Associations of Traditional and Peer Cyber-Victimization With Adolescents’ Internet Use: A Latent Profile Analysis



Significant overlap exists between traditional victimization and peer cyber-victimization. Yet, they can also be somewhat differentiated. Adopting person-centered approaches, studies showed that multiple classes of peer victimization are distinguishable. In particular, this study analyzed the differences in Internet use, Internet motives and behavior and ethical media use of adolescents who are victimized only (or mainly) online (i.e., “cyber-victims”), their peers who are victimized at school (“traditional victims”), students who are frequently victimized both offline and online (“dual victims”), and students who are not victimized. A sample of 1377 Italian adolescents (49.5% females, age M = 16.13, SD = 1.27) completed self-report questionnaires of traditional and peer cyber-victimization and a variety of Internet-related measures. Latent profile analysis yielded four distinct groups: non-victims (79.6% of the sample), traditional victims (9.2%), cyber-victims (9.1%), and dual victims (2.1%). Among the four groups, dual victims, that is, adolescents who are frequently victimized both at school and online, showed the most problematic use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Dual victims and cyber-victims also reported to engage more frequently than the other groups in a variety of Internet activities (e.g., role-playing games and visiting adult sites). Traditional victims reported more coping and conformity motives for using Internet compared to non-victims and, in the latter case, also to cyber-victims. The current findings may help to better understand the link between traditional victimization and peer cyber-victimization with adolescent’s use of information and communication technologies and may inform prevention and educational programs about positive use of new technologies among adolescents.

Traditional victimization; cyber-victimization; problematic Internet use; Internet use motives; online risks
Author biographies

Gianluca Gini

University of Padova

Professor of developmental psychology at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization

Claudia Marino

University of Padova

Post-doc researcher at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization

Jia-Yan Xie

University of Padova

PhD student at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization

Jan Pfetsch

Technische Universität Berlin

guest professor and the deputy head of the Department of Educational Psychology

Tiziana Pozzoli

University of Padova

Assistant professor at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization

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