Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


The Role of Coping Socialization by Peers and Parents in Adolescents' Coping with Cyber-victimization

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Eric Dubow (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Thomas Chibucos (Committee Co-Chair)

Third Advisor

Dara Musher-Eizenman (Committee Co-Chair)

Fourth Advisor

Carolyn Tompsett (Committee Co-Chair)


We examined the role of parent and peer coping socialization in predicting coping with cyber-victimization among 329 (49% male; 70% white) 7th and 8th grade adolescents. Adolescents self-reported their own strategies for coping with cyber-victimization, the strategies they said their parents/peers suggested they use to cope with cyber-victimization (“coaching”), and the quality of their relationships with parents/peers. For 81 of these adolescents, their parents completed a survey on the strategies that they coach their adolescents to use in response to the issue of cyberv-ictimization. Consistent with previous research, adolescents reported using positive coping strategies (e.g., problem solving, distraction) more than other strategies such as distancing and retaliation. Intraclass correlations between parents’ reports of their own coaching and adolescents’ perceptions of the strategies their parents coached were modest in magnitude, suggesting that adolescents are only somewhat accurate in identifying the strategies suggested by their parents. However, the types of coping strategies that adolescents reported being coached by both their parents and peers predicted the coping strategies that adolescents reported using. Multiple regression analysis, and follow-up comparison of regression coefficients, indicated that peer socialization was more strongly related to one’s own coping than parent socialization for all coping strategies except for distancing and problem solving. Finally, when the child-parent relationship quality was highly positive, adolescents were more likely to use the coached family/adult social support strategies. However, relationship quality with peers and parents did not moderate the relation between coping socialization and adolescents’ use of any other coping strategy. These results are promising because the strategies that adolescents report using for coping are positive coping strategies and the least reported coping strategies are distancing and retaliation. We were able to infer that adolescents’ coping is, in fact, related to what they think their parents and peers are coaching them to do. However, research is still needed to clarify how adolescents learn that using positive strategies is a more effective decision than using negative coping strategies when coping with cyber-victimization.