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Divergent Perspectives: Exploring a Multiple Informant Approach to Cyberbullying Victimization and Perpetration

European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research

Published online on


The present research adopts a multiple informant approach to identify victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying. Similar approaches have been successfully applied in the field of traditional bullying, and they are highly relevant for studying cyberbullying as well. Three informants can provide key perspectives on cyberbullying incidents: victims, perpetrators, and bystanders. To collect data on these actors, all eighth-grade students in 11 secondary schools were invited to participate in a survey. In total 1458 respondents completed peer-nomination questions on cyberbullying involvement. The results indicated that the prevalence of cyberbullying varied depending on the type of informants that was consulted. In addition, limited overlap was observed between the reports of different informants, resulting in different profiles of victims and perpetrators, depending on the informants that identified them. In sum, different informants tended to have divergent views on cyberbullying, which has important implications. It warrants accurate reporting and critical reflection on the sources of data in cyberbullying research. Moreover, it demonstrates the need to study a more diverse set of informants to advance the understanding of cyberbullying and to enhance prevention efforts.