Date of Submission



In a series of four studies, the aim of the current research project was to examine cyberbullying victimisation in adolecents in social networking sites (SNS). The first study investigated adolescent victims’ definition of cyberbullying, the specific types of cyberbullying experienced in SNS and the associated impact . Results showed that participants’ definition of cyberbullying was more complex than had been reported in previously published research. The most referenced criterion was impact on victim. It was also found that 68% of victims reported experiencing a combined emotional, social and behavioural impact for each cyberbullying experience and 12% reported no impact at all. The second study, using a qualitative inductive approach, found a set of strong themes relating to factors that either increased the severity of impact of cyberbullying victimisation or buffered victims against the impact. Themes related to publicity, anonymity of perpetrators, features of the medium, presence of bystanders, and individual-level factors were identified as potential influences upon impact severity. The aim of the third study was to develop and investigate the psychometric properties of a measure of exposure to and impact of cyberbullying victimisation in SNS in adolescents, whilst taking into consideration previous measurement limitations. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in the development and validation of the Social Networking Experiences Questionnaire (SNEQ). Preliminary psychometric analyses showed that the SNEQ was a valid and reliable measurement tool and has multiple uses in research, education and clinical settings. The aim of the fourth study was to explore whether specific online self-presentation behaviours in SNS increase the likelihood of cyberbullying victimisation for adolescents. This study focused on whether information in SNS profiles contributed to risk of being cyberbullied. Using a comprehensive coding scheme, the contents of adolescents’ Facebook pages were numerically recorded and used to predict cyberbullying victimisation. A number of self-presentation behaviours that predicted victimisation were found. It was concluded that the findings need to be integrated into preventative education programs to assist adolescents in decreasing their risk for cyberbullying victimisation.


School of Psychology

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


268 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Health Sciences

Included in

Social Media Commons