Social Support and Cyberbullying: Implications for Bullying and Victimization

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Ryan BROLL, University of Guelph, Canada
Cullen’s (1994) social support theory posits that supportive environments can mitigate one’s likelihood of engaging in crime or deviance. Contrasting with deficit-based criminological theories, social support theory therefore suggests that real or perceived supportive societies, communities, friendship networks, and families can create positive conditions that make crime or deviance less likely. Most tests of Cullen’s hypothesis have been conducted at the micro level among samples of adolescents, and have found direct effects of social support on both minor and more serious forms of delinquency, aggression, and violence. Generally, however, scholars have not applied social support theory to deviance in cyberspace, including cyberbullying, which is an especially common form of adolescent deviance. Whereas some studies have examined the moderating effect of social support on the well-being of adolescent victims of cyberbullying, little research has considered social support as a factor that may prevent cyberbullying involvement in the first place. In particular, the relationship between peer and family social support and cyberbullying involvement is not well established. Thus, the present study draws upon survey data collected from a sample of middle and high school students to address two research questions: 1) What is the effect of family social support on cyberbullying perpetration and victimization? and 2) What is the effect of peer social support on cyberbullying perpetration and victimization?