The role of self-efficacy in defending cyberbullying victims

Madeleine Clark, Kay Bussey*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Due to the lasting and pervasive effects of cyberbullying on cybervictims, current literature has examined factors which decrease the prevalence of cyberbullying episodes. One factor known to mitigate cyberbullying rates is bystander intervention. However, despite many bystanders witnessing acts of cyberbullying, few bystanders elect to intervene. There is currently minimal literature examining which factors influence bystander intervention and therefore which factors can be targeted in interventions. To address this gap in the literature, the present study examines the role of self-efficacy, specifically defending self-efficacy and empathic self-efficacy and how these beliefs influence defending behavior while controlling for grade, gender and previous experiences of cyberbullying and cybervictimization. To examine these relationships, 540 Australian students aged 11 to 15 years completed a questionnaire assessing cyberbullying behavior and self-efficacy beliefs in the past school term. Results revealed that both defending self-efficacy and empathic self-efficacy were significantly associated with frequency of defending behavior. Specifically, higher rates of defending self-efficacy and higher levels of empathic self-efficacy were associated with higher rates of defending behavior during cyberbullying episodes. Cybervictimization was also significantly associated with higher levels of cyber defending behavior. These results suggest the importance of cyberbullying interventions targeting defending and empathic skills and beliefs in bystanders to increase defending behavior and decrease cyberbullying episodes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number106340
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


    • cyberbullying
    • adolescents
    • cyber defending
    • cyber bystanders
    • empathic self-efficacy
    • defending self-efficacy


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