Cyberbullying is a common byproduct of the digital revolution with serious consequences to victims. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of empirically based methods to confront it. This study used social cognitive theory to design and test an intervention message aimed at persuading college students to abstain from retaliation, seek social support, save evidence, and notify authorities—important victim responses identified and recommended in previous research. Using a posttest-only control group design, this study tested the effectiveness of an intervention message in changing college students’ perceived susceptibility to and perceived severity of cyberbullying as well as their self-efficacy, response efficacy, attitudes, and behavioral intentions toward each recommended response in future episodes of cyberbullying. Results indicated that the intervention message caused participants in the experimental condition to report significantly higher susceptibility, but not perceived severity, to cyberbullying than those in the control condition. The intervention message also caused expected changes in all outcomes except self-efficacy for not retaliating and in all outcomes for seeking social support, saving evidence, and notifying an authority. Implications for message design and future research supporting evidence-based anti-cyberbullying health communication campaigns are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences