Exploring the perception, interpretation, and role of humour in cyberbullying from the perspective of adolescents and emerging adults

Steer, O.L. ORCID: 0000-0002-0922-5498, 2022. Exploring the perception, interpretation, and role of humour in cyberbullying from the perspective of adolescents and emerging adults. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Cyberbullying is a pervasive form of online aggression that can lead to considerably negative and harmful consequences. Previous research with adolescents and emerging adults has identified a range of motivations for cyberbullying perpetration. A frequently reported motive to cyberbully others is for humorous entertainment. The overall aim of the research program was to explore the role of humour within cyberbullying from the perspective of young people and emerging adults and to explore the factors which mediate the severity perception of humoristic cyberbullying.

A sequential exploratory mixed methods approach with three studies was employed. Study 1 utilised seven focus groups with 28 adolescents (aged 11-15) to gain insight into the attitudes, understandings, and perspectives of young people concerning the role of humour within cyberbullying. Using Reflexive Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006; 2021), Study 1 identified a number of core factors related to severity perceptions of humoristic cyberbullying, which were incorporated into 96 hypothetical vignettes for experimental studies 2 and 3. Study 2 explored 356 adolescents aged 11-16 (Mean age = 13.24, SD = 1.28) severity perception of online aggressive humour. For the purpose of rigour and exploration of age differences in severity perceptions, Study 3 was designed to replicate the design of Study 2. Study 3 was conducted with an older sample population of 417 participants aged between 16-21 (Mean age = 17.14, SD = 1.11). Additionally, Study 3 incorporated three covariates, cyberbullying victimisation and perpetration experiences and aggressive humour style, which were added to the design with the aim to account for potential confounding effects.

Findings from multilevel modelling indicated that severity perceptions of the humoristic cyberbullying vignettes were influenced by range of factors in Study 2 and 3. Key findings were found to be attributed to gender differences, the influence of repetition and audience and social context across both studies. A final key finding from covariate analysis reported from Study 3 indicated a relationship between aggressive humour style and lower severity perceptions. Aspects of these findings challenge and support the cyberbullying definition, and therefore substantially contribute to the growing body of literature that is building a theoretical framework around cyberbullying. Implication and the prospects of future research leading from the findings of this thesis are expansive and are imperative to the future understanding of the role of humour within cyberbullying behaviours.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Steer, O.L.
Date: October 2022
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 05 May 2023 09:18
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 09:18
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/48879

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