Different Cyberbullying Experiences and Sensemaking Processes about the Sociocultural Context

Raffaele De Luca Picione, Elvira Martini, Sara Cicchella, Alessandro Germani, Ermelinda Maio, Mirella Dragone, Gina Troisi, Simone Rollo, Alessandro Musetti, Claudia Venuleo


Introduction: Cyberbullying represents one of the main current concerns of parents, educators and clinicians on youth. It consists of aggressive, offensive and injurious behaviors against a person by means of electronic device and sharing abusive content on the web. Previous studies have highlighted that cyberbullying is associated with individual factors, such as personality traits, age, sex and status, often disregarding the value attributed to one's own context of life. According to the Semiotic Dynamic Cultural Psychology Theory (SDPCT), the cultural context can be conceived as a net of interconnected trajectories of meanings, grounding the way of perceiving and experiencing a social environment, and enabling individuals to orient themselves in their material and social world.

Aims: The present research aims to explore the relation between directly acted, suffered and indirectly observed behaviors of cyberbullying, the fear to be victim, the awareness of its harmfulness and sensemaking processes of one’s own context.

Method: Six hundred twenty-four high school students (Mean AGE = 16.10; SD = 1.60) participated in this study. Participants filled in a questionnaire, consisting of two parts. The former was composed by six scales constructed ad hoc to explore the experience of acted, suffered and observed cyberbullying, the fear of being cyberbullied and the awareness of cyberbullying’s harmfulness. The latter the View of Context (VOC) questionnaire was used to map sensemaking processes through which people interpret their social context.

Findings: Results shows significant associations between acted and suffered forms of cyberbullying, between fear of cyberbullying and the awareness of its harmfulness. The acted cyberbullying and suffered cyberbullying are both associated with representation of the context as devaluated (family, schools, social institutions are considered not welcoming, useful or reliable) and deprived of opportunities for the future.

Conclusion: On clinical plan, the study suggests the importance of considering the relationships between bullying experienced and acted upon, as well as the role of meaning-making processes in understanding phenomena of social prevarication.


Cyberbullying; View of the context; Sensemaking process; Clinical psychology.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13129/2282-1619/mjcp-3766


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