Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Cyberbullying is a global and national public health issue with the potential to affect the healthy social and emotional development of adolescents and young adults. There has been an 80% increase in social media use in 18-29 year olds between 2004 and 2014 (Gahagen, Vaterlaus, & Frost, 2016). In a study of 14-24 year olds (MTV/AP, 2011), 76% identified cyberbullying as a serious problem, with more than 56% reporting they have experienced cyberbullying. Cyberbullying research has been conducted predominantly with adolescents (ages 11-18 years), however scant research has been conducted with older adolescents and young adults (ages 18-30 years). This classical grounded theory study explored the process of cyberbullying victimization from the perspective of 15 young women ages 18-30 years old. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using constant comparison. The substantive theory that emerged from the data is comprised of the core category, Restoring Trust, and five key categories: Becoming the Target, Suffering in Silence, Reaching Out, Receiving Support, and Becoming Empowered. Of significance is the discovery of trust as the dynamic that moves the process forward. Trust is initially lost when the young woman becomes the target, and then restored through the process of reaching out for help, receiving support, and becoming empowered. Being believed is the gateway to restoring trust. Knowledge and insights gained from this study will inform prevention and intervention strategies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Nursing Commons