Cyberbullying: Social Competence, Motivation and Peer Relationships




Adolescence, social competence, risk behaviors, educational context, research, social motivation, popularity, social relationships


The recognition of some overlap between face to face harassment (bullying) and via digital harassment (cyberbullying) could indicate that variables of social cognition, whose influence has been identified in bullying, also are present in cyberbullying. The aim of this research was to determine the social adjustment of roles involved in cyberbullying and to analyze the differences in the perception of social competence, social goals and peer support, between victims, aggressors and bully-victims of cyberbullying. A number of 505 teenagers (47.3% girls) between 12 and 16 years old (M=13.95, SD=1.42) participated in the study. Validated instruments for Spanish teenagers were used and psychometric properties for the adaptation of the scale of social competence were analyzed. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis showed optimal scores of reliability and validity. The cyber-bullying victims showed greater involvement in cyberbullying. Comparisons between roles with nonparametric tests showed that cyberbullies had the highest levels of peer support and popularity social goals. Cybervictims were highlighted by a high perception of social competence. Cyberbully-victims were described by their high popularity goals and low peer acceptance. These results support the conclusion that the way in which the peer group manages its emotional and social life may be explaining the situation of cyberbullying among teenagers..