An exploration of cyberstalking victimisation and the subsequent coping strategies young people use

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Portsmouth

In Collaboration With

Hampshire Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC)

Principal Researcher

Megan Walker

Level of Research

Masters

Project Start Date

March 2021

Research Context

Research has shown that cyberstalking has lasting psychological, social, and physical effects on victims (Fissel and Reyns, 2019; Worsley et al, 2017; Short et al, 2015) . Varying coping strategies used by victims to deal with cyberstalking have been noted within the literature (Begotti et al 2019; Begotti et al, 2020; Worsley et al, 2017; Nobles et al,2014; Tokunaga et al, 2017), however, a distinct majority of this research has focussed on an adult/young adult student population. A recent literature review has suggested there are three distinct forms of coping strategies victims of cyberstalking use: avoidance or ignorance strategies, confrontation strategies, and support seeking strategies (Kaur et al, 2021). Minimal research has focussed on the victimisation of individuals under the age of 18 and the types of coping strategies this population utilise to deal with cyberstalking.

This research will explore the prevalence of cyberstalking (unwanted, persistent and directed behaviour online) victimisation of young people aged 16-25 in Hampshire, and the coping strategies this population adopt in order to deal with this behaviour. Furthermore, correlational analyses will explore the relationship between reported victimisation, and key sociodemographic factors including age, gender identification, education level, and employment status; in addition to social media usage factors including social media engagement levels.

Research Questions:

  1. What is the prevalence of cyberstalking victimisation in a sample of young people resident in Hampshire, UK? 
  2. What is the relationship between cyberstalking victimisation and key demographic variables, including age, gender, ethnicity and education? 
  3. What types of coping strategies do those young people self-reporting cyberstalking victimisation utilise? 
  4. What is the relationship between coping strategies endorsed and key demographic variables, including age, gender, ethnicity and education? 
  5. What is the relationship between cyberstalking victimisation and social media usage variables?
  6. What is the relationship between coping strategies endorsed and social media usage variables?

Research Methodology

‚ÄčA cross-sectional correlational research design will be conducted to address the research questions. The study consists of an online questionnaire focussing on demographic information; social media site engagement; persistent, unwanted, and directed behaviour online measurement scale; and the Brief COPE scale.

Date due for completion

October 2021
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