Macquarie University
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Empathic efficacy and cyberbullying defending: exploring the influence of cyberbullying victimisation and moral disengagement

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posted on 2022-03-28, 17:56 authored by Yee Wah Li
Empathy and moral disengagement have been researched as protective and enabling factors, respectively, for face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying. These factors have been mostly researched in isolation; however, there is a need to understand the interactions between these two variables across different contexts of bullying and participant roles and to fully understand how empathy and moral disengagement are implicated in bullying episodes. To investigate this issue, this thesis comprises two parts: a literature review and an empirical paper. The literature review describes how empathy and moral disengagement are associated with different participant roles in face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying. The empirical paper presents a study in which 540 grade 7 and grade 9 students answered a questionnaire about their experiences in different cyberbullying roles (perpetrator, victim and defender), and their empathic efficacy and moral disengagement. The results showed that empathic efficacy and cyberbullying victimisation were positively associated with cyberbullying defending. Additionally, cyberbullying victimisation moderated the effects of empathic efficacy on cyberbullying defending; specifically, empathic efficacy was positively associated with cyber defending at all levels of cyberbullying victimisation, and this association was stronger at higher levels of cyberbullying victimisation. Together, the two components of this thesis suggest there needs to be more research on the interactions between factors associated with cyberbullying defending and that training to enhance empathic efficacy should be included in intervention programs to increase cyberbullying defending.


Table of Contents

A review of the literature on empathy and moral disengagement among participant roles in face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying -- Empathic efficacy and cyberbullying defending : exploring the influence of cyberbullying victimisation and moral disengagement -- Appendices.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Kay Bussey


Copyright Yee Wah Li 2019. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (viii, 116 pages) tables

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