Objective: Previous research has established a body of knowledge with regard to traditional bullying behaviour, with this knowledge recently expanding to understand and incorporate cyberbullying. However, associated variables such as the darker traits of personality, specifically Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy, have been relatively neglected. The aim of the current research was to address this gap in the literature, and to contribute to knowledge on the role of these traits as predictive factors for involvement in traditional and cyber bullying.
Method: This research was explored using correlational and cross-sectional designs across a sample of 1,335 13 to 19 year olds attending post primary school in the Republic of Ireland. Adolescents completed the Short Dark Triad, Cyber Victimisation Scale, Cyber Bullying Scale, Traditional Victimisation Scale and Traditional Bullying Scale.
Results: With regard to involvement in bully/victim problems, 75.7% of adolescents were involved in the cyber form in some way as either a victim, bully or bully-victim in cyber bullying and 84.9% confirmed this in relation to traditional bullying. In addition, all three traits of the Dark Triad were significant predictors in cyber and traditional bullying behaviour and significant differences were reported for actor groups of online and offline behaviour across the Dark Triad.
Conclusion: Over three-quarters of these adolescents were involved as one of the actor groups in cyber or traditional bully/victim problems, and the dark traits of personality were predictive factors for involvement in bullying others on and offline. These findings extends knowledge of the area and supports research that has touched on elements of this work previously, specifically identifying variables for involvement as a bully in this behaviour. Consequentially, schools and researchers should be cognisant of these traits in the school environment when designing intervention and prevention programmes.