Joseph W. McNabb


Kimberly A. Truong, Maureen Smith

Date of Award


Date Accepted


Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department or Academic Unit

College of Professional Studies, Department of Education


education, educational psychology, educational administration, information technology, bullying, cyberbullying, cyber bullying, electronic bullying, internet harassment, online harassment




In this interpretive phenomenological analysis I explored the lived experiences and the psychological impact of victimization from cyberbullying among college students. Two theories, Bandura's Theory of Triadic Reciprocal Determinism and the General Strain Theory, guided the primary research questions used for this exploration. Each of these frameworks posits that human behavior is influenced by an individual's confrontation with various stimuli. Confrontation with negative stimuli, such as that involving cyber abuse, often results in a various psychological affects among victims that may be detrimental to their overall well-being. Semi-structured interviews were conducted among 4 community college students who reported abuse to school administration at the college selected as the site for this study. Six themes were generated from the analysis of data: 1) repeated instances leading to feelings of vulnerability and fear; 2) distrust of technology and mistrust of people; 3) the value of friends in college and their impact on victim self-esteem; 4) self-control in response to lack of control over cyberbullying instances; 5) feelings of stress, depression, and embarrassment; 6) frustration leading to self-blame. Findings from this exploratory study may be used by college administrators, college counseling and medical staff, and faculty members to increase their awareness of cyber abuse and the detrimental psychological impact it has on student victims. Furthermore these findings support the creation of sensitivity training relating to cyber abuse, with required and recurrent participation among all elements of the higher educational community.

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Rights Information

copyright 2012

Rights Holder

Giacomo Rivituso

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