Victims' perceptions of traditional and cyberbullying, and the psychosocial correlates of their victimisation

Marilyn Campbell, Barbara Spears, Phillip Slee, Desmond Butler, Sally Kift

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    253 Citations (Scopus)


    It is well recognised that there are serious correlates for victims of traditional bullying. These have been shown to include increased levels of depression, anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms, in addition to often severe physical harm and even suicide. Bullied students also feel more socially ineffective and have greater interpersonal difficulties, together with higher absenteeism from school and lower academic competence. In the emerging field of cyberbullying many researchers have hypothesised a greater impact and more severe consequences for victims because of the 24/7 nature and the possibility of the wider audience with this form of bullying. However, to date there is scarce empirical evidence to support this. This study sought to compare victims' perceptions of the harshness and impact of bullying by traditional and cyber means. The major findings showed that although students who had been victimised by traditional bullying reported that they felt their bullying was harsher and crueller and had more impact on their lives than those students who had been cyberbullied, the correlates of their mental health revealed that cybervictims reported significantly more social difficulties, and higher levels of anxiety and depression than traditional victims. The implications for school counsellors and mental health workers are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)389-401
    Number of pages13
    JournalEmotional and Behavioural Difficulties
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


    • anxiety
    • bullying
    • cyberbullying
    • depression
    • perceptions
    • students


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