Experiences of Cyber Harassment, Self- Efficacy and Social Adjustment in Female University Students

Sumaira Ayub (MPhil, 2015-2017) Supervisor: Farah Malik, PhD

The present study investigated the relationship between experiences of cyber harassment, self-efficacy and social adjustment in female university students. It was hypothesized that there would be negative relationship of experiences of cyber harassment and self-efficacy with social adjustment in female university students and that self-efficacy would moderate the relationship between experiences of cyber harassment and social adjustment in female university students. The study comprised of 2 studies. In study 1 construction and validation of Cyber Harassment Experience Scale (CHES) was done along with determining its psychometric properties. Coping with Harassment Questionnaire-Modified (Fitzgerald, 2005) was also translated and adapted in study 1. Study 2 was correlation research. A  purposive  sample of 365 females students of universities in Lahore with age range 17-30 years (M = 20.93, SD = 2.39) was taken. Urdu versions of Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995), Bell’s Social Adjustment Scale (Bell, 1934) and Coping with Harassment Questionnaire- Modified (Fitzgerald, 2005) and CHES were used. The results of Pearson product moment correlation showed significant negative relationship between experiences of cyber harassment and self- efficacy while significant negative relationship was found between self- efficacy and social adjustment. Moreover, unauthorized use of identity information showed negative and cyber terrorization showed positive relationship with social adjustment. The results of moderation through hierarchical regression analysis indicated non- significant interaction between self-efficacy and experiences of cyber harassment (unauthorized use of identity information, use of sexual content, cyber terrorization and intimidation). Further coping with cyber harassment positively predicted the social adjustment, while unauthorized use of identity information and self-efficacy negatively predicted it. However significant differences in job status and faculty of the students were also found. The study will contribute towards the field of criminal and forensic psychology in providing the in depth understanding of the phenomenon of cyber harassment and it may contribute in the development and evolution of the programs to alleviate harassing behaviours at cyber space.

Keywords: Experiences of cyber harassment, self-efficacy, social adjustment, female university students, unauthorized use of identity information, cyber terrorization.

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