This project aims to advance knowledge and understanding about how victims cope with cyberbullying and whether these strategies are effective after a longer period of time, for instance years after being cyberbullied. Effectiveness will be evaluated in terms of (1) victimization rates (Is the victim still being bullied?), (2) mental health problems (Does the victim experience mental health problems such as social anxiety, low self-esteem, or anger?), and (3) school/work outcomes and forming close relationships (Has this event empowered the adolescent to do well in school or at work, and has it led to forming close relationships with others?).
These questions will be answered through the use of a combined research method. First, a large quantitative retrospective study will be conducted among 1,500 late adolescents and emerging adults aged 18 to 25. Respondents will be asked via an online survey about their involvement with cyberbullying and traditional bullying victimization in the past ten years, and how they coped with victimization in the past, as well as their current involvement in bullying, mental health problems, school/work life, and relationships. Second, qualitative narrative interviews will be conducted with victims of cyberbullying to further investigate how victims look back at the coping strategies they used and the consequences of being cyberbullied. The retrospective study will be launched in October 2016, whereas the interviews will be conducted in January and February 2017.