Bias-based cyberbullying involves repeated hurtful actions online that devalue or harass one’s peers specific to an identity-based characteristic. Cyberbullying in general has received increased scholarly scrutiny over the last decade, but the subtype of bias-based cyberbullying has been much less frequently investigated, with no known previous studies involving youth across the United States. The current study explores whether empathy is related to cyberbullying offending generally and bias-based cyberbullying specifically. Using a national sample of 1644 12- to 15-year-olds, we find that those higher in empathy were significantly less likely to cyberbully others in general, and cyberbully others based on their race or religion. When the two sub-facets of empathy were considered separately, only cognitive empathy was inversely related to cyberbullying, while (contrary to expectation) affective empathy was not. Findings support focused efforts in schools to improve empathy as a means to reduce the incidence of these forms of interpersonal harm.
Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2022). Bias-Based Cyberbullying Among Early Adolescents: The Role of Cognitive and Affective Empathy. Journal of Early Adolescence, 42(9), 1204–1235.
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