Hezron Onditi – Final Ph.D. Defence (HDLC)

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Room 200, Graduate Student Centre (6371 Crescent Road), UBC Point Grey Campus


Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Shapka (ECPS, HDLC)
Supervisory Committee: Dr. Shelley Hymel (ECPS, HDLC) & Dr. Danielle Law (Wilfred Laurier University)
University Examiners: Dr. Samson Nashon (EDCP) & Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl (ECPS, HDLC)
External Examiner: Dr. Faye Mishna (University of Toronto)


Title: Cyberbullying in Tanzania: Adolescents’ Experiences and The Psychosocial Factors Influencing Coping Strategies



Using a socio-ecological model, this study explored Tanzanian adolescents’ perspectives on cyberbullying, how they cope with it, as well as how personal factors (social assertiveness and self-esteem), and social factors (relationships with parents, peers, and teachers) influences coping strategies. A total of 778 adolescents, aged 14 to 18 in Form I to Form IV (grades 8 to 11) responded to a self-report questionnaire, and a subset of participants (n = 20), who identified themselves as victims of cyberbullying, participated in follow-up, semi-structured interviews.

Results showed that cyberbullying is a concern among Tanzanian adolescents. In particular, victims reported experiencing negative emotional, social, cognitive, behavioural, and academic outcomes as a result of online victimization. Spending more time online, sharing cell phones, and accessing digital devices in a private place were positively related to cybervictimization; although using digital devices in a private place and time online (for older and male adolescents) were positively related to cyberbullying as well. Victims reported using active, avoidance, social support, distraction, and retaliation as coping strategies for a number of reasons including: 1) to relieve stress; 2) to forget and refocus; 3) to hold perpetrators accountable; and, 4) to be inaccessible to the perpetrator(s). Results also indicated that more assertive adolescents with strong relationships with their teachers were less likely to choose distraction and retaliation coping strategies. Unexpectedly, older adolescents with positive relationships with their parents were more likely to adopt retaliation coping. Findings point to the need for culturally relevant cyberbullying education and intervention programs that consider technology, individual characteristics, and social context factors. Implications and suggestions for intervention, practice, and future research are discussed.