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Cyberbullying as an Act of Revenge?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2012

Andreas König*
Research Unit INSIDE, Faculty of University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg.
Mario Gollwitzer
Mario Gollwitzer, Fachbereich 04 — Psychologie, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany.
Georges Steffgen
Research Unit INSIDE, Faculty of University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg.
*Address for Correspondence: Andreas König, Université du Luxembourg, FLSHASE, Research Unit INSIDE, Bâtiment XII, Route de Diekirch, L-7720 Walferdange, Luxembourg.


Despite significant overlaps between victim status in traditional forms of bullying and cyberbullying, and qualitative results about self-reported reasons for cyberbullying, the role of revenge and retaliation as a motive to engage in acts of cyberbullying has not yet been examined systematically. As a first step, this study investigates whether and to what extent traditional victims, when they become cyberbullies, actually choose their former (traditional) perpetrators as targets of their own cyberbullying behavior. Furthermore, the impact of individual differences in relevant traits, such as vengefulness and justice sensitivity, on the choice of cybervictims is examined. Data from 473 students were collected via an online survey. Of these, 149 were identified as traditional victims/cyberbullies. Results show that traditionally bullied students indeed tend to choose their former perpetrators as cybervictims, and that individual differences play a role in the choice of their victims. Implications for further research, as well as for interventions and prevention programmes, are discussed.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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