A longitudinal study of the social and emotional predictors and consequences of cyber and traditional bullying victimisation.


Objectives: Few longitudinal studies have investigated how cyberbullying interacts with traditional bullying among young people, who are increasingly using online environments to seek information, entertainment and to socialise. This study aimed to identify the associations between the relative contribution of cyberbullying victimisation and traditional bullying victimisation on social and emotional antecedents and outcomes among adolescents. Methods: Participants were a cohort of 1,504 adolescents from 16 Australian schools followed from age 13 to 15 years. Results: Adolescents experiencing social and emotional difficulties were more likely to be cyberbullied and traditionally bullied, than traditionally bullied only. Those targeted in both ways experienced more harm and stayed away from school more often than those traditionally bullied only. Conclusions: These findings suggest a high coexistence of cyber and traditional bullying behaviours and their antecedents, and higher levels of harm from a combination of these behaviours for adolescents over time. Future research should engage students as co-researchers to enhance school and parent strategies to support adolescents experiencing difficulties, and to reduce the likelihood of both cyber and traditional bullying.