College students and cyberbullying: how social media use affects social anxiety and social comparison

Travis N. Lam, D. Brayden Jensen, Joseph D. Hovey, Michelle E. Roley-Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cyberbullying is defined as aggression intending to inflict harm on others by electronic communication technologies. Cyberbullying has become more common as social media has grown and is accompanied by negative mental health consequences. Research on cyberbullying and mental health in adolescents suggests cyberbullying victimization moderates the relationship between social comparison and social anxiety, but little is known about this phenomenon in college students. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore the relationship between cyberbullying, social anxiety, and social comparison amongst college students. A convenience sample of 486 undergraduate students from southern Texas and northern Ohio completed a PyschData survey that assessed social anxiety, social comparison, experiences with be a cyberbullying victim, perpetrator, or both. We found that social anxiety was associated with cyberbullying victimization and perpetration; however, social comparison was not. Cyberbullying victimization was not a moderator between social comparison and anxiety, suggesting that unlike adolescence, college students' experiences with these constructs may be unique to their developmental level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12556
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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