Longitudinal relations between early online disinhibition and anonymity perceptions on later cyberbullying perpetration: A theoretical test on youth.

Elucidating the psychological mechanisms involved in predicting cyberbullying perpetration is an important step in creating or modifying intervention efforts to help reduce this harmful behavior. The current study employed a short-term longitudinal design with US youth (average age = 14.34 years) to examine a possible expansion of the Barlett and Gentile Cyberbullying Model (BGCM)—a learning-based social model focused on predicting cyberbullying perpetration from procyberbullying attitudes, anonymity perceptions, and the belief that physical stature is irrelevant online. We tested whether online disinhibition could add more predictive power to this model. Participants (N = 145) completed measures of these aforementioned constructs at baseline and again 6 months later. Results showed that the original derivation of the BGCM was replicated; however, online disinhibition did not predict cyberbullying attitudes longitudinally. This suggests that online disinhibition, although correlated with cyberbullying perpetration, is not likely a learned consequence of continued cyberbullying. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)