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Patterns of Cyber Harassment and Perpetration among College Students in the United States: A Test of Routine Activities Theory

Wick, S. Elizabeth; Nagoshi, Craig; Basham, Randy; Jordan, Catheleen; Kim, Youn Kyoung; Nguyen, Anh Phuong; Lehmann, Peter

K. Jaishankar

A sample of 298 college students at a large southwestern state university (female 68.8%) completed an online survey about their experiences of being victimized by and engaging in perpetration of cyber-harassment of romantic partners. The findings partially supported the application of Routine Activities Theory to understand the predictors of cyber-harassment for victims and victimizers. Victimization for women was associated with greater general risk-taking propensity and reported online exposure and disclosure. For both men and women, greater risk propensity and online disclosure were associated with greater reports of perpetrating such harassment. A significant interaction resulted from the effects of risk propensity in increasing the likelihood of engaging in cyber-harassment being attenuated for those high in online exposure.

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