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Comunicar Journal 64: Children, youth and media in the era of smart devices: Risks, threats and opportunities (Vol. 28 - 2020)

Bullying and cyberbullying: Variables that influence university dropout


Ana B. Bernardo

Ellián Tuero

Antonio Cervero

Alejandra Dobarro

Celia Galve-González


The increase in dropout rates in higher education is a phenomenon that has generated a lot of interest because of the need to deal with its economic, personal, and social consequences, and because of its prevalence, estimated around 30% in Spain. There is a similar interest in violent behavior in university classrooms, which has also been seen to have increased in recent years. Given that, and the fact that research has shown personal variables to be more influential in dropout from higher education, the aim of this study is to explore whether those students who are the victims of bullying (both traditional and cyberbullying) are closer to dropping out from their degree courses. To that end, 1,653 first-year students doing various degree courses in the north of Spain were asked to complete a questionnaire. The results of a Bayesian analysis showed that students who were victims of bullying were more likely to consider dropping out than students who were not victims of bullying. In addition, variables related to social integration (support from friends and teachers) exhibited a moderating effect. These findings raise the urgent need to include intervention strategies in relation to bullying in university plans to prevent dropout.


Higher education, university students, intention to drop out, persistence, violence, bullying, cyberbullying, social integration

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