Advertisement

“Were You Cyberbullied? Let Me Help You.” Studying Adolescents’ Online Peer Support of Cyberbullying Victims Using Thematic Analysis of Online Support Group Fora

  • Sara BastiaensensEmail author
  • Katrien Van Cleemput
  • Heidi Vandebosch
  • Karolien Poels
  • Ann DeSmet
  • Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
Chapter

Abstract

Adolescents often seek and provide peer support as an effective strategy for countering cyberbullying victimization. Little is known about the actual content of such peer support, however, partly due to limitations inherent to survey, interview or focus group research. The current study examined online peer support that had been sought and provided with regard to cyberbullying. It involved thematic analysis of cyberbullying message threads, and stories of benefit and effectiveness, in two online support group fora for adolescents. Applying Tardy’s (1985) social support framework, and including the social support categorisations proposed by House (1981), we found that peer support in this context involved information on coping strategies, and discussion of: (cyber)bullying as a phenomenon; the actors involved; and, the victim’s specific (cyber)bullying situation. In addition, online fora members provided victims with various subtypes of emotional support. Further research is needed on the effectiveness of different types of peer support, particularly regarding the coping strategies that adolescents recommend.

References

  1. Carver, C. S., & Connor-Smith, J. (2010). Personality and coping. Annual Review of Psychology, 61(1), 679–704.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen, L., Ho, S. S., & Lwin, M. O. (2015). Why are people involved in cyberbullying? A meta-analysis of factors predicting cyberbullying perpetration and victimization. In Presented at the 65th Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association. San Juan, Puerto Rico.Google Scholar
  3. Chung, J. E. (2013). Social interaction in online support groups: Preference for online social interaction over offline social interaction. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1408–1414.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.01.019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cross, D., Lester, L., & Barnes, A. (2015). A longitudinal study of the social and emotional predictors and consequences of cyber and traditional bullying victimisation. International Journal of Public Health, 60(2), 207–217.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-015-0655-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dehue, F., Bolman, C., & Völlink, T. (2008). Cyberbullying: Youngsters’ experiences and parental perception. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11(2), 217–223.  https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2007.0008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Demaray, M. K., & Malecki, C. K. (2003). Perceptions of the frequency and importance of social support by students classified as victims, bullies, and bully/victims in an urban middle school. School Psychology Review, 32(3), 471–489.Google Scholar
  7. Gini, G., & Espelage, D. L. (2014). Peer victimization, cyberbullying, and suicide risk in children and adolescents. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 312(5), 545–546.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.3212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Giesbers, J., Verdonck-de Leeuw, I. M., van Zuuren, F. J., Kleverlaan, N., & van der Linden, M. H. (2010). Coping with parental cancer: Web-based peer support in children. Psycho-Oncology, 19(8), 887–892.  https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.1636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gunther, N., DeSmet, A., Jacobs, N., & De Bourdeaudhuij, I. (2015). Comparing associated harm with traditional bullying and cyberbullying. A narrative overview of mental, physical and behavioural negative outcomes. In Cyberbullying: From theory to interventions (pp. 54–76). London (UK): Psychology Press/Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Henderson, E. M., Rosser, B. A., Keogh, E., & Eccleston, C. (2012). Internet sites offering adolescents help with headache, abdominal pain, and dysmenorrhoea: A description of content, quality, and peer interactions. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 37(3), 262–271.  https://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsr100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. House, J. S. (1981). Work stress and social support. Reading, MA (USA): Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  12. Jacobs, N. C. L., Goossens, L., Dehue, F., Völlink, T., & Lechner, L. (2015). Dutch cyberbullying victims’ experiences, perceptions, attitudes and motivations related to (coping with) cyberbullying: Focus group interviews. Societies, 5(1), 43–64.  https://doi.org/10.3390/soc5010043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kozinets, R. V. (2002). The field behind the screen: Using netnography for marketing research in online communities. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 39(1), 61–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Livingstone, S., Haddon, L., Görzig, A., & Olafsson, K. (2011). Risks and safety on the internet: The perspective of European children. Full findings and policy implications from the EU Kids Online survey of 9–16 year olds and their parents in 25 countries. (EU Kids Online, Deliverable D4). London, UK: EU Kids Online Network. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/33731/1/Risks%20and%20safety%20on%20the%20internet%28lsero%29.pdf. Accessed 17 June 2013.
  15. Love, B., Crook, B., Thompson, C. M., Zaitchik, S., Knapp, J., LeFebvre, L., … Rechis, R. (2012). Exploring psychosocial support online: a content analysis of messages in an adolescent and young adult cancer community. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 15(10). http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2012.0138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MacGeorge, E. L., Feng, B., Butler, G. L., & Budarz, S. K. (2004). Understanding advice in supportive interactions. Human Communication Research, 30(1), 42–70.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2004.tb00724.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Machmutow, K., Perren, S., Sticca, F., & Alsaker, F. D. (2012). Peer victimization and depressive symptoms: Can specific coping strategies buffer the negative impact of cybervictimization? Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties, 17(3–4), 403–420.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13632752.2012.704310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Matsunaga, M. (2010). Testing a mediational model of bullied victims’ evaluation of received support and post-bullying adaptation: A Japan-U.S. cross-cultural comparison. Communication Monographs, 77(3), 312–340.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03637751003758235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Matsunaga, M. (2011). Underlying circuits of social support for bullied victims: An appraisal-based perspective on supportive communication and post-bullying adjustment. Human Communication Research, 37(2), 174–206.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2010.01398.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Murray-Harvey, R., Skrzypiec, G., & Slee, P. T. (2012). Effective and ineffective coping with bullying strategies as assessed by informed professionals and their use by victimised students. Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, 22(1), 122–138.  https://doi.org/10.1017/jgc.2012.5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nicholas, D. B., Fellner, K. D., Frank, M., Small, M., Hetherington, R., Slater, R., … Daneman, D. (2012). Evaluation of an online education and support intervention for adolescents with diabetes. Social Work in Health Care, 51(9), 815–827.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00981389.2012.699507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nicholas, D. B., Picone, G., Vigneux, A., McCormick, K., Mantulak, A., McClure, M., … MacCulloch, R. (2009). Evaluation of an online peer support network for adolescents with chronic kidney disease. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 27(1), 23–33.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15228830802462063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Perren, S., Corcoran, L., Cowie, H., Dehue, F., Garcia, D., & McGuckin, C. (2012). Coping with cyberbullying: A systematic literature review. Final report of the COST IS 0801 working group 5 (p. 32). Zürich: Universität Zürich.Google Scholar
  24. Raskauskas, J., & Huynh, A. (2015). The process of coping with cyberbullying: A systematic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2015.05.019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tardy, C. H. (1985). Social support measurement. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13(2), 187–202.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00905728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Walther, J. B., & Boyd, S. (2002). Attraction to computer-mediated social support. In C. A. Lin & D. Atkin (Eds.), Communication technology and society: Audience adoption and uses (pp. 153–188). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. https://www.msu.edu/~jwalther/docs/support.html. Accessed 25 February 2015.
  27. White, M., & Dorman, S. M. (2001). Receiving social support online: implications for health education. Health Education Research, 16(6), 693–707.  https://doi.org/10.1093/her/16.6.693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wright, K. B., Bell, S. B., Wright, K. B., & Bell, S. B. (2003). Health-related support groups on the Internet: Linking empirical findings to social support and computer-mediated communication theory. Journal of Health Psychology, 8(1), 39–54.  https://doi.org/10.1177/135910530300800142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Bastiaensens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katrien Van Cleemput
    • 2
  • Heidi Vandebosch
    • 3
  • Karolien Poels
    • 3
  • Ann DeSmet
    • 4
  • Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
    • 4
  1. 1.Antwerp Management School/University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Karel de Grote University CollegeAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  4. 4.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations