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“It is far safer to be feared than loved”: Why do some individuals become bullies and others bully-victims? Open Access


Other title
Traditional bullying
Cyber bullying
Theory of Planned Behaviour
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Leenaars, Lindsey S
Supervisor and department
Rinaldi, Christina (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Mrazik, Martin (Educational Psychology)
Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
da Costa, Jose (Educational Policy Studies)
Boechler, Patricia (Educational Psychology)
Bosacki, Sandra (Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education)
Department of Educational Psychology
Psychological Studies in Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Although a wide range of theories have been applied to the study of bullying and victimization, the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB; Ajzen, 1993, 2002), has not as of yet been applied to the study of bullying behaviour. The present study employed Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to assess a model of traditional and cyberbullying and bully-victimization based on TPB. The preliminary objectives of the present study were to evaluate the frequency of traditional and cyberbullying and bully-victimization in the present sample, and to assess whether there were sex differences in the different roles and forms of bullying. It was found that overall, 11.08% of participants were classified as traditional bullies, 10.56% as cyberbullies, 13.21% as traditional bully-victims, and 10.56% as cyberbully-victims. Sex differences were found in traditional bullying and bully-victimization with boys reporting higher levels than girls, but not in cyberbullying or bully-victimization. The main goal of the present study was to evaluate a model of traditional and cyberbullying and bully-victimization based on TPB, which included the following factors: psychological adjustment, self-concept, attitude and beliefs, behavioural control, behavioural intention, and bullying behaviour. It was hypothesized that although the model would be similar for bullies and bully-victims, it would also differ for the two groups. The final models, which were different for the various bullying roles (i.e., bully versus bully-victim) and forms of bullying (traditional versus cyber), fit the data well. However, although the final model accounted for 40% of the variance in traditional bullying and 34% of the variance in traditional bully-victimization, it only accounted for 0.05% of the variance in cyberbullying and 0.06% of the variance in cyberbully-victimization. The results were discussed in relation to TPB and previous findings. Limitations and directions for future research were also addressed.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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