College students' electronic victimization in friendships and dating relationships: anticipated distress and associations with risky behaviors

Violence Vict. 2011;26(4):410-29. doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.26.4.410.


This study investigated college students' reports of electronic victimization in friendships and dating relationships. We examined 22 items representing four categories of electronic victimization: hostility, humiliation, exclusion, and intrusiveness. Nearly all participants (92%) reported some electronic victimization in the past year, with males reporting more victimization and females anticipating more distress. Both females and males anticipated more distress from electronic victimization in dating relationships than friendships. More actual experience with electronic victimization related to lower anticipated distress. Electronic victimization was associated with females' alcohol use, even after controlling for other victimization experiences. Discussion focuses on the contextualized nature of electronic victimization, and on the importance of understanding what makes electronic victimization highly distressing for some individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Courtship*
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Friends
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Social Facilitation
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult