Presentation Type

Poster

Keywords

Cyberbullying; Moral Disengagement; Positive Attitudes; Bullying; Technology

Department

Psychology

Major

Psychology

Abstract

Objective. The current study examined whether (1) higher moral disengagement scores would be positively correlated with higher frequencies of engaging in cyberbullying, (2) positive attitude scores would be positively correlated with higher frequencies of engaging in cyberbullying, and (3) positive attitudes towards cyberbullying would mediate links between moral disengagement and frequency of engaging in cyberbullying.

Method. Three surveys, the Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement Scale (MMD), Cyberbullying Perpetration Measure (CPM), and Positive Attitudes towards Cyberbullying Questionnaire (PATC) were administered to 114 undergraduate students.

Results. Correlational analysis indicated significant positive correlations between PATC and CPM scores (r = .442, p < .01), CPM and MMD scores (r = .199, p < .05) and MMD and PATC scores (r = .591, p < .01). Therefore all preconditions for mediation analysis were met. Several regression analyses were conducted to determine the mediation effects of positive attitudes toward cyberbullying on the relationship between cyberbullying behaviors, moral disengagement, and sex.

  1. Moral disengagement regressed onto cyberbullying behaviors with statistical significance, indicating there was a relationship that could be mediated (R = .246, p < .05)
  2. Moral disengagement also regressed significantly onto positive attitudes toward cyberbullying, establishing a link between the two predictors (R = .596, p < .001).
  3. A large, positive correlation was found between self-reported cyberbullying behavior in college students and the optimal linear combination of predictors (R = .462, p < .001), such that as self-reported cyberbullying behaviors increased, so did positive attitudes towards cyberbullying and moral disengagement.
  4. In the final regression model, moral disengagement was not statistically significant (B = -.041, p = .250), resulting in complete mediation by positive attitudes toward cyberbullying.

Implications. While previous research has shown moral disengagement to be a potential factor in reasons for cyberbullying perpetration behaviors, the current study found that moral disengagement required positive attitudes toward cyberbullying in order to evoke higher rates of cyberbullying. As there is relatively little research examining the relationship between cyberbullying behaviors, moral disengagement, and positive attitudes towards cyberbullying, future research would do well to further investigate these links. Concerning educational bullying prevention and awareness programs, program developers are advised to target attitude change and to include information regarding moral disengagement and its potentially harmful effects.

Faculty Mentor

Cindy Miller-Perrin

Funding Source or Research Program

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative

Location

Waves Cafeteria

Start Date

1-4-2016 2:00 PM

End Date

1-4-2016 3:00 PM

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Apr 1st, 2:00 PM Apr 1st, 3:00 PM

Positive Attitudes as a Mediator Between Moral Disengagement and Cyberbullying Behaviors

Waves Cafeteria

Objective. The current study examined whether (1) higher moral disengagement scores would be positively correlated with higher frequencies of engaging in cyberbullying, (2) positive attitude scores would be positively correlated with higher frequencies of engaging in cyberbullying, and (3) positive attitudes towards cyberbullying would mediate links between moral disengagement and frequency of engaging in cyberbullying.

Method. Three surveys, the Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement Scale (MMD), Cyberbullying Perpetration Measure (CPM), and Positive Attitudes towards Cyberbullying Questionnaire (PATC) were administered to 114 undergraduate students.

Results. Correlational analysis indicated significant positive correlations between PATC and CPM scores (r = .442, p < .01), CPM and MMD scores (r = .199, p < .05) and MMD and PATC scores (r = .591, p < .01). Therefore all preconditions for mediation analysis were met. Several regression analyses were conducted to determine the mediation effects of positive attitudes toward cyberbullying on the relationship between cyberbullying behaviors, moral disengagement, and sex.

  1. Moral disengagement regressed onto cyberbullying behaviors with statistical significance, indicating there was a relationship that could be mediated (R = .246, p < .05)
  2. Moral disengagement also regressed significantly onto positive attitudes toward cyberbullying, establishing a link between the two predictors (R = .596, p < .001).
  3. A large, positive correlation was found between self-reported cyberbullying behavior in college students and the optimal linear combination of predictors (R = .462, p < .001), such that as self-reported cyberbullying behaviors increased, so did positive attitudes towards cyberbullying and moral disengagement.
  4. In the final regression model, moral disengagement was not statistically significant (B = -.041, p = .250), resulting in complete mediation by positive attitudes toward cyberbullying.

Implications. While previous research has shown moral disengagement to be a potential factor in reasons for cyberbullying perpetration behaviors, the current study found that moral disengagement required positive attitudes toward cyberbullying in order to evoke higher rates of cyberbullying. As there is relatively little research examining the relationship between cyberbullying behaviors, moral disengagement, and positive attitudes towards cyberbullying, future research would do well to further investigate these links. Concerning educational bullying prevention and awareness programs, program developers are advised to target attitude change and to include information regarding moral disengagement and its potentially harmful effects.