FROM CYBERVICTIMIZATION TO COPING WAYS OF STRESS: GENDER AS MODERATOR
Objectives: Cybervictimization includes being harassed, threatened, or made fun of through e-mail, chat room, instant messaging, web site, or text messaging. Even though cybervictimization is not physically harmful to victims, it is emotionally and psychologically painful and hurtful. Therefore cybervictims use different coping strategies to reduce psychological distress associated with cybervictimization. Coping strategies to some extent may be moderated by gender. However previous research has not addressed moderational role of gender on the link between cybervictimization and coping styles. Hereby, the purpose of the present study is to examine gender’s role as a moderator of the relationships between cybervictimization and coping ways of stress.
Methods: Participants were 202 adolescents (55.9 % were female, 44.1 % were male) enrolled in different high schools in Sakarya, Turkey. Their ages ranged from 15 to 18 and the mean age of the participants was 17 years. The data were collected with Coping Ways of Stress Inventory and Cybervictimization Form of Revised Cyberbullying Inventory. Data were analyzed using SPSS 11.5. In order to examine role of gender as moderator in the cybervictimization and coping ways of stress relationship multiple regression analysis were carried out. Before applying regression analysis, the independent variable and moderator was centralized to avoid multicollinearity through creating an new variable by multiplying gender and cybervictimization. The cybervictimization scores’ means were subtracted from total scores of cybervictimization. Since gender is dichotomous, it was dummy codded as 0=female and 1=male.
Results: According to multiple regression analysis, gender only moderated the effects of cybervictimization on the submissive coping styles, R squared =.048, (R squared change=.031), F (1,198)=6.43, p<.005. The significant interaction of cybervictimization and gender indicated that gender indeed moderate the relationship between cybervictimization and submissiveness coping style that is to say the positive relationship between cybervictimization and submissiveness coping style differed between females and males. The interaction effect showed that the moderator effect was negative (β=-.177, t=-2.536, p<.05) and this means that compared to males, females adopt more submissive orientation in order to cope with cybervictimization.
Conclusions: Unfortunately, this research lacks data to explain why such gender differences exit and future studies are needed. However, in the context of gender in Turkey, some interpretation can be made. Girls have restricted opportunities to learn about and use technology and therefore they do not know how they struggle with cyberbullies who are tech-savvy. Also, aggressive behavior is considered important of masculinity in Turkish culture. Because of this reason, it can be concluded that boys might improve coping strategies with aggression through the medium of socialization which emphasizes aggressive behaviors in them. On the contrary, girls are grown up in social context in which they must be compliant. Therefore they can not learn how they protect themselves against cyberbullies. Furthermore girls accepted unflinchingly victimization rather than asked their parents and teachers for help because they feared the loss of online privileges.