The Development and Validation of the Online Victimization Scale for Adolescents


This article outlines the development and validation of the Online Victimization Scale (OVS). The OVS consists of four subscales capturing individuals’ experiences with online victimization across general, sexual, and racial domains. Online surveys were administered in two studies from 2007-2009 to two diverse groups of adolescents ages 14-19 from high schools in the United States. A confirmatory factor analytic procedure was performed in Study 1 and Study 2, and both sets of analyses supported the hypothesized four-factor model for online victimization. Correlation results showed that online experiences associated with each domain of victimization were related to increased depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and anxiety and decreased self-esteem and satisfaction with life. The OVS is a comprehensive measure of online experiences that may be used in research, clinical and educational settings. Results are consistent with other victimization and discrimination measures that show correlations with poor mental health outcomes.

online victimization; racial discrimination; scale; adolescent; Internet
Author biographies

Brendesha M. Tynes

Author photoBrendesha M. Tynes is an assistant professor of educational psychology and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the role of the Internet in child and adolescent development with special attention to the construction of race, online victimization, the psychosocial and educational benefits of online interaction and Internet safety. She is also interested in African American children’s psychosocial development in school contexts. Tynes received a BA in History from Columbia University, a MA in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Psychological Studies in Education from UCLA. She is co-editor of the Handbook of African American Psychology (2009) and has published articles in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Developmental Psychology, The Black Scholar, the Handbook of Children, Culture and Violence and other books and journals. One of her recent articles was the #1 most-frequently read in the Journal of Adolescent Research. Tynes’ work has also been cited in Newsweek, the New York Times online, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day, the Tennessean and other news outlets in the US and abroad. She is the recipient of a Ford Pre-doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Educational Researchers Association. She has received numerous awards including the Spitze Mather Faculty Award for Excellence in 2008, Diverse Magazine’s Top Emerging Scholars Under 40 and UIUC College of Education Distinguished Scholar in 2010.

Chad A. Rose

Author photoChad A. Rose is an assistant professor of special education in the Department of Language, Literacy and Special Populations at Sam Houston State University. His research focuses on unique predictive and preventative factors associated with the involvement of students with disabilities in the bully dynamic and bully prevention efforts within a multi-tiered framework. Dr. Rose received a BS in elementary education and MS in special education from the University of Saint Francis, and a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has published book chapters and recent articles in Remedial and Special Education and Educational Psychology exploring the interplay between special education identification and bully perpetration and victimization. Dr. Rose was nominated as the HECSE Virtual Intern, William Chandler Bagley Scholar, Albin and Young Scholar in 2009, and he was the recipient of the University of Saint Francis Distinguished Young Alumnus award in 2010.

David R. Williams

Author photoDavid R. Williams, is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University. His prior academic appointments were at Yale University (6 years) and the University of Michigan (14 years). His research has focused on trends and determinants of socioeconomic and racial disparities in health, the effects of racism on health and the ways in which religious involvement can affect health. He is the author of more than 250 scholarly papers in scientific journals and edited collections and he has been ranked as one of the Top 10 Most Cited Researchers in the Social Sciences during the decade, 1995 to 2005. He was also ranked as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences in 2008. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr Williams has also served on seven committees for the Institute of Medicine including the Committee that prepared the Unequal Treatment report. He was a member of the of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health and also served as the staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America.

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