog: A longitudinal investigation of young adults’ victimization and cyber displaced aggression. CyberPsychology Behavior and Social Networking, 15(9), 448–454. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0061.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Ybarra, M. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2004). Online aggressors, victims, and aggressor/victims: A comparison of associated youth characteristics. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(7), 1308–1316. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00328.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Yoon, J. S., Hughes, J. N., Cavell, T. A., & Thompson, B. (2000). Social cognitive differences between aggressive-rejected and aggressive-nonrejected children. Journal of School Psychology, 38(6), 551–570. doi:10.1016/S0022-4405(00)00052-2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author contributions

Michelle F. Wright conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination of the study, performed the statistical analyses, interpreted the data, and drafted and revised the manuscript. Yan Li participated in the design of the study, and helped with manuscript revisions.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Michelle F. Wright or Yan Li.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wright, M.F., Li, Y. The Association Between Cyber Victimization and Subsequent Cyber Aggression: The Moderating Effect of Peer Rejection. J Youth Adolescence 42, 662–674 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-012-9903-3

Download citation

Keywords

  • Longitudinal
  • Cyberbullying
  • Cyber aggression
  • Peer nomination
  • Peer rejection
  • Cyber victimization
  • Adolescent