Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Don Davis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Stacey McElroy-Heltzel, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Cirleen DeBlaere, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Joel Meyers, Ph.D.

Abstract

Online discrimination towards women and people of color has reached epidemic levels (Fox, Cruz, & Young Lee, 2015). Any woman or person of color who uses the internet runs the risk of attracting online users who would engage them in demeaning ways. As such, it is important that researchers are able to assess and understand these experiences and the possible effects on their well-being. In Chapter 1, I conducted a systematic review of cyberbullying measures. Although studies have documented the link between cyberbullying experiences and stress (i.e., psychological distress or perceived stress), there is a need to explore factors, such as intersectional identities, that may amplify this relationship. Using minority stress theory and intersectionality theory as a guiding framework, in Chapter 2, I examined three moderators of the relationship between cybervictimization experiences and stress—namely, attributing offenses to one’s race, gender, or both (i.e., being a woman of color). Data were collected from a sample of 275 adult women of color recruited from a large urban university in the southeast and through electronic listservs and social media platforms. Results from the study revelated that cybervictimization experiences were significant and positively related to both measures of stress. My primary hypotheses were partially supported. Attributions of cybervictimization to gender or race were associated with both psychological distress and perceived stress. These results held even after controlling for neuroticism. I did not, however, find that the interaction of race and gender attributions amplified the relationship. I discuss implications for future research and practical implications for practitioners.

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