Cyberbullying and Social Location: Do Intersections of Identity Relate to Cyberbullying Involvement?

Felicia R Carey, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The continual increase in cyberbullying within U.S. society necessitates new points of intervention and ways to identify individuals who are at risk for involvement. Limited research suggests that social location, or the multiple group memberships or social categories an individual belongs to that place them in a position of privilege or marginalization within society, is important to predicting cyberbullying involvement. Further research is needed examining social location within the context of cyberbullying to identify specific groups based on social location that may be more at risk for cyberbullying involvement. ^ The goal of this study was examine the association between social location and cyberbullying involvement using data from two nationally representative samples of U.S. adolescents, the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and the 2009-2010 U.S. Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey. Analyses revealed that across these populations, individual aspects of social location were associated with patterns of cyberbullying involvement. Specifically, female, bisexual, lower socioeconomic status (SES), foreign born, and disabled adolescents had higher odds of cyberbullying victimization, while non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adolescents had lower odds. Additionally, males, non-Hispanic black, and disabled adolescents had higher odds of cyberbullying perpetration, while being male, disabled, non-Hispanic black or Hispanic, foreign born, or of a higher weight status was associated with higher odds of being a dual cyberbully-victim. The intersections of aspects of social location that were relevant to cyberbullying behaviors differed depending on how cyberbullying involvement was conceptualized, and whether it considered concurrent victimization and perpetration or concurrent cyber- and traditional bullying behaviors. The intersection of gender and race was important in the context of cyberbullying behaviors when considering concurrent cyber- and traditional bullying behaviors or dual victimization and perpetration. Race was also important in the context of sexual orientation and disability, while nativity was an important factor in the context of disability, SES, and body mass index. Significant variability in cyberbullying was observed at the school level, and school-level aspects of social location and points of intervention were associated with cyberbullying involvement. School-level factors also ameliorated the association between individual-level aspects of social location and cyberbullying behaviors. ^ Implications for cyberbullying interventions and future research emphasize: 1) the utilization of the school environment and the importance of school-level factors in influencing cyberbullying behaviors, 2) the need for further development of cyberbullying specific education, 3) the relevance of the overlap between cyber- and traditional bullying behaviors, and 4) the importance of examining aspects of social location from an intersectional lens in order to identify adolescent populations vulnerable to cyberbullying.^

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Carey, Felicia R, "Cyberbullying and Social Location: Do Intersections of Identity Relate to Cyberbullying Involvement?" (2017). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10273204.