Date of Award
Master of Arts
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Scholars of cybercrime have used social learning theory (SLT) and routine activities theory (RAT) to explain the variation in offending and victimization; however, to date, only RAT has been used to explain the specific behavior of cyberbullying. Therefore, this study combines SLT and RAT concepts to explain the cyberbullying phenomenon. Today's adolescents are exposed early to cyberspace and this has given them more opportunities to bully their peers, especially in an environment that is difficult to monitor by adults. The results from this study of a sample of Southeastern middle and high school students suggest that the opportunity component of RAT explains both cyberbullying victimization and offending, and the differential association component of SLT increases youths' likelihood of offending. Additionally, the findings suggest a correlation between victimization and offending. The results also show that the differential association-opportunity interaction increases the likelihood of offending, but the relationship was not statistically significant.
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