Cyber dating abuse: prevalence, context, and relationship with offline dating aggression

Psychol Rep. 2015 Apr;116(2):565-85. doi: 10.2466/21.16.PR0.116k22w4. Epub 2015 Mar 23.


The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) as tools to intimidate, harass, and control the partner has been, so far, little studied in the literature. The aim of this study was to determine the extension and sex differences of victimization of cyber dating abuse, as well as the context in which it occurs, and its relationship with offline psychological and physical aggressions. The sample consisted of 433 college students ages 18 to 30 years. The results showed that over 50% of the participants had been victims of some type of cyber dating abuse in the last six months. The most common behavior was the use of ICT to control the partner. Also, victims of cyber dating abuse were victimized repeatedly, an average of 23 times in the last six months. The data also showed that cyber dating abuse appear usually in a context of jealousy. Finally, the results revealed a significant relationship between cyber dating abuse and offline psychological dating aggressions. Limitations and future lines of research are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Courtship / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Jealousy*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult