Undergraduate Honours Theses
Although research on the impact cyber dating abuse (CDA) has on individuals’ psychological well-being is beginning to grow, little is known about its relation to self-esteem. This study examined the bidirectional relationship of CDA victimization and self-esteem in adolescents using a longitudinal design. Participants were 28 adolescents (71% female, 25% male, 4% transgender) ranging in age from 14 to 18 years (M = 15.89, SD = 1.29) who had been in a romantic relationship for at least one month. Participants completed self-report assessments of CDA victimization and self-esteem 3 months apart. It was hypothesized that a reciprocal relationship would emerge between self-esteem and CDA victimization, in which individuals with lower self-esteem at Time 1 would experience increased CDA from Time 1 to Time 2, and individuals who experienced more cyber dating abuse at Time 1 would show decreases in self-esteem from Time 1 to Time 2. Electronic intrusiveness and direct aggression, two subscales of CDA, were also examined individually. A series of linear regressions revealed that lower Time 1 self-esteem predicted an increase in direct aggression victimization from Time 1 to Time 2; however lower self-esteem at Time 1 was not found to be a significant predictor of increased electronic intrusiveness victimization at Time 2. Further, the reverse relations, with CDA victimization predicting self-esteem were not significant. These findings suggest adolescents low in self-esteem may be at increased risk for online direct aggression victimization. Implications, results for adolescents’ well-being, as well as prevention, intervention, and future directions are discussed.
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