Cyber Aggression and Victimization among Emerging Adults: The Associated Adjustment Difficulties

Cyber Aggression and Victimization among Emerging Adults: The Associated Adjustment Difficulties

Michelle F. Wright (Masaryk University, Czech Republic)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1856-3.ch016
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Abstract

This chapter describes a study with the objective to examine cyber aggression involvement among emerging adults across technologies and relationships. Another purpose was to investigate the bidirectional associations between emerging adults' cyber aggression involvement and adjustment difficulties over four years. Participants were 1,483 emerging adults (Mage = 24.67; 60% female) from Southeastern universities in the United States. Emerging adults completed questionnaires on their cyber aggression involvement and adjustment difficulties. The most frequently utilized digital technologies and tool to harm others were text messages. Ex-friends were frequently involved in cyber aggression. Cyber aggression involvement predicted all adjustment difficulties across four years and all adjustment difficulties predicted cyber aggression involvement, suggesting bidirectional relationships among these variables. There were magnitude differences such that the bidirectional relationships were stronger when predicting all adjustment difficulties from cyber aggression and cyber victimization.
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Background

Definition of Emerging Adulthood

More and more high school students plan to attend college nowadays, delaying their plans for marriage and families (Badger, Nelson, & Barry, 2006). Consequently, many people in college do not consider themselves to be adults. Coalescing together, these factors have created a unique developmental period, often referred to as “emerging adulthood” (Arnett, 2000). Emerging adulthood is characterized by an increased level of exploration and instability until one reaches their mid to late twenties, before taking on adult roles and responsibilities. Other characteristics of emerging adulthood include pursuing personal goals (e.g., traveling, school), creating an identity that is influenced by work, school, or interpersonal relationships, becoming involved in intimate relationships, and engaging in risky behaviors, such as using illegal drugs or driving while drunk (Arnett & Jensen, 2002; Nelson & Barry, 2005). Given these characteristics, many researchers consider emerging adulthood a unique developmental period, separate from adolescence and adulthood.

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