Empathy, Emotional-Behavioral Problems and Cyber Bullying Among Young Adults


The Relationship Between Empathy, Emotional-Behavioral Problems and Cyber Bullying Among Young Adults


The graceful blessings of Almighty Allah guided me to yield the prosperous success and bestow me the courage to visage the hurdles and obstacles that enable me to accomplish this research work.

The exceptional gratitude goes to my lofty supervisor, whose guidance, support and help was with me in the stormy night like a fire fly, and I complete the stages of the study in a true sense.

I am grateful to my co-supervisor , whose deep sea of knowledge whenever expounded guided the hidden secrets of reliable success in research work.

Special appreciation and thank goes to the authors who granted me the permission to use their tools for my research study.

I am also thankful to the entire participants who participated in the study and gave me their precious time and information in this study.

Core appreciation and gratitude is for my whole family who gave me their extreme support and always prayed for me to be successful in my every goal. My mother and brothers remains a constant encouragement throughout this project for me.

I would love to thank my all seniors and my class fellows who helped me. They have put their best efforts in helping me for accomplishing my thesis successfully.

Finally, I can’t forget the library and computer laboratory staff of the Institute of Applied Psychology for their full cooperation and help in the acquisition of my goal.

List of Content

TitlePage no.
List of ContentsIv
List of TablesVii
List of AppendicesViii
Chapter I 
                        1.1 Cyber Bullying2
                        1.2 Empathy6
                        1.3 Emotional-Behavioral Problems11
            Literature Review14
                        1.4 Cyber Bullying14
                        1.5 Empathy17
                        1.6 Emotional-Behavioral Problems18
                        1.7 Relation Among Study Variables19
                        1.8 Indigenous Researches22
                        1.9 Summary of Literature Review22
                        1.10 Rational of the Study23
                        1.11 Objectives24
                        1.12 Hypothesis24
Chapter II
                        2.1 Research Design25
                        2.2 Sample25
                        2.3 Inclusion/ Exclusion Criteria25
                        2.4 Operational Definition26
                                    2.4.1 Empathy26
                                    2.4.2 Cyber Bullying27
                                    2.4.3 Emotional-Behavioral Problems27
                        2.5 Assessment Measures27
                                    2.5 1 The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire27
                                    2.5.2 Scale of Cyber Bullying28
                                    2.5.3 Emotional-Behavioral Problems28
                                       Aggression Questionnaire29
                                    2.5.4 Demographic Questionnaire30
                        2.6 Translation of Two Measures for Data Collection30
                                    2.6.1 Step 1: Forward Translation30
                                    2.6.2 Step 2: Evaluation of Translated Items30
                                    2.6.3 Step3: Backward Translation31
                                    2.6.4 Step4: Evaluation Of Backward Translation31
                                    2.6.5 Step5: Try out31
                        2.7 Procedure32
                        2.8 Ethical Considerations32
                        2.9Proposed Statistical Analysis33
Chapter III
                        3.1 Reliability Analysis34
                        3.2 Additional Analysis36
                        3.7 Summary of Findings42
Chapter IV
                        4.1 Conclusions48
                        4.2 Limitations48
                        4.3 Suggestions49
                        4.4 Implications49

List of Tables

ListPage no.
Table 2.3Demographic Characteristics of Young Adults (N=150).25
Table 3.1Cronbach’s Alpha and Descriptive Statistics of study variables for Young Adults (N=150).34
Table 3.2Correlation between Empathy, Emotional-behavioral Problems and Cyber Bullying among Young Adults (N=150).36
Table 3.3Hierarchical Regression Analysis predicting Cyber Bullying on Empathy, Emotional-Behavioral Problems in young adults (N=150).37
Table 3.4Gender wise differences comparing Empathy, Emotional-behavioral problems and Cyber bullying between Men and Women (N=150.40
Table 3.5One way ANOVA for Sample Type and Study Variables (N=150).41
Table 3.6One way ANOVA for Sample Type and Study Variables (N=150).41

List of Appendices

Appendix APermission Letter from Authors
Appendix BPermission Letter from Institutes
Appendix CConsent Form
Appendix DDemographic Sheet
Appendix EAssessment Scales

List of Abbreviations and Symbols

  • N                                             Sample size
  • M                                             Average arithmetic mean
  • SD                                           Standard deviation
  • α                                               Cronbach’s alpha
  • f                                               Frequency
  • %                                             Percentage
  • p                                              Significance
  • r                                               Correlation
  • df                                             Degrees of freedom
  • LL                                            Lower Limit
  • UL                                           Upper Limit
  • CI                                            Confidence Interval
  • SCB                                        Scale of Cyber bullying
  • AQ                                          Aggression Questionnaire
  • Eta2                                         Eta Square


The aim of the present research was to investigate the relationship between empathy, emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying among young adults. It was hypothesized that lack of empathy and emotional-behavioral problems were related to the cyber bullying. Purposive Sample of 150 young adults including 78 men and 72 women with age range 18-25 was drawn from three sites that were colleges, universities and net cafés. Assessment measures were Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ; Spreng, 2009),Cyber Bullying Scale (CBS; Cetin &Yaman, 2011). For emotional problems Depression, Anxiety and Stress 21 (DASS21; Gomez, 2012) and for behavioral problems Aggression Questionnaire (AQ; Buss & Wareen, 2000) was used. Pearson Product Moment Correlation was carried out in order to assess relationship between empathy, emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying and results shows that there is a significant inverse relationship between empathy and cyber bullying, further there is a significant positive relationship between emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying. Multiple Hierarchical regression analysis was used for the prediction of cyber bullying with the help of empathy and emotional-behavioral problem and it was revealed from the results that lack of empathy and emotional problems were significant predictors of cyber bullying behavior. Independent sample t-test was also carried out for exploring gender differences which gave significant difference between men and women. One way ANOVA results revealed that all the three groups including young adults from universities, colleges and net cafes perform significantly different on all study variables. And mean scores shows cyber bulling and aggression were higher in public. Findings from the results were discussed in the light of previous literature. Implications were also made.

Key words: Empathy, emotional- behavioral problems, cyber bullying, young adults

Chapter I


An online aggressive behavior in a digital space is called cyber bullying, and it is as damaging as other conventional aggression can cause harm (Michel & Heirman, 2011). Stalking, spreading mean messages, rumors and threats online are the part of cyber bullying (Schwartz, 2013). National Crime Prevention Council (2013), defined cyber bullying as an action of torment, threatening, harassment, humiliation and to embarrass others by using internet and advanced digital technologies.

The present research aims to investigate the relationship between empathy, emotional and behavioral problems and cyber bullying among young adults.

Double-edged nature of modern technology is continuously balancing between risks and benefits. Modern technology is evolving rapidly, and serious social problem “cyber bullying” is an evidence of this fact (Kowalski, Susan & Agatston, 2010).

Because predecessors had already narrate effects of bullying and cyber bullying, electronic harassment and threats, victimization and consequences as suicidal ideation, emotional and psychological distress, anxiety, fear, depression and low self-esteem  in details; a palpable remark “why”, leads this study to see the initiative steps of cyber bullying.

It is obvious that every action has a reaction, so this study is a minor first attempt to see the behavioral pattern, nature and temperament of those people who do bully by cyber technology and harm the self esteem, trust, ego, conscience of people with no guilt. On the other hand it will help raising awareness to disadvantages of cyber world as online harassment, violation of privacy, security threats, exposure to illicit images and porn, flaming, denigration, stalking etc (Jaffer &Brazeau, 2012). More than 50% of our Pakistani society is not yet fully aware like foreign countries unless when they became the target of the bullies. In our country literacy rate of modern technological devices is high in upper class, or the people who are running such sort of business and profession who deals with these devices known them well. Other people, who don’t have an adequate knowledge, became target of the literate ones. Cyber bullies are typically from upper class (Menesini & Spiel, 2012).

This research will prick the conscious to be fully aware of the ways to be targeted by the cyber bullies during leading hours on social networking sites, face book and while using any electronic device as cell phone. Another aim of the study is to make people aware of how we act and behave to social networking sites. And this study will also aid to detect the behavior patterns of bullies to be aware of their harmful actions. The main feature of investigation of the study is to see the moral aspect i.e. empathy and emotional and behavioral problems with the bullies; In short whether sensitiveness exists in them or is ruined by the charm to hurt others.

Cyber Bullying

Youngsters utilize technology; emerged by current development to exhibit bullying behaviors via electronic devices is a new form of bullying called “cyber bullying” (Ayas & Horzum, 2010). It is a malicious and repetitive use of information by an individual to threaten others by sending threatening messages to a victim. I t is a bullying exhibited through electronic communication devices, and it can be described as a form of social aggression.

Cyber bullying includes repeated threats, attacks, defamation, distress and harassment towards the target. Minority groups mostly targeted by the bullies have different race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, physical ability and features, intellectual ability, social status and personality as compared to the bully (Kowalski, 2012). Cyber bullying has different types like harassment, flaming, impersonation, denigration, exclusion, tricking, outing, cyber-threats and cyber-stalking (Willard, 2007).

Bullies are usually impulsive, dominant, hot-tempered, and physically strong and feel little or no responsibility for their notorious actions, easily frustrated, anti-social, and unable to understand emotional experiences of others (Willard, 2007). They kept a positive attitude towards violence. They may have a psychiatric disorder contributing to aggressive behavior like for example: antisocial personality disorder, attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (Willard, 2007).

Trolley (2010) defined cyber bullying as being involved in using information and communication technologies like cell-phones, e-mail, page text messages, online personal web sites, internet to repeat the hostile behavior which is intended to harm others. It is also known as “online social cruelty” or “electronic bullying”. It is a repeated herm infliction through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices (Hinduja and Patchin, 2009). It occurs between minors as explained by Aftab (2006).

Bullying can be defined as aggressive behaviors which are repeated in which imbalance of power between parties is involved (Kowalski & Limber, 2007). Cyber bullying is defined as using technology aggressively to inflict harm to others through the use of text and picture messaging on phones, web sites, chat rooms, instant messages. (Erb, 2008).

Social Learning Theory by (Bandura, 1970) is efficient to explain and recognize the nature of the bully. It focuses on the behavioral aspects the cues and cognitive processes which emerges shortly afterwards. His explanation of modeling and observational learning is very important in the context to understand the phenomena of cognition of the cyber bully (Slavin, 2003).

Bullying is a result of model learning, people observe reinforcement and learn how it is done’ who can be the victim. If no negative consequences were found to bully’s behavior than observer finds no consequences to bullying others (Skaalvik&Skalvik, 2008).

Rigby (2004) suggested socio cultural theory that bullying as the consequences of power differences towards social groups. He portrays his notion by identifying five different theoretical perspectives as 1) Bullying results from individual differences; 2) bullying is a developmental process; 3) it is a socio-cultural phenomenon; 4) bullying is a response to peer pressure; 5) bullying from the restorative justice perspective.

There are three criteria’s as explained by (Rigby, 2008) which if done fulfills the demand to ensure bullying is happening. 1) An intention of psychological and physical behavior, 2) repetition over time; 3) and imbalance of power between bully and the victim. As a whole bully use imbalanced power with intentional acts and repeats his behavior overtime.

According to Rigby (2008) when bullies describe their behavior they respond as: they annoy me, to get fun, to get even, just for fun, I bullied because the people are wimps, and others were doing it too, to get things or money from people, to show how tough I am and so on. He further through light on the effects of cyber bullying which includes increased level of anxiety, depression, loss of self-esteem, increased psychosomatic symptoms like headache, deterioration in physical health, mouth sore, suicidal ideation, feeling of alienation etc.

Cyber bullying is not usually being deal in one time yet it is a repetition of the acts which provoke mental agony and distress like instant messages. It has many forms: when is done by some teen to smear name, degrading on My space and Face book to create damage is cyber bullying while when adults get involvement it becomes cyber stalking and cyber harassment (Myers, 2010). It is an online harassment which includes the use of computer, tablet and smart phones. This result to demonstrate the power and strength to the inferior to fulfill commands (Danielle, 2012).

Bullying begins when one is dominating with having an antiquate power and the victim is relatively vulnerable and weak. Powerful decides to target the potential victims. Evidence of bullying is successfully done is seen when victim shows signs of being upset and disturbed. Bully continues without having any empathy towards victim and lasts at elaborate harassment (Rigby, 2002).

According to Federal Government U.S. (2013), cyber bullying is more mental torturing and different from the bullying which includes physical empowerment. As it can happen twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week anytime whether night or day and whether  person is alone or in gathering.

Anonymous posted messages and pictures can quickly be distributed in no time but the repair for this damage is prolonged or sometimes ends up with the life. Example of cyber bullying includes rumors, mean emails and text messages, embarrassing pictures, videos, fake profiles and websites etc.

According to the research of Aricak (2009), hostility, psychoticism, interpersonal sensitivity, phobic anxiety and somatization are significant predictors of cyber bullying. Strom and Strom define cyber bullying as an electronic form of peer harassment (2005).

Because of repetitive extensive harmful behavior and the resulting consequences cyber bullying is now considered as a mental and public issue (David- Ferdon& Hertz, 2007).

The crime is linked with the behavioral and psychosocial maladjustments as anger, aggression, and revenge with rule-breaking behaviors (Patchin & Hinduja, 2006; Ybarra & Mitchell, 2007).

People who misrepresent themselves on social media websites have not developed social skills, have lower level of self-esteem, and include social anxiety and aggression Harman, et al. (2005).

Anonymous interaction on internet reflects user’s lower self awareness. And this instigates the bully to react oppositely as aggressively, impulsively towards others (McKenna &Bargh, 2000). Past researches reveal out the relationship between bullying behavior and mental health problems like anger, psychosis and aggressive behavioral problems (Campbell & Morrison, 2007).


            The term empathy originated from Einfuhlung which literally means ‘feeling into’, a process of inner imitation, we experience other’s feelings as our own because we project our own sentiments onto the other.

To translate this word Edward Tichener introduced the English term (empathy) in 1909. Concept of empathy was first introduced in clinical psychology and Psychoanalysis (Bohart& Greenberg, 1997; Clark, 2007).

According to Freud empathy is important in the Analysis of Ego (Clark, 2007). Empathy is explained differently as an effective response more appropriate to the situation of another person, than one’s own.  An effective response that stems from the comprehension and apprehension of another’s emotional state; a shared emotion occurs to know another person’s mental state (Ickes, 1997).

It is an intentional voluntary behavior that benefits another (Eisenberg & Miller, 1987). In other words both ‘state empathy’ and ‘trait empathy’ promote pro-social behaviors.

It is a natural capacity of a person to share, understand and respond to the other person with effective states of care, as it is a crucial role of human social interaction. Empathy motivates prosaically behavior and moral development (Decety, 2012).

According to stimulation theorists, we imagine ourselves in other’s situation and read their internal states from our own, than invoked empathy to explain how human’s judge other’s thinking and feeling (Decety& Ickes, 2009).

A stable trait of personality is said to be empathy and it is explained as an individual’s capacity to understand and comprehend another’s sentiments and feelings and in results showing compassion towards another person. Empathy is said t be an involuntary response to emotional stimulus and cue (Decety& Jackson, 2006).

When we talk about involuntary emotional sharing it represents the effective empathy and when person understands another person’s emotions is known as cognitive empathy (Steffgen, Koing, Pfetsch& Melzer, 2011).

According to the study, whether empathy is seen in effective and on the other way as cognitive, it is an important and essential aspect of prosaically behavior and moral development. When a person obtained low scores on level of empathy it is a n indicator of high level of antisocial and aggressive behavior (Endresen & Olweus, 2006).

While experiencing empathy person feels different psychological states. These includes: Knowing another person’s internal state, including his/ her thoughts and feelings. Clinicians called this empathy (Dimber & Elmehed, 2000). Other explains this “cognitive empathy” or “empathic accuracy” (Ickes, 1993).

            Another is adopting the posture or matching the neural responses of an observed other. This is “facial empathy”. Psychologists called adopting another’s posture is “motor mimicry” (Dimber & Elmehed, 2000) or “imitation”. An in adults imitation and mimicry is used as communication function. The next state is coming to feel as another person feels. And last comes to feel for another person who is suffering (Decety & Ickes, 2009).

            In social psychology, “empathy” or “empathic concern” refers to another-oriented emotional response elicited by perceived welfare of someone else (Batson, 1991). Other-oriented refers to the focus of the emotion, as it is felt for the other. On the basis of stimulation theory person feels himself on the other’s place and situation, than imagine how one would think and feel, than comes to feel the same; this enables him to feel as the other feels (Decety& Ickes, 2009).

Empathy requires three different skills: ability to share the feelings of others, cognitive ability to intuit the feeling of others and “social beneficial” an intention to respond compassionately to other person’s distress (Decety& Ickes, 2000).

Empathy is ability or a cognitive function to be aware of other’s thoughts and feelings (Barnett, 1990). It is an affective reaction or ability to understand the feelings and thoughts of others (Bernadett-Shapiro, 1996). Empathy has three aspects: 1) cognitive, 2) an effective function

ning or reaction and 3) it decrease the aggressive and bullying behavior (Kaukiainen et al, 1999).

Empathy is related to pro-social behavior, and its lack leads to be offensive and aggressive tendencies. It proceeds through four steps: emotional recognition, emotional response, perspective taking and reparative action (Marshall & Marshall, 2011).

Empathy is a cognitive and embodied ability to share another’s state (Pfeiffer, 2013). Rogers (1983) describes empathy as understanding emotion and thoughts of a person who is accurately next to you. You simply feel the same like what he feels. It is an accurate and clear emotional perception and meanings of an individual’s internal frame of reference Clark (2004).

Empathy is an essential feature to instigate pro-social behaviors (Einlof, 2008). Bandura (1999) states empathy as an effective control over aggression.

There is a negative relationship between empathy and aggression (Rehber, 2007). It is an attribute and a developmental phenomenon which appears early in childhood; it allows a person to share frame of reference with others (Gunther, 2007).

Golman (1998) examine and suggest a relation in between emotional intelligence and empathy.  Further he describes empathy as an ability to understand and help others, providing services to others and displaying a caring behavior constantly. It is a person’s vicariously emotional response to emotional reactions of other’s people.

In philosophical-ethical considerations of human behavior; empathy is linked to good-mindedness, emotional participation and common understanding. Empathy is related to sympathy. There are three models to understand empathy, includes: awareness of inner states of other people their feelings, thoughts and perceptions. Other model says empathy as affective reaction of a person towards other person. Third model speaks of cognitive-emotional characteristics of empathy (Coqiel, 2008).

Expressing compassion with having deep level of understanding when entered in other person’s experience is empathy (Davies, 2011). Carl Rogers (1957) defined empathy as a necessary condition for functioning care-giving relationship. It is an erect understanding of other’s inner experience. Empathy is an important dimension of the work of the caregiver who helps others.

According to (Smith & Thompson, 1991) those who do bully had low level of empathy or less understanding of the empathy and emotional sharing tends to display and is likely to inhibit their aggressive behaviors and they were unable to feel empathetic emotions and pain of their victims.

Findings of one study explain the relation between bullying and empathy as  that bullying behavior is differentiated by the distinctive aspects of empathy like, Effective empathy determines frequent bullying in both males and females while cognitive empathy which is related to the understanding of another’s emotions is unrelated to bullying behavior (Steffgen, Koing, Pfetsch& Melzer, 2011).

Nevertheless, one author’s study found that while cognitive empathy is unrelated to bullying behavior but it is only the cognitive empathy which played a role in the existence of cyber bullying trends (Ang& Goh, 2010).

1.3 Emotional-Behavioral Problems

Emotional- behavioral problems are characterized in two groups as:

Externalizing behavior: includes acting out style which is explained in terms of impulsivity, aggression.

Internalized behaviors: Includes inhibited styles as withdrawn, depressed, lonely or anxious (Smith, 2014).

According to Williard (2004) bullies are unable to recognize the harm they cause and they also lack remorse. Hinduja and Patchin (2010) told about the signs which explain cyber-bully offenders like they hides or closes computer screen from other people, they uses computer late at night, if they not use the computer they became agitated, they show excessive laughter while utilizing computer nor they discuss what they are doing on the computer.

Impulsive people have a strong urge to act without thinking. Impulsivity includes poor self control, making decisions quickly, without any concern for regard of consequences (Durana& Barnes, 1993). Impulsivity exists in clinical disorders as ADHD, drug dependence, mania and antisocial behavior. Impulsivity plays an important role in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders (Swann, 2009).

Aggression can be explained into verbal and physical. Although it is a natural emotion of internal events, more attention seeking factor is an inappropriate expression of anger (Feindler& Engel, 2011). Anger leads to aggression; when it failed to be controlled (Munakata, 2004). Anger and its expression reveal major public health problems (Blake &Hamrin, 2007). Anger and aggression are negative, disruptive emotional behavioral expressions in social surroundings (Lok, Bond &Tse, 2009).

Aggression is a negative destructive emotion related to sorrow, rage, trouble and wrath (McCarthy, Barnes &Alport, 1998). Expression of anger may take many forms including self-harm, violence, physical and verbal aggression (Blake &Hamrin, 2007).

Depression is a main psychiatric disease that causes disability and mortality (WHO, 2012). Clinical perspective suggests that psychopathology arise from a combination of vulnerability factors in the context of life stress (Katz & McGuffin, 1993).

Every fourth individual experiences symptoms of anxiety once in life (Kessler, Berglund, 2005). Anxious feelings include concerns of being negatively evaluated in social circle. Anxiety is feeling of unease, worry and threatening fear (Martell, 2014).

Emotional disturbance can be defined and assigned through the rules of cultural context that shows considerable variability across contexts and make the process inherently subjective (Forness, 1996). Emotional disturbance or problems are caused by the stressors which creates the behaviors to meet three criteria: severity, chronicity and frequency.

Another explained by Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA) which states some characteristics of emotional and behavioral disorders as: an inability to develop and maintain warm satisfactory relationships with others. Inappropriate types of different behaviors and feelings under normal circumstances. Pervasive unhappiness with a depressive mood is the aware behavioral deficits (Kavale, et al. 2004).

The term emotional and behavioral disorders mean a disability characterized by those emotional and behavioral disturbances which are different from the particular and appropriate culture, context, age and norms on the ethnicity. And also these disturbances crates adverse affects on social, occupational, vocational and personal levels of life. (Zigler, 1986)

Emotional and behavioral disorders co-exist with other disabilities as affective disorder, anxiety disorder, conduct or adjustment disorder which adversely affects the person’s performance in all areas of life and relationships. Emotional disorders are normally characterized as anxiety, depression and mood disorders (Weinberg and Rehmet, 1983).

Individuals suffer from internalizing disorders are said to be suffering from depression, and in this context they suffer loss of interest in their daily activities which commonly includes social activities, and interpersonal relationship difficulties (Smith, 2014).

One federal definition of emotional/internalizing problems includes general pervasive mood of depression showing a particular disturbed behavior of the person (Martel, 2014). Young adults suffering from internalizing problems and issues can also suffer from, separation anxiety disorder, anxiety disorder, fear and phobias while trusting other people, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorder and also panic disorder (Golman, 1986).

When we talk about externalizing problems it takes us to the common problem as under-controlled and acting out. These people act out. These people just can’t hold their emotional state to the optimal level and exhibits behaviors such as bullying, cursing and other forms of violence (Smith, 2014).

Emotional and behavioral disorders can be divided into three groups that are characterized by 1) Externalizing behaviors 2) Internalizing behaviors and the 3rd as low incidence disorders. According to Smith, (2014) there are some emotional and behavioral disorders that manifest themselves outwardly.

Externalizing problem behavior is explained as by acting-out style which includes noncompliant, impulsive, coercive and aggressive behaviors. And other are more straightly described as “inward”. Which includes internalizing behaviors; a typical inhibited style includes depressed, lonely, withdrawn and anxious (Greshman et al., 1999).

There are some given examples as externalizing and internalizing problem features which include: as an externalizing problem some violates the basic rights of others by having internalizing problem as exhibiting painful shyness. And when one violates societal norms is maybe teased by his peers, if someone is stealing, because damage or loss to owns or others property is because of being depresses. Similarly if someone threatens physical harm to animals and others is tending to be suicidal (Smith, 2014).

Literature Review

Previous researches presented in this section; through ample light over the variables of this study with different perspectives. And their results help to understand different features of influence what they have and what them through on other areas. This compels to ponder over our past situations and to find out the possible contributory factors.

1.4 Cyber-Bullying

Different perspectives of students on cyber bullying on the sample of 148 middle and high school students were interviewed by Agatson (2007). The emerged consequences show that students were unable to suggest basic strategies to avoid and deal cyber bullying and also not fully aware of how to help bystander when witnessing cruel online behavior.

Noter (2013) gathered a systematic literature review of cyber bullying. And on the basis of this he get the results that rising number of community and school leaders ponder over the importance of designing programs to address the acts, norms, social values of the students.

The risks of internet communication and cyber bullying on university students was studied by Kopecky (2013). Descriptive research was conducted on the sample of 386 students. Results reveal that acts of cyber bullying include harm through humiliation, ridiculing, insulting, verbal aggression and embarrassing students. Threats and intimidation of students are the initiators of cyber bullying.

Oztaskin (2010) saw the influence of social studies role of violent media on the student’s perceptions of violence. Sample includes 200 teachers at 20 schools. Research was done according to survey model. Statistical analysis includes frequency analysis, descriptive statistics and independent samples T-Test. Results indicates that social studies (role of violent media, internet technology, course curriculum) has a remarkable influence on structuring student’s perception

MacDonald (2010) regulated a study to check the prevalence and demographic characteristics about cyber bullying among college students. Sample includes 439 students. Results of the survey data shows that 38% knew someone who had been cyber bullied, 21% had been cyber bullied. And there was no gender differences in any of the cyber bullying behaviors reported.

Griezel (2012) uncovered the structure, gender and developmental differences in cyber bullying. Sample includes 803 students. Results revealed that gender, grade, and gender by grade interaction effects cyber forms of bullying and being bullied.

Jose in (2013) completed the study on bullying and cyber-bullying: convergent and divergent predictor variables; on the sample of secondary school pupils. The results explained that there are multiple relations between the predictor variables of school bullying and the specific variables of virtual environments that predict cyber-bullying.

Qualitative research on bullying, through a human rights perspective; results indicate that in literature review there is no single theory exists which can explain the cause of bullying, so we be better unable to predict bullying situations. Study also revealed subjective response of teachers as they trust their own judgment in the intervention of bullying situations. Teacher emphasized handling bullying situations before becoming out of control (Bjorndalen, 2014).

A French man Hoertal (2012) saw gender effects in bullying by taking results from the national sample. After multivariate logistic regression analyses there is found a strong association in both genders with numerous psychiatric and addictive disorders with prominent gender effects. With having anti-social behaviors, and woman who bullied they are more likely to have externalizing as conduct disorder and internalizing spectrum disorder. .

Ibrahima (2010) explored the effects of cyber bullying on the distrust levels of pre-service teachers in considering internet addiction as a mediating variable. Sample includes pre-service 380 teachers of Firat University in Turkey. Chi-square is used in analysis. A consequence leads to the fact that there is a significant distrust level in pre-school teachers when cyber bullying is mediated by internet addiction.

Another study by Xiao (2013) evaluated social cognitive perspective about cyber bullying among university students. The data was gathered from survey method with the hypothesis about personal and environmental factors which are linked to the likelihood of university students to perform cyber bullying behavior. Results show that social norms, personal factors as internet self efficacy, victimization experiences and motivations are the strong predictors of student’s cyber bullying behavior.

 1.5 Empathy

            Empathic competencies are studied in violent offenders by Maria Seidel (2013). As there are rare investigations on lack of empathy in violent offenders, this study assessed three core components of empathy in 30 male violent offenders and 30 healthy males. Results suggest reduced accuracy of emotion recognition in violent offenders with decreased accuracy in perspective taking and high violent assaults. They have higher psychopathy scores and low affective responsiveness and deficient emotion recognition.

Steffgen (2010) conducted a research on cyber bullying: the role of traditional bullying and empathy on the sample of 2,070 students. Chi-square and ANOVA is used as analysis. Results support the hypotheses that there is a link between bullying and cyber bullying, bullies tend to cyber bullies afterwards,  significant difference between bullies and cyber bullies is yet determined. Results also show that cyber bullies demonstrate less empathic responsiveness.

Empathy as a factor of moral dilemma solving is studied by Molchanov, (2014) in adolescents. Consequences show a significant correlation between levels of empathy and strategies of moral dilemma solving. Result indicates that high level of empathy correlates with care strategy and low level was found for egoistic strategy. On the gender differences issue girls are oriented on empathy more than boys.

1.6 Emotional-Behavioral Problems

Kowalski (2012) tries to find out the psychological, physical and academic functions and performances of adolescents who experience cyber-bullying and traditional bullying. On the basis of ANOVAs and correlation the consequences gathered tells that the negative physical, psychological and academic effects of cyber-bullying are more pronounced than traditional bullying. Result also suggests emotional problems related to the bully/ victim and behavioral problems associated to the one who bully. Anxiety is found to be high in those who bully. Anxiety and depression is found to be high who belong to high school. Correlational analysis indicated anxiety, depression, self-esteem, health problems and absentees, grades problem and other difficulties are significantly related to student’s involvement in cyber-bullying others, being cyber-bullied, bullying others and being bullied.

            Shoval, et al. (2013) examined suicidal and non-suicidal adolescent’s emotional and behavioral problems explained by their own selves and mothers. Sample includes 906 adolescents and their mothers. Results indicated high scores of suicidal adolescents. And maternal-rated assessments were failed to discriminate these groups. Consequence also leads to the conclusion that mothers hardly recognize the emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Trevor (2011) studied the prevention criteria of emotional and behavioral problems in those children who have a developmental disability Sample was based on children and the results show that the quality of parenting styles effect the developmental level of children. So parenting interventions should be taken as reducing negative parenting practices, child mal-treatment to reduce child emotional-behavioral problems.

The research conducted was on the dark triad personality traits and adolescents cyber-aggression by Pabian, (2014) on the sample of 324 adolescents. The consequences lead tells the view that only Face-book intensity and psychopath significantly predict cyber-aggression in adolescents.

Hailee (2014) examined the association between sexual behaviors and bullying victimization. The aim was to see sexual double standard (that women are more harshly judged for their sexual behaviors then men) and gender differences in bullying victimization among adolescents and the relationship correlated with depression and suicidal ideation. Sample was based on equal number of boys and girls. The results revealed that the sexual double standard exists and play a major role in bullying and victimization among girls. And so this afterwards leads to the harms of aggression and suicidal ideation.

Spanish woman Sierra (2014), recently studied prevalence of emotional and behavioral symptomatology in adolescents. Sample was based on 508 students. According to the results, the prevalence of emotional-behavioral problem and psychological difficulties was similar to the reported in other national and international studies like having problem with mates, pro-social problems, hyper-activity and other difficulties.

 1.7 Relationship among Study Variables

            Associations between frequencies of bullying involvement with adjustment problems in adolescents were examined by Gower, (2013). Objective was to determine infrequent bullying perpetration associated with high levels of internalizing and externalizing problems; by using analytic sample of 128,681 adolescents. On the basis of general linear models (GLMs) and logistic regression, depending on whether the outcomes were continuous or binary, results proved that infrequent bullying perpetration and victimization associated with increased levels of all adjustment problems.

Next research is on the psychiatric symptomatology as a predictor of cyber bullying among university students. Sample includes 247 males and 448 females. This co-relational and cross-sectional research reveals that males are engaged in cyber bullying more as compared to females and pretended to be someone else. More over this study uncover the reality that some psychiatric symptoms do exists; which provoke cyber bullying mal-adaptive behaviors (Aricak, 2009).

Mitsopoulou (2014) did a meta-analysis on personality traits, empathy and cyber-bullying behavior in the light of big-five model of personality. Results revealed that low level of agreeableness and conscientiousness and higher levels of extraversion and neuroticism were associated with both bullying and victimization. On the other hand affective and cognitive empathy were negatively linked to bullying behavior.

A research study by Robin, Kowalski, Susan and Limber (2012) on the sample of 931 students assess many factors as anxiety, self-esteem, self reported health problems, and low grades as related with the cyber bullying behavior. The consequences enhances the notions about the factors related to cyber bullying as the results manifested after the analysis of correlation and multiple regression that all the above depicted factors (anxiety, self-esteem, self reported health problems, and low grades of the students) are significantly related to the student’s involvement in cyber bullying behavior.

Seidel (2013) examined empathic competencies in violent offenders; to see whether violent offenders show general empathy deficit or specific deficit. Three core components of empathy were assessed which were (emotional recognition, perspective taking and affective responsiveness). Sample includes 30 male violent offenders and 30 healthy male controls. Results revealed reduced emotion recognition and decreased accuracy in perspective taking results violent assaults. Offenders also reveal reduced physiological responses to fear and disgust during emotion recognition. So emotion recognition is deficient in violent offenders while other components are unaffected.

Jolliffe (2010) determined that low empathy is related to bullying after controlling for individual and social background variables. Sample includes 720 adolescents (344 females and 376 males) in England. Results reveal that low affect empathy is related to bullying by males, but is not present in females. Further evidence is found that low cognitive empathy is not related to bullying behavior but high rate of impulsive is linked with all types of male bullying to female bullying.

Brewer (2014) compared to investigate the level of influence of, self-esteem, empathy and loneliness on cyber-bullying. Sample was based on adolescents of 16-18 years of age. According to the analysis of standard multiple regression it was concluded that self-esteem was a significant predictor of cyber bullying perpetration while low self-esteem people were most likely to report experience of cyber bullying. Also decrease in empathy increases the likelihood of cyber bullying perpetration.

A study conducted with the aim to find out the relationship between cyber bullying and psychological symptoms was done by Ayas and Deniz in (2013), on 407 students. And the findings revealed that there was a moderate positive correlation between the level of cyber bullying and psychoticism

1.8 Indigenous Researches

Riffat (2014) examined incidence, nature and impacts of cyber bullying on the social life of university students. Sample included 100 students from Punjab University. Quantitative research method with purposive sampling was used. Results indicated adverse effect of cyber bullying on the social life of the university students and serious threat to educational attainment and career of the university students.

A study on the impact of bullying on the performance of the students at primary level in Sindh is done by Ahmed (2012). Sample includes 20 male heads and 100 male teachers through random sampling. It was concluded that bullying rate at primary schools is higher as compared to the schools of the others districts of Sindh. Split half method to see internal consistency and Cronbach’s Alpha was used in this pilot test. Results show that students do not bother when they are bullied because of having not much awareness.

 1.9 Summary of Literature Review

Now this new era of technology is struggling to understand and debate its new problems which are emerging in response to our novel technological discoveries. Different programs to address these acts, norms and social values are now part of this rising community. Cyber bullying- a serious threat to humanity includes humiliation, insulting, ridiculing, aggression response, and embarrassing others for the sake of entertainment as a reinforcement. People are not fully aware of cyber bullying and the strategies used by the bullies and yet not fully aware of how to help when witness any cruel behavior online. Role of violent media and internet technology are paying remarkable influence on this crime rate now-a-days. According to the different researches done in previous years; some states gender differences do exists in cyber bullying behavior while others not mention the difference. Some states high socio-economic status as a reason for this act. All this reveals socio-cultural differences which negotiate the specific norms of the society. As like in our Pakistani society cyber bullying is done by literate society who holds power to those who are timid and illiterate of this crime. Our elders rely on their own judgments in the intervention of bullying situations and students not get bother of this act because of having no ample knowledge. Personal factors, self efficacy, motivations and victimization experiences are also the predictors of student’s cyber bullying behavior (Xiao, 2013). One cross-sectional research shows that males are more involved in this crime as compared to females and some psychiatric symptoms do exists which causes bullying behavior. Low effective empathy and high rate of impulsivity is linked to all types of male’s bullying behavior (Jolliffe, 2010). Also it is mentioned through a research study that cyber bullies demonstrate less empathic responsiveness (Steffen, 2010).

1.10 Rationale of the study

Our country is progressing rapidly in the field of education. As long as the academic demands preceded to the heavens the demands to the use of cyber technology enhanced. Those who excel in utilizing this technology try to charm their id and egos by doing cyber-crimes. As like in our country where dominating male chauvinism prevails; the cyber field is also dominated and miss-used. This study will allow having a glance over the reason and causes which exists behind cyber-crime. Less research has carried out on the starting issues of cyber bulling especially in our evolving country. Only one fact “the consequences” of the bullying is studied precisely over and over which negotiate severe effects specifically. Present study aims to get access to emotional and behavioral problems and to saw the level of empathy which is linked to cyber bullying. Findings of the present research bring the knowledge of the new crime–cyber bullying and helps to get aware of the bully after viewing their queer and odd behaviors.

1.11 Objectives

  • To examine the level of empathy, emotional – behavioral problems and cyber bullying in young adults.
  • To determine relationship between empathy, emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying.
  • To determine the predictive strength of empathy and emotional-behavioral problems for cyber bullying in young adults.
  • To examine the gender differences in cyber bullying.
  • To examine the group(university, college and public) difference across all study variables.

1.12 Hypotheses

  • Empathy and emotional-behavioral problems are likely to be related with cyber bullying in young adults.
  • Lack of empathy and emotional behavioral problems likely to predict cyber bullying in young adults.
  • Men are likely to be more involved in cyber bullying as compared to women.
  • Young adults from universities, colleges and public sites will likely to be different across all study variables.

Chapter II


2.1 Research Design

            It was a co-relational study and cross-sectional research design was followed in present research.

2.2 Sample       

            The sample consist of 150 young adults including 78 men &72 women.50 students were drawn from universities including GCU (n=25) and UMT (n=25), 50 students were drawn from colleges including MAO (n=25) and Eastern College (n=25) and 50 were drawn from two net cafés in Lahore with age range 18-25 (M=21.24, SD=2.06).

2.3 Inclusion/Exclusion criteria

  • Only those young adults were included who use internet on daily basis.
  • Only those young adults were included who has been using internet from 1 or more than one years.

Table 2.3.1

Demographic Characteristics of Young Adults (N=150).

Age (18-25)21.242.06
            ICS, F.Sc, F.A2314.7
            B.A, B.com1912.2
            B.S, M.Sc, M.A9460.3
            M.Phil, M.BA, M.com149.0
Employment Status of Students
                        Private job2817.9
                        Government job127.7
Marital Status
Family System
Internet use (1-15 years)5.023.44
Aim of using internet
            Work and information3623.1
            Time pass117.1
            All  above5032.1

2.4 Operational Definition of Variables

  • 2.4.1 Empathy

Empathy is a primarily emotional process, an important component of social cognition that contributes to one’s ability in understanding and responding adaptively to the other’s emotions. It is a success in healthy emotional communication and to promote healthy prosaically behavior (Spreng, Mickinnon, Mary & Levine, 2009). And empathy is assessed by a questionnaire called Toronto Empathy Questionnaire, by Spreng, Mickinnon, Mar and Levine (2009).

  • 2.4.2 Cyber bullying

According to Cetin and Yaman (2011) cyber bullying includes practices intended to harm the social relations of individuals, such as insulting, spreading rumors, excluding the victim from certain groups, to practice fraud by using internet for propagandist purposes on forcing people to comment on sexual matters. And it can be measured through cyber-bullying scale (CBS). It includes three factors as cyber verbal bullying (CVB) defined as humiliating, instant messaging, teasing, spreading rumors, disclosing secrets, attacking the personality, insults and jokes. The second factor is hiding identity (HI) which is a crucial and most common element of cyber bullying;the third factor is cyber forgery (CF) which includes publication of private pictures, broadcasting videos about people, displaying others’ physical characteristics in humiliating manner and creating fake accounts.

  • 2.4.3 Emotional and Behavioral Problems

According to Smith (2014) emotional and Internalizing problems includes (Anxiety, depression) while behavioral externalizing problems includes (anti-social personality characteristics with aggressiveness). To measure emotional and behavioral problems two scales will be used as Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS 21) for emotional problems and Aggression Questionnaire (AQ) for measuring behavioral problems.

2.5 Assessment Measures

  • 2.5.1 The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire

Empathy is assessed by the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire which was developed by Spreng, Mickinnon, Mar and Levine (2009).An easily administered brief self-report measure of empathy which emphasis the emotional components of empathic responding. Responses were given to a 5-point likert scale corresponding level of frequencies as (never, rarely, sometimes, often and always). The internal consistency of the measure is =.87.Have high test retest reliability = .81.The TEQ contains 16 questions that encompass a wide range of attributes associated with the theoretical facets of empathy. Two items target the perception of an emotional state in another that stimulates the same emotion in oneself (item 1 and 4). Item 8 assesses emotional comprehension in others. Other items assess emotional states and sensitivity (2, 7, 10, 12 and 15). Items (3, 6, 9 and 11), taps sympathetic physiological arousal. Item 13 deals prosaically helping behaviors. Eight items are negatively scored (2, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15).

  • 2.5.2 Scale of Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is assessed by Cyber victim and bullying scale which was developed by Cetin and Yaman (2011). Scale includes 22 items with two sections. First section includes Scale of Cyber Victim (SCV), and second section includes Scale of Cyber Bullying (SCB).For present research SCB will be used. The scale also includes three-factor structure Cyber Forgery (CF), Cyber Verbal Bullying (CVB), Hiding Identity (HI).  The students were asked to express their feelings on a five point likert scale: “Always (5), frequently (4), occasionally (3), rarely (2) and never (1)”. The highest score obtained is 110. An increase in scores refers to an increase in level of cyber bullying behaviors. For the distribution of the items seven were designated as cyber verbal bullying (CVB); five items as Hiding Identity (HI) and ten items as cyber forgery (CF). Its internal consistency coefficients were .89 and split half coefficients were .79 for both scales. Test-retest reliability for cyber victim is .85, for cyber bullying .90 respectively.

  • 2.5.3 Emotional-behavioral problems

            Emotional and behavioral problems are assessed by two different scales. The first scale for measuring emotional problems is the (DASS 21) and for measuring behavioral problems the second scale is Aggression Questionnaire (AQ). Depression, Anxiety & Stress Scale

Emotional problems are assessed by DASS 21 which was developed by Gomez in (2012). An easily administered brief self-report questionnaire designed to measure severity of symptoms common in depression and anxiety. Responses were scored from 0 (did not apply to me at all over the last week) to 3 (applied to me very much or most of the time over the past week). The reliability scores of the scales in terms of Cronbach’s alpha scores rate the Depression scale 0.91, the Anxiety scale at 0.84 and the Stress scale 0.90 in the normative sample. The DASS 21 contains 21 questions that encompass a wide range of attributes associated with the theoretical facets of emotional problems. Item 3, 5, 10, 13, 16, 17, 21 measures depression. Item 2, 4, 7, 9, 15, 19, 20 measures anxiety while item 1, 6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 18 measures stress. Aggression Questionnaire

            Behavioral problems were assessed by Aggression Questionnaire which was developed by Buss and Warren (2000). It is intended to be administered as a screening instrument. The 34-item AQ consists of five subscales namely physical aggression (physical expression of anger), verbal aggression (argumentative and hostile language), anger (agitation and sense of control) and hostility (resentment, social isolation and paranoia) and indirect aggression (expression of anger without direct confrontation). Items are answered on 5 point likert type scale ranging from 1 (Not at all like me) to 5 (Completely like me). The reliability (Coefficient alpha) for Physical Aggression (r = .88), Verbal Aggression (r = .76), Anger (r = .78), Hostility (r = .82), Indirect Aggression (r = .71) and the total scale (r = .94) respectively (Buss &Wareen, 2000).

2.5.4 Demographic Information Questionnaire

The demographic information questionnaire includes questions about age, gender, family system, education, birth order, number of siblings, monthly family income, marital status, aim of using the internet and amount of years for how long the person was using the internet.

2.6 Translation of Two Measures for Data Collection

            Permission for translation of two instruments Cyber Bullying Scale (CBS) and Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ) was appropriately sought from the authors. To ensure the rigorous process of translation, it had done in an appropriate way as according to the MAPI (2011) guidelines. The objective of the translation was to make the measures understandable to the participants of the research as Urdu is easier to comprehend. The scales were translated with multiple phases.

  1. Step 1: Forward translation
  2. Step 2: Evaluation of translated items by the researchers
  3. Step 3: Back translation
  4. Step 4: Evaluation of the backward translated items
  5. Step 5: Try out
  • 2.6.1 Step 1: Forward translation

            In the first step the forward translation of the scales was done, the scales were translated from English to Urdu by giving it to two bilingual professionals, who were the interns at the Punjab Institute of Mental Health had done the forward translation. The purpose of choosing those interns was that they had excellent proficiency in Urdu and English language. They were requested to translate scale items from English to Urdu with special emphasis on content equivalence between both versions.

  • 2.6.2 Step 2: Evaluation of the translated items by researchers

Researcher along with her supervisor thoroughly examined the translated items from English to Urdu and measures the content equivalence between English and Urdu versions. In this process, researcher evaluated the underlying meaning of the items to match it with the original versions.

  • 2.6.3 Step 3: Back Translation

            The Urdu translated scales were again translated into an English language to determine the validity of the Urdu translation. For the backward translation, two M.Phil students from the Institute of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab were given the Urdu translated versions of the scales for back translation. They were requested to translate the Urdu versions into English language.

  • 2.6.4 Step 4: Evaluation of the backward translated items

In this fourth step, discussion was done between the supervisor and the researcher to ensure the accuracy of the translation. Supervisor and the researcher examined the translated items in English and assessed the equivalence rate. Some changes like formatting of the item sentences and revision of item sentences was done and after this step; the final version of the scale was developed.

  • 2.6.5 Step 5: Try out

            To ensure correct translation and validity of the scale, try out study was carried out. The scales were administered on the sample of 20 students with age of 18-20 years. Sample consists of M. Sc students of Institute of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore. The purpose to select those students was that they had command over both Urdu and English language. There were 10 boys and 10 girls in the sample Convenient sampling technique was used in the try out study. Urdu and English versions of TEQ and SCB was administered on the students in their free time. Both scales were divided in half of 20 students with half to the males and half to the females. Correlation of original and translated versions was measured as TEQ (r= .73*) and SCB (r= .80**).

2.7 Procedure

After getting the permission from the authors of the measures, the permission from the head of all the departments was collected from colleges, universities and net cafés. Before taking the information from the participants, researcher gave them written consent and questionnaires to each candidate. Demographic information questionnaire, Toronto Empathy Questionnaire, Cyber Bullying Questionnaire and Scale on Emotional and Behavioral Problems were filled by the participant under the supervision of the researcher. Researcher administered the questionnaire after brief instructions. During attempting the questionnaire booklet, every query that the participant encountered, was explained in detail by the researcher. The participants complete the questionnaires in approximately 15-20 minutes. After completing the questionnaire, the questionnaires were taken back and the participants were thanked for their cooperation. At last the whole collected data was entered in the SPSS sheet, to get the appropriate results.

2.8 Ethical Considerations

Assessment tools were translated and used after the permission of related authors.

  • Prior permission was sought from the concern authorities of Universities and colleges for data collection
  • Informed consent was taken from participants and they were briefed about the certain feature of the research.
  • Confidentiality of information and anonymity of the participants were maintained.
  • The results were accurately presented and discussed.

2.9 Proposed Statistical Analysis

  • Correlation analysis for association between empathy, emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying.
  • Multiple Hierarchical regression analysis for predicting cyber bullying (outcome) with help of empathy and emotional-behavioral problems (predictors).
  • Independent Sample t-test for exploring gender difference across empathy, emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying among young adults.
  • One way ANOVA to assess the group difference across all study variables.

Chapter III


Current research aims to explore the relation between empathy, emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying among young adults.

To find out the relationships and predicting power of variables, different analysis were run over the data including: descriptive analysis for the demographic variables, empathy, emotional behavioral problems and cyber bullying and Pearson-Product Moment Correlation analysis for assessing the relationship between empathy, dimensions of emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying. Multiple Regression analysis was done for predicting cyber bullying (outcome) with the help of empathy and emotional-behavioral problems (predictors). Than Independent Sample t-test was done to explore the gender differences for cyber bullying behaviors and finally ANOVA was done to explore the group difference across study variables.

Table 3.1

Cronbach’s Alpha and Descriptive Statistics of study variables for Young Adults (N=150).

VariableskCut offM (SD)α
Empathy163939.36  (7.28).58
DASS2125.97 (12.02).88
            Depression80-98.0  (5.11).80
            Anxiety710-1414.2  (6.0).72
            Stress70-149.95  (4.38).72
Aggression3485-9383.32  (21.89).86
            Physical Aggression818.7  (6.02).72
            Verbal Aggression512,27  (3.53).50
            Anger718.35  (5.53).51
            Hostility819.5  (6.46).61
            Indirect Aggression614.39  (5.47).39
Cyber Bullying2211041.67  (20.18).95
            Cyber Verbal Bullying (CVB)714.45  (6.74).86
            Hiding Identity (HI)59.4  (4.70).82
            Cyber Forgery (CF)1017.95  (10.35).95

k= No. of items. α=Coefficient Alpha. DASS= Depression Anxiety Stress Scale.

             The reliability of all the study variables was sustained and durable, except one scale of empathy whose reliability value was lower as compared to other study variable’s alpha value. Other variable’s reliability value falls in the accepted range of (.8 to .9).

            The mean value of empathy was average according to the cut off score. The mean value of depression falls in the cut off range as normal while the anxiety according to the mean value falls in the moderate range; the value of stress falls in the range of (0-14) as normal.

The overall aggression was below to the range of (85-93 as high) so the level of aggression was moderate. Furthermore cyber bullying is on low level when compared to the value of cut off score.

Table 3.2

            Table 3.2 indicated the correlation among variables of empathy and emotional problems and behavioral problems significantly.

According to the obtained results from the table of correlation, empathy is inversely associated with overall and subscales of cyber bullying. This leads us to conclude that low level of empathy is linked to the increased cyber bullying behavior among young adults. According to the finding, the first hypothesis is accepted that lack of empathy likely to be related to cyber bullying behaviors in young adults

Results indicated that depression and anxiety is significantly correlated with cyber bullying behavior while stress has non-significant relationship with the cyber bullying behavior.

This finding also supports the hypothesis as emotional problems are likely to be related with cyber bullying in young adults.

The next hypothesis was about the relationship between behavioral problems and cyber bullying and according to the results of the correlation analysis the behavioral problems includes aggression and its different forms (physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, hostility and indirect aggression) and all these are also significantly related to the cyber bullying behavior in young adults.

Table 3.3

Hierarchical Regression Analysis predicting Cyber Bullying on Empathy, Emotional-Behavioral Problems in young adults (N=150).

Cyber BullyingCyber verbal bull.Hiding IdentityCyber Forgery
Step 1.223***.149***.157***.258***
            Net vs. college-.02.04-.00-.04
            Net vs. university-.03.09*-.03-.10*
Step 2.113***.092***.119***.094***
Step 3.603***.596***.516***.489***
            Physical Aggression.
            Verbal Aggression-.01-.01.08-.06
            Indirect Aggression.00.01-.01.00
Total R2.

Note: Net vs. college were given the values as net= 0 and college=1. On the other hand Net vs. university were given with the values as net= 0 and university = 1. DASS= Depression Anxiety Stress Scale.


Predictive strength of the study variables was seen in this table including empathy and emotional problems and its sub scales (depression, anxiety and stress) and aggression subscales as behavioral problem with cyber bullying

The results of the above model F (14, 133) =149.50, ***p<.000 manifested 22% variance in cyber bullying, 14% variance is present in cyber verbal bullying, 15% variance and change is seen in hiding identity and 25% variance is explained in the cyber forgery by the demographic variables.

Gender is also seen as a predictor of cyber bullying and cyber forgery, which reveals that the women do less cyber bullying as compared to men. In cyber forgery, by the reference of gender, the beta value of gender was inversely significant. The value reveals the conclusion that women do less hiding forgery as compared to men.

As manifested by the values, it is also seen that university students do more cyber verbal bullying and this is manifested according to the no presence of negative sign with the value, so the value goes to the positive direction means high cyber bullying in university. And we stamp this outcome on university instead of net café because the value given to the university was higher to the net café. Moreover the university students were found to be doing less cyber forgery as compared to the public in net cafés.

Over all variances explained by the next model F (14, 134) = 50.27, ***p<.000 cyber bullying and its sub scales is 11% with cyber bullying, 9% with cyber verbal bullying, 11% with hiding identity and 94% with cyber forgery. The high value in cyber forgery shows that lack of empathy is a strong predictor of cyber forgery.

The second last model including emotional problems F (14, 134) =38.19, ***p<.000 explain 60% variance in cyber bullying, 59% variance in cyber verbal bullying, 51% in hiding identity and 48% variance in cyber forgery.

Results of the analysis also through an ample light over only one significant predictor of cyber bullying and its factors as anxiety. This reveals anxiety as a strong predictor of cyber bullying behaviors.

The last model F (14, 133) =51.64, ***p<.000 shows 0.2% variance in cyber bullying, 0.3% variance in cyber bullying, 0.8% variance in hiding identity and 0.3% variance in cyber forgery.

Over all result of hierarchical regression shows that university student significantly does cyber verbal bullying and when we see hiding forgery, the women does less cyber forgery as compared to men. And university students (young adults) were also less involved in cyber forgery as compared to net café young adults. One big predictor was anxiety which was significantly related to cyber bullying as it shows significant value in all subscales of cyber bullying.

Table 3.4

Gender wise differences comparing Empathy, Emotional-behavioral problems and Cyber bullying between Men and Women (N=150).

(n=78)(n=72)95% of CICohen’s
VariablesMSDMSDt (df=148)PLLUL      d
Physical Aggression20.165.9117.115.763.
Verbal Aggression12.723.7411.753.281.67.09-.1762.110.27
Indirect Aggression15.626.2312.984.
Cyber Bullying49.0821.6133.3114.
Cyber Verbal Bull.16.537.0512.075.454.3.0002.446.480.70
Hiding Identity10.814.947.853.884.0.001.524,380.65
Cyber Forgery22.0011.1913.386.965.7.005.6211.590.93

Note: CI= Confidence Interval, LL= Lower Limit, UL= Upper Limit. DASS= Depression Anxiety Stress Scale.

The table shows that there were significant gender differences between men and women in cyber bulling behavior. Males had less level of empathy as compared to females as they obtained high score in it. Aggression as behavioral problems was found to be high among males with the high level of emotional problems as well. And all the high scores in emotional and behavioral problems suggest the high level of cyber bullying in males as compared to females.

To find out the relation of study variables along with the groups used to collect data cyber bullying is seen by using the analysis ANOVA.

Table 3.5

One way ANOVA for Sample Type and Study Variable (N=150).

Cyber Bullying35.8015.9439.0718.8850.8022.678.06.00.09
Cyber Verbal Bullying13.485.7013.426.7316.587.
Hiding Identity8.123.878.964.3411.315.326.48.00.08
Cyber Forgery14.208.2216.699.0823.3411.6211.45.00.13

Table 3.6                          

One way ANOVA for Sample Type and Study Variables (N=150).

ScaleMSDMSDMEta2F(2, 147)   pEta2

Note: SD=Standard Deviation, M= Mean, p= significant. DASS= Depression Anxiety Stress Scale.

The results of the tables manifest that all the three groups including young adults from universities, colleges and net cafes perform significantly different on all study variables. And mean scores shows cyber bulling and aggression was higher in public as compare to other two groups.

3.7 Summary of the Findings

  • There is a significant inverse relationship between empathy and cyber bullying behaviors. It reveals that low level of empathy is linked to the increased cyber bullying behavior among young adults.
  • Gender differences were also found in the empathy level as; females had high level of empathy as compared to males.
  • Results also allow the glance to take notice that female’s level of cyber bullying was low as compared to males.
  • Depression and anxiety is significantly correlated with cyber bullying behavior while stress has non-significant relationship with the cyber bullying behavior.
  • Moreover the behavioral problems includes aggression and its different forms (physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, hostility and indirect aggression) and all these are also significantly related to the cyber bullying behavior in young adults.
  • Gender is seen as predictor of cyber bullying and cyber forgery, which reveals that the women do less cyber bullying as compared to men.
  • Results revealed that empathy; emotional- behavioral problems are significant predictors of cyber bulling.
  • There were significant gender differences between men and women in cyber bulling behaviors as men had low level of empathy as compared to women.
  • The results from ANOVA tables manifest that all the three groups including young adults from universities, colleges and net cafes perform significantly different on all study variables. And mean scores shows cyber bulling and aggression were higher in public.

Chapter IV


The current research aims to investigate the relationship between empathy, emotional-behavioral problems and cyber bullying in young adults. Emotional problems include (depression, anxiety and stress) whereas behavioral problems are related to aggression and its different forms as physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, hostility and indirect aggression.

The first finding depicts the inverse relationship between empathy and cyber bullying which indicates that if the level of empathy is low; then the level of cyber bullying will be high. Present research finding supported by the study (Mitsopoulou&Giovazolias, 2015) that the lower level of empathy is negatively associated with the bulling behavior, as lower level of agreeableness and conscientiousness were associated with bullying and victimization. The low level of empathy is significantly related to all the sub types of the cyber bullying as (cyber verbal bullying, cyber forgery and hiding identity).

Secondly it was hypothesized that emotional problems are likely to be positively related to cyber bullying. Emotional problems include three factors as depression, anxiety and stress. The findings on this research represents that there is a significant relationship between emotional problems and cyber bullying. As emotional problems in an individual enhances more chances of cyber bullying behavior. More over the findings of the present study finds no significant relationship between stress and cyber bullying, unless anxiety and depression is significantly correlated with cyber bullying. Yet all the subscales of cyber bullying as (cyber verbal bullying, cyber forgery and hiding identity), are significantly correlated to the depression and anxiety but only stress is non-significant with the cyber bullying behavior.

According to one study; which aims to find out the relation between cyber bullying and psychological symptoms by Ayas and Deniz (2013), depicts the results as there is a moderate positive correlation between the level of cyber bullying and psychoticism. Furthermore on the other hand a study by (Robin, Kowalski, Susan, & Limber, 2012) suggests that depression, anxiety, self esteem, self-reported health problems and low grades of the students are significantly related to the student’s involvement in cyber bullying others, being cyber bullied and bullying others through traditional means and being bullied through traditional means.

All these findings are consistent with the present research findings. The findings from the regression analysis also show that emotional problems were the strong predictor of cyber bullying as compared to behavioral problems. So the current study’s result is consistent with the previous finding.

Behavioral problems also had a significant relationship with cyber bullying behavior. Behavioral problems as aggression includes, different types as (physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, hostility and indirect aggression). This again is consistent with the research hypothesis that behavioral problems predict cyber bullying behavior in young adults. According to the study by (Icellioglu & Ozden, 2013) anger factors are related to the cyber bullying behaviors. Cyber bullying has become one of the anger expression styles, that one can show itself without using real identity. Females had higher social anxiety and avoidance scores as compared to males. Expressing the thoughts and emotions through aggressive behavior are acceptable between males than females because of the socio-cultural factors.

On the other hand when we talk about gender differences, the results also suggested that there are significant gender differences in empathy level, as empathy is high in females as compared to males. Research by Maria Seidal (2013), leads us to the same results that those who had high psychopath scores also contains reduced accuracy of emotion recognition and low effective responsiveness to emotion recognition and so they also had high level of violent assaults. The result of this study helps us to see the empathy in a large way that low level of empathy leads to the violent assaults-here it is high level of cyber bullying behavior.

Steffgen (2010) also suggested the results which had made the backbone of current finding stronger, that cyber bullies demonstrate less empathic responsiveness.

According to the study by (Molchanov, 2014) high level of empathy correlates with care strategy and low level was found for egoistic strategy. So if we compare the findings to see the results in a broader sense, it leads us to the conclusion that those with less empathy level has more egoistic strategy- the defense against the dilemma between id and ego which emerges when id is stronger and super ego is more fragile, so this leads us to interpret that males have stronger id and to solace that id, if it is hearted, they are more prone to cyber bullying behaviors, which could be their egoistic strategy to solace their id.

Another part of the current study includes the debate of emotional-behavioral problems. So the results open the mystery as emotional problems are high in males, when we see depression and anxiety it is high in males who are related to the cyber bullying behaviors and depression and anxiety is less in females –as their level of cyber bullying is low as compared to males, but the level of stress is high in females.

Kowalski (2014) found the same finding in his study that anxiety is high in those who bully, further results of his study tells that anxiety, depression, self-esteem, health problems and low grades in academic performance and other difficulties are significantly related to the student’s involvement in cyber bullying others and being cyber bullied. Behavioral problems as aggression are also high in males as compared to females. As supported by Griezel (2002) that gender affects cyber forms of bullying. So here the current study shows that male gentry are more prone to do cyber bullying as compared to females.

If we talk about the relationship between all independent variables empathy, emotional-behavioral problems and dependent variable as cyber bullying researches had evidences which are not directly but indirectly supported the current study’s findings. According to (Gower, 2013) bullying is associated with increased levels of all adjustment problems.

Aricak (2009) also uncover the reality of cyber bullying behavior as some psychiatric symptoms do exists which provoke cyber bullying and mal-adjusted behaviors. The results of the study on personality traits, empathy and cyber bullying by Mitsopoulou (2014); tells that low level of agreeableness and conscientiousness and higher levels of extraversion and neuroticism were associated with both bullying and victimization. Seidel (2013) also concluded after the results that emotion recognition is deficient in violent offenders.

Jolliffe conducted a research in (2010) and revealed that low affective empathy is related to the bulling by males but not exists in females’ is consistent with the finding of the current research study.  Study by (Brewer, 2014) explained more precisely that high self-esteem is a significant predictor of cyber bullying and low self-esteem people experience cyber bulling, further more decreased empathy increases the likelihood of cyber bulling perpetration.

Icellioglu and Ozden (2013) also manifested gender differences in cyber bullying as aggressive behaviors are acceptable in males as compared to females because of socio-cultural factors. Moreover he revealed the similar finding to current study that anger factors are related to the cyber bulling behaviors.

4.1 Conclusions

The whole findings of the research after comparing with the literature review leads us to conclude that cyber bullying is related to the lack of empathy and emotional and behavioral problems are more prominent in those who do cyber bullying behaviors. It was also found that emotional-behavioral problems were the significant predictors of cyber bullying

Furthermore the gender differences were also found as the cyber bullying is high in men as compared to women. Those who got high score in cyber bulling behavior had more high scores in emotional-behavior problems.

4.2 Limitations

Sample size should be large enough to make reliable generalizations.

  • The custom of using net café’s is decreased because of the easy availability of this net service at homes, academic and at occupational settings leads to the difficulty collecting targeted data from net café’s.
  • During data collection an important aspect was also highlighted that hours related to using internet services which was not included in demographic questionnaire may be related with cyber bullying. Further studies can take care of this aspect.
  • Items of the cyber bulling scale required personal information from the participants leads them to be instantaneously suspicious about uncovering the reality of their cyber bullying behaviors.
  • The questionnaire booklet was lengthy, leads to the enhanced boredom of the participants.
  • Researcher was unable to get a complete control over all environmental and social factors this makes it difficult to rule out influences of extra venous variables.

4.3 Recommendations

In the light of these all limitations some recommendations are given for future researchers regarding betterment of the research work.

  • Sample size should be large to make reliable generalizations.
  • Scale should be made and chosen which contains fewer items to reduce the internal confounding variables as fatigue and boredom.

4.4 Implications

Some of the implications of the research are as follows:

  • The research can give new directions for future studies in the field of cyber crimes.
  • Awareness can be given that cyber bullying can be reduced by having our legal authorities, forensic psychologist’s and criminal investigator’s grip over them fully with the help of their own technological enhancements.
  • Furthermore the psychologists should chase the psychiatric problems and cure behind this crime to shun it completely. Because this crime includes the psychological problems as by one researcher (Molchanov, 2014) low level of empathy leads to egoistic strategy and on the other hand low level of empathy means high level of cyber bullying behavior.
  • This research study will allow both forensic psychologists and legal authorities to apprehend coordinately about this topic of cyber bullying to reduce its level of cyber-crimes in society.
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