Method: The participants in this study were 853 children and adolescents in Grades 5 through 9 (mean age = 12.86, 51% is male) in Taiwan using purposive sampling method. School teachers offered great help in scheduling a class time (50 minutes) for students to complete the pen-and-paper questionnaire in their classrooms. The most common method developed by Baron and Kenny (1986) was used to test mediation and associations. Three regression equations were used to define the mediation model that followed four steps sequentially. A Sobel test was also used to confirm the mediations (Sobel, 1982).
Results: Approximately 17.2% of adolescents in this study reported that they had bullied others online in the past six months. No gender differences were found for both victimization and perpetration of cyberbullying as well as for parental control and positive parenting using independent t-test. The results revealed that cyberbullies reported higher levels of revenge motivation, avoidance motivation, and parental psychological control than non-cyberbullies.
The results reveal that psychological control is associated with both cyberbullying victimization and perpetration. The results indicated a partial mediating effect of avoidance on the association between psychological control and cyberbullying victimization, and indicated a full mediating effect of revenge on the association between psychological control and cyberbullying perpetration. The Sobel test results confirmed these mediating effects.
Conclusions and Implications: Although parental controlling may be associated with academic achievement in Asian societies, it could be related to internalizing and externalizing problems. The present study found that parental psychological control was associated cyberbullying victimization and perpetration in a Taiwanese sample. When experiencing high levels of parental psychological control, some adolescents coped their emotions with avoidance, and, in turn, are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying as individuals who cannot easily defend themselves in the online setting. In contrast, when adolescents respond to parental psychological control with the motivation of revenge, they are more likely to act out their emotions by bullying others, especially in online settings. . The findings highlight the need for family-based interventions that address the associations between parental psychological control and adolescents’ negative cognitive process (e.g. revenge/avoidance motivations), which in turn may influence adolescents’ interactions with peers on the Internet.