Date of Award

5-1-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Mullins, Christopher

Abstract

Cyberbullying is a relatively new area of research which has developed over the last decade. Although its popularity has taken off recently, more research is needed to discern cyberbullying behavior. This dissertation seeks to address whether weak commitment to school, deviant peers, and cyberbullying victimization-strain variables can explain cyberbullying offending. In addition, it attempts to explain the mediation effects among weak commitment to school, deviant peers, cyberbullying victimization-strain, and cyberbullying offending variables. Using data from two middle schools in the United States, the findings suggest that weak commitment to school, deviant peers, and cyberbullying victimization-strain variables were able to predict cyberbullying offending. The findings also show that deviant peers and cyberbullying victimization-strain mediated, at least partly, the effect of weak commitment to school on cyberbullying offending. Overall, this dissertation indicates weak to moderate support for the commitment to school concept of social bonding theory and moderate to strong support for both the differential association and strain concepts of social learning and general strain theories. Theory and research implications are discussed.

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