What roles matter? An explorative study on bullying and cyberbullying by using the eye-tracker

Laura Menabò, Grace Skrzypiec, Phillip Slee, Annalisa Guarini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Bullying and cyberbullying are serious public health concerns that involve more roles beyond the bully and the victim (pro-bullies, defenders, bystanders). However, students often perceive the phenomena as dyadic. 

Aim: The purpose was to examine students' perceptions of different roles when observing bullying and cyberbullying scenes combining implicit (attention by using the eye-tracker) and explicit (verbal reports) measures. 

Sample: We included 50 Italian students (aged 10–11). 

Methods: Students watched 12 drawings of different types of bullying and cyberbullying while their gaze was tracked, and subsequently described each drawing verbally. We ran repeated measure ANOVAs to compare attentional indexes (fixation count, visit count and total fixation duration) in observing roles and Cochran's Q test to evaluate differences in the verbal identification of roles.

Results: Overall, the victim and bully were the most observed and identified roles in every type of bullying and cyberbullying scenario. Concerning the other roles, a discrepancy was observed between the implicit and explicit measures since although it was greatly identified, the pro-bully received less attention, and while the bystander received great attention, it was mentioned less. Finally, the defender was more observed and identified in physical bullying and cyberbullying.

Conclusions: Our study points out for the first time the dyadic perception of the phenomena among adolescents using implicit and explicit measures and sheds light on differences among the roles in different forms of bullying. Further research including the eye-tracker would be worthwhile given the possibility of exploring the phenomena from different perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12604
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Early online date26 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Apr 2023


  • bullying
  • cyberbullying
  • eye-tracking
  • roles
  • school


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