As technologies have rapidly grown and the usage of smartphones and social media increased, cyberbullying victimization has become a global concern. Although there is an extensive body of research on cyberbullying, the level of sophistication and validation of the measurement tool varied greatly across previous studies, and most of the earlier measurements were developed in Western countries. Furthermore, there are few standardized measurement tools in South Korea that measure cyberbullying victimization effectively, and reflect the rapid change of the cyberbullying phenomenon. Therefore, this study aims to develop and validate a cyberbullying victimization scale using a mixed-methods approach and test for its reliability and validity.
An extensive literature review on the existing cyberbullying scales was first conducted, and item pools were generated through a concept mapping approach, which is “a structured conceptualization process.” Using this method, a large set of statements on cyberbullying victimization by the participants was compiled; thereafter, these statements were sorted into piles based on their perceived similarity and were rated. Additionally, qualitative expert review, Delphi method, reliability, and validity testing were performed to finalize the statements. To validate the scale, 265 Korean adolescents were recruited using the purposive non-probability sampling method. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed to create subscales in the cyberbullying victimization scale, and Cronbach’s α was calculated for the whole scale as well as the subscales to assess the internal consistency reliability. Additionally, the factorial validity and criterion-related validity were tested.
Results from the EFA yielded a total of 19 items for the cyberbullying victimization scale, with an overall reliability of .80. The scale was further divided into three subscales, verbal and sexual attack (five items; e.g., I have constantly received unwanted sexual contents, pornographic sites, photos, and videos from someone online), intrusiveness and exclusion (five items; e.g., I have been repeatedly invited to or kicked out from the chatroom), and verbal and financial threat (four items; e.g., I have been extorted for online money, cash, game items, or mobile data). The results of the confirmatory factor analysis supported the three-factor model for this scale, presenting an adequate-to-high model fit. Additionally, six external criteria that have been proven to be associated with cyberbullying victimization were used to test criterion-based validity. The cyberbullying victimization scale was significantly correlated with all six external criteria; however, the highest correlation was found with self-efficacy, followed by stress, depression, smartphone addiction, gaming addiction, and self-esteem.
Conclusions and Implications:
By conducting several reliability and validity tests, this scale was found to have strong psychometric properties. Furthermore, the results of this study showed that the subscales and items of this scale cover the items emphasized in the previous literature, and include the latest and distinctive items that differ from other scales. Considering these benefits, this scale could be actively used in various clinical and school settings in South Korea and other countries.