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      Bullying and Cyberbullying among Italian Adolescents: The Influence of Psychosocial Factors on Violent Behaviours


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          Background: The study of adolescents’ behaviours and attitudes is crucial to define interventions for the containment of deviance and social discomfort. New ways of social interaction are crystallising violent behaviours which are moving more than ever on a virtual sphere. Bullying and cyberbullying share a common behavioural matrix that has been outlined through specific environmental and individual characteristics. Methods: A survey carried out in Italy in 2019 on a statistical sample of 3273 students highlighted the influence of several social and individual variables on deviant phenomena. Risk and protective factors in relation to the probability of involvement in bullying and cyberbullying have been shown through a bivariate analysis and a binary logistic regression model. Results: The study shows that presence of stereotypes and social prejudices, tolerance to violence and high levels of self-esteem have resulted as the main risk factors. On the other hand, low levels of tolerance related to the consumption of alcohol and drugs, high levels of trust towards family and friends and being female have been identified as protective factors. Conclusions: This research confirms the validity of several theories on bullying and cyberbullying phenomena. Furthermore, it identifies specific risk and protective factors and their influence on deviant behaviours, with a focus on environmental characteristics which appear as the key field of work to enhance adolescents’ well-being.

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          Most cited references51

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          Twenty Years' Research on Peer Victimization and Psychosocial Maladjustment: A Meta-analytic Review of Cross-sectional Studies

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            Bullying as a group process: Participant roles and their relations to social status within the group

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              Cyberbullying: another main type of bullying?

              Cyberbullying has recently emerged as a new form of bullying and harassment. 360 adolescents (12-20 years), were surveyed to examine the nature and extent of cyberbullying in Swedish schools. Four categories of cyberbullying (by text message, email, phone call and picture/video clip) were examined in relation to age and gender, perceived impact, telling others, and perception of adults becoming aware of such bullying. There was a significant incidence of cyberbullying in lower secondary schools, less in sixth-form colleges. Gender differences were few. The impact of cyberbullying was perceived as highly negative for picture/video clip bullying. Cybervictims most often chose to either tell their friends or no one at all about the cyberbullying, so adults may not be aware of cyberbullying, and (apart from picture/video clip bullying) this is how it was perceived by pupils. Findings are discussed in relation to similarities and differences between cyberbullying and the more traditional forms of bullying.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                06 February 2021
                February 2021
                : 18
                : 4
                : 1558
                [1 ]Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR-IRPPS), 00185 Rome, Italy; giulia.ciancimino@ 123456irpps.cnr.it (G.C.); loredana.cerbara@ 123456irpps.cnr.it (L.C.)
                [2 ]Department of Social Sciences and Economics, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Roma, Italy; giorgio.giovanelli@ 123456uniroma1.it
                Author notes
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                © 2021 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 20 January 2021
                : 03 February 2021

                Public health
                bullying,cyberbullying,adolescents,social deviance,violent behaviours,psychosocial factors,social conditioning,stereotypes,self-esteem,survey


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