Egocentrism and cyberbullying: Imaginary audience and personal fable ideation predict cyberbullying and cyber victimisation in adolescents and emerging adults.

Date

2017-09-13

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DOI

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Publisher

British Psychological Society Developmental Section Conference

Type

Conference

Peer reviewed

Abstract

Egocentrism and cyberbullying: Imaginary audience and personal fable ideation predict cyberbullying and cyber victimisation in adolescents and emerging adults. Objectives: The imaginary audience and personal fable, or the egocentric beliefs in being the centre-of-attention and special respectively, are prominent in adolescence and emerging adulthood. The main focus of this research is to determine whether egocentric beliefs are associated with engaging in cyberbullying behaviour or being a victim of cyberbullying. Furthermore, the research also aimed to determine whether cyberbullying and victim behaviour differed according to age. Design: The study employed a cross-sectional questionnaire-based design, investigating whether cyberbullying behaviour or perceived cyber victimisation could be predicted from the imaginary audience, personal fable, and age. Methods: Fifty-two 14-15 year olds (attending school) and fifty 18-25 year olds (attending University) completed questionnaires measuring cyberbullying and cyber victim behaviour, the personal fable, the imaginary audience, and basic demographic information. Results: Multiple regression analysis showed that imaginary audience (β=.355, t(101)=3.97, p<.001), and age (β=.249, t(101)=2.80, p=.006) positively predicted cyberbullying behaviour. Cyber victim behaviour was positively predicted by the imaginary audience (β=.369, t(101)=3.98, p<.001) and negatively predicted by the personal fable (β=-.238, t(101)=-2.57, p=.012). Independent samples t-tests confirmed that emerging adults cyberbullied more than adolescents (t(100)= -2.32, p=.022; emerging adult mean = 6.58, adolescent mean = 4.50). Conclusions: Those higher in imaginary audience reported higher levels of both cyber victim and cyberbullying behaviour, whilst those higher in personal fable reported being a victim of cyberbullying less. Perhaps surprisingly, emerging adults cyber bullied more than adolescents. Aspects of developmental change, specifically egocentric ideation, could have importance to cyberbullying perpetration and victimisation.

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Keywords

Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood, Internet, Cyberbullying

Citation

Rai, R., Smith, E., and Svirydzenka, N. (2017) Egocentrism and cyberbullying: Imaginary audience and personal fable ideation predict cyberbullying and cyber victimisation in adolescents and emerging adults. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Developmental Section Conference, 13-15 September, Stratford-upon-Avon, U.K.

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Research Institute

Institute for Psychological Science
Mary Seacole Research Centre