Associations between witnessing and perpetrating online hate in eight Countries: The buffering effects of problem-focused coping

Sebastian Wachs, Michelle F. Wright, Ruthaychonnee Sittichai, Ritu Singh, Ramakrishna Biswal, Eun Mee Kim, Soeun Yang, Manuel Gámez-Guadix, Carmen Almendros, Katerina Flora, Vassiliki Daskalou, Evdoxia Maziridou

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Abstract

Online hate is a topic that has received considerable interest lately, as online hate represents a risk to self-determination and peaceful coexistence in societies around the globe. However, not much is known about the explanations for adolescents posting or forwarding hateful online material or how adolescents cope with this newly emerging online risk. Thus, we sought to better understand the relationship between a bystander to and perpetrator of online hate, and the moderating effects of problem-focused coping strategies (e.g., assertive, technical coping) within this relationship. Self-report questionnaires on witnessing and committing online hate and assertive and technical coping were completed by 6829 adolescents between 12 and 18 years of age from eight countries. The results showed that increases in witnessing online hate were positively related to being a perpetrator of online hate. Assertive and technical coping strategies were negatively related with perpetrating online hate. Bystanders of online hate reported fewer instances of perpetrating online hate when they reported higher levels of assertive and technical coping strategies, and more frequent instances of perpetrating online hate when they reported lower levels of assertive and technical coping strategies. In conclusion, our findings suggest that, if effective, prevention and intervention programs that target online hate should consider educating young people about problem-focused coping strategies, self-assertiveness, and media skills. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3992
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume16
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Wachs, S., Wright, M. F., Sittichai, R., Singh, R., Biswal, R., Kim, E. M., Yang, S., Gámez-Guadix, M., Almendros, C., Flora, K., Daskalou, V., & Maziridou, E. (2019). Associations between witnessing and perpetrating online hate in eight Countries: The buffering effects of problem-focused coping. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(20), [3992]. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203992