Was that (cyber)bullying? Investigating the operational definitions of bullying and cyberbullying from adolescents’ perspective

Translated title of the contribution: Definición operativa de bullying y cyberbullying desde la perspectiva de los adolescentes

Damiano Menin, Annalisa Guarini, Consuelo Mameli, Grace Skrzypiec, Antonella Brighi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Background/Objective: Despite the great interest that bullying and cyberbullying have received during the last decades, the problem of defining these phenomena is still debated. Recently, this discussion has also been articulated in terms of how young people who are directly involved in bullying and cyberbullying understand these notions. This study aimed at investigating the operational definitions of both bullying and cyberbullying provided by adolescent victims and perpetrators, by inquiring the weight of traditional criteria (i.e., frequency, deliberateness, imbalance of power, and harm) as well as dominance in the perception of these phenomena.

Method: A total of 899 students aged between 11 and 16 years filled out the Student Aggression and Victimisation Questionnaire.

Results: Common traits and differences between the operational definition of bullying and cyberbullying and between the perspectives of victims and perpetrators of aggression were found. The most relevant criterion for the perception of both these phenomena was clearly the presence of dominance. By contrast, the imbalance of power showed no significant relationship with the perception of being bullied or bullying others both offline and online.

Conclusions: Findings emphasise that young people conceptualise bullying with a clear reference to relational and group processes, rather than to individual differences.

Translated title of the contributionDefinición operativa de bullying y cyberbullying desde la perspectiva de los adolescentes
Original languageAmerican English
Article number100221
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Bullying
  • Cyberbullying
  • Definition
  • Descriptive survey study


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