Cyber-Victimization Experience among Higher Education Students: Effects of Social Support, Loneliness, and Self-Efficacy

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Most of the research literature on cyberbullying (CB) has focused on adolescents, but due to their intensive, unsupervised use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT), higher education students are at high risk of being involved in CB. The current study examined the nature of CB among 1004 higher education students. In addition, we explored the relationships between cyber-victimization, social support, loneliness, and self-efficacy. For that purpose, we applied a path analysis model (PA) to explain the effect of each variable on the cyber-victimization experience, expecting that high levels of loneliness and low levels of self-efficacy will predict cyber-victimization, but might be moderated and reduced by high levels of social support. Results revealed that social support moderated the relationships between these socio-emotional variables and cyber-victimization, and might serve as a protective factor. These findings on young adults may contribute to the understanding of the nature of cyber-victimization throughout the life cycle. Nowadays, academic institutions are facing an uphill effort in trying to restrain online misbehavior. In view of the findings, higher education policy could help facilitate coping with CB through student support and focused intervention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7395
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - 16 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • cyber-victimization
  • higher education students
  • loneliness
  • self-efficacy
  • social support
  • Bullying
  • Self Efficacy
  • Humans
  • Social Support
  • Crime Victims/psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Loneliness
  • Students/psychology
  • Cyberbullying/psychology


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