La recherche sur la cyberintimidation se concentre principalement sur les enfants et les adolescents. On sait relativement peu de choses sur la cyberintimidation chez les adultes, en particulier sur leur perception de la gravité et de la probabilité d’intervenir dans différents actes de cyberintimidation. Cette recherche présente deux études visant à combler ces lacunes.
Cyberbullying research focuses largely on children and adolescents. Relatively little is known about cyberbullying among adults, particularly their perceived severity and likelihood of intervening in different cyberbullying acts. This research presents two studies that aimed to address these gaps. Utilizing Willard’s (2007) classification, study 1 developed a scale to measure perceived severity of cyberbullying. Principal component analysis of participants’ (n = 389; aged 18–70) severity ratings identified four behavioral groupings: defamation, harassment, pestering, and exclusion. A repeated-measures within-subject ANOVA showed that defamation was rated most severe followed by harassment, and perceived severity was higher among females than males. Study 2 extended this by developing visual cyberbullying scenarios of defamation and harassment, which participants (n = 122; aged 18–64) rated for perceived severity and likelihood of intervening. Participants also completed measures of empathy, moral sensitivity, and moral disengagement to determine whether these variables influenced ratings. Unlike study 1, no significant differences in ratings occurred for defamation and harassment, but multiple regressions showed that moral disengagement predicted lower severity ratings and lower likelihood of intervening in harassment scenarios. Older age also predicted higher likelihood of intervention in online harassment. None of the variables predicted defamation ratings, highlighting the importance of examining different cyberbullying acts in more depth. Cyberbullying is clearly a concern among adults, with 75% witnessing cyberbullying, 29% being a victim, and 15% a perpetrator during adulthood. Understanding adults’ perceptions and intended reactions to different cyberbullying acts has important implications for intervention strategies.