Emerging Adults' Coping Strategies: Longitudinal Linkages to their Involvement in Cyber Aggression and Cyber Victimization

Emerging Adults' Coping Strategies: Longitudinal Linkages to their Involvement in Cyber Aggression and Cyber Victimization

Michelle F. Wright (Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/ijcbpl.2015040101
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The present study examined coping strategies for cyber victimization among 270 (130 women) emerging adults, and how these strategies related to cyber aggression one year later (Time 2). The most frequently utilized coping strategies among emerging adults were telling one's friends and ignoring the aggressor. The coping strategies of telling no one, getting revenge against the aggressor, pretending it didn't happen, waiting for the aggressor to stop, and crying were related to cyber victimization one year later. Blocking the aggressor and getting revenge against the aggressor were associated with Time 2 cyber aggression perpetration. Tell my friends related negatively to their involvement in cyber aggression. This research has implications for interventions aimed at reducing these behaviors among emerging adults.
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Emerging adulthood, a unique developmental period between the ages of 18 and 25, is characteristic of pursuing individualistic goals, developing more intimate relationships, and engaging in risky behaviors (Arnett, Ramos, & Jensen, 2001). About 95% of emerging adults go online at least once a day, enjoying the benefits of this digital age, including the decreasing costs of computers, and having immediate access to information (Jones & Fox, 2009). The conveniences brought by the digital age also have a darker side including internet addiction (e.g., Wiegman & van Schie, 1998), identity theft (e.g., Copes, Kerby, Huff, & Kane, 2000), and cyber victimization (e.g., Finn, 2004).

Less attention has been given to cyber aggression and cyber victimization (CAV) among emerging adults, with the bulk of this research focused on the experiences of children and adolescents (e.g., Kowalski & Limber, 2007; Pornari & Wood, 2010; Wright & Li, 2013a). However, recent research indicates that emerging adults do engage in and experience cyber aggression (e.g., Dilmac, 2009; Walker, Sockman, & Koehn, 2011; Wright & Li, 2012). It is currently unknown which coping strategies emerging adults utilize to deal with cyber victimization, and how such coping strategies relate to later involvement in CAV. Such investigations are important as coping strategies have a role in the subsequent perpetration and experience of face-to-face aggression as well as psychological adjustment (Chen, Wang, Chen, & Liu, 2002). Therefore, research on emerging adults’ coping strategies for cyber victimization may help to address a gap in the literature on the risk factors associated with CAV. To this end, the present study included two major aims. For the first, emerging adults’ coping strategies were examined in an effort to understand which ones they utilized, and whether there were any gender differences in these strategies. The second aim investigated emerging adults’ coping strategies in relation to CAV, assessed one year later.

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