Reducing Cyberbullying: A Theory of Reasoned Action-Based Video Prevention Program for College Students

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Abstract

Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of cyberbullying prevention/intervention programs. The goals of the present study were to develop a Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)-based video program to increase cyberbullying knowledge (1) and empathy toward cyberbullying victims (2), reduce favorable attitudes toward cyberbullying (3), decrease positive injunctive (4) and descriptive norms about cyberbullying (5), and reduce cyberbullying intentions (6) and cyberbullying behavior (7). One hundred sixty-seven college students were randomly assigned to an online video cyberbullying prevention program or an assessment-only control group. Immediately following the program, attitudes and injunctive norms for all four types of cyberbullying behavior (i.e., unwanted contact, malice, deception, and public humiliation), descriptive norms for malice and public humiliation, empathy toward victims of malice and deception, and cyberbullying knowledge significantly improved in the experimental group. At one-month follow-up, malice and public humiliation behavior, favorable attitudes toward unwanted contact, deception, and public humiliation, and injunctive norms for public humiliation were significantly lower in the experimental than the control group. Cyberbullying knowledge was significantly higher in the experimental than the control group. These findings demonstrate a brief cyberbullying video is capable of improving, at one-month follow-up, cyberbullying knowledge, cyberbullying perpetration behavior, and TRA constructs known to predict cyberbullying perpetration. Considering the low cost and ease with which a video-based prevention/intervention program can be delivered, this type of approach should be considered to reduce cyberbullying. Aggr. Behav. 42:136–146, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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