Susan M. Swearer
Date of this Version
Myers, Z. R. (2019). Examining the coping resources of polyvictimized youth and young adults (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Bullying represents a significant concern for many youth and young adults in the United States and abroad. However, the growth of technology has allowed for new platforms in which perpetrators can engage in bullying behaviors, such as text and video messaging, social media applications, and online gaming. In addition, research has suggested that the majority of cyberbullied individuals experience co-occurring in-person victimization as well. These trends are concerning, given that findings within both the traditional and cyberbullying literatures place victimized youth at-risk for a host of social and emotional concerns. However, research has yet to fully explore the unique experiences and psychosocial correlates of polyvictimized youth and young adults. Research on traditional and cyberbullying has typically utilized theoretical orientations that consider environmental, relational, and cognitive factors that contribute to the likelihood of involvement in bullying. These same factors should be considered when exploring how youth cope with these experiences. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation study was to further explore the internalizing symptomology associated with various victimization experiences (e.g., cyberbullying only, traditional bullying only, polyvictimization), as well as the potential buffering impact of participants’ perceptions of their coping resources (e.g., coping ability, friend and family support). Results from the current study found that polyvictimized youth and young adults reported experiencing significantly worse anxiety and depressive symptomology when compared to those who were bullied by only one form or did not report experiencing victimization within the last year. Additionally, the current study found that higher perceptions of resilient coping, friend support, and family support predicted less severe internalizing symptomology regardless of victimization experiences. These results suggest that victims of co-occurring forms of bullying are at-risk for severe internalizing symptomology and highlight the need to measure both forms of bullying in future research. In addition, fostering positive appraisals of one’s ability to cope and seek support should be considered important clinical goals, particularly for polyvictims due to their heightened risk of significant anxious and depressive symptoms.
Adviser: Susan M. Swearer