Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2018


The act of bullying within school systems has existed for a very long time; so long that there are decades of research that investigate the negative psychological impacts of bullying. However, currently, bullying has taken on a cyber form thanks to the invention of the internet and all the social media apps that follow. Young adolescents are using social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram to keep in constant contact with each other, but bullies have used this tool as another way to harass their victims and send cruel and threatening messages to their victims. Within the last fifteen years, cyberbullying has gained increased coverage in the news, especially when teenagers end their own lives following excessive bullying online and by text messages. In response, research has been conducted on cyberbullying and suicide, and legislation has been developed to regulate and establish consequences for cyberbullying. This thesis provides a systematic literature review of research that has been done on cyberbullying and suicide. It begins by defining cyberbullying and presenting some nationally publicized cases in which cyberbullying appeared to play a role in the victims’ suicide. Next, characteristics of the bullies, as well as their motivations, are considered. Research on the relations between cyberbullying and suicide are then reviewed, with a discussion of limitations of these studies. Finally, a discussion of how the media have reported incidents of cyberbullying and suicide is provided, followed by a consideration of some of the school and legal policies concerning cyberbullying. With this thesis, I hope to bring more awareness of the issue of cyberbullying and inspire further scientific research as well as legal action and changes within schools.

Included in

Psychology Commons