From Normative Influence to Social Pressure: How Relevant Others Affect Whether Bystanders Join in Cyberbullying

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Abstract

As cyberbullying is a phenomenon that is inherently social, the normative social influence of significant others can play an important role in the behaviour of adolescents involved in cyberbullying incidents. Using data from 525 adolescent bystanders of cyberbullying, we created a path model in order to investigate whether injunctive and descriptive norms of certain reference groups can cause bystanders to experience social pressure and join in cyberbullying. The results showed that social pressure fully mediated the relationship between the injunctive norm of friends approving of cyberbullying and joining in cyberbullying as a bystander. Furthermore, both the injunctive norm of parents approving of cyberbullying and bystanders’ involvement in cyberbullying perpetration were related to joining in cyberbullying as a bystander.

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