A new (October 2014) study (http://jea.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/10/27/0272431614556351.full.pdf+html) examines the reciprocal associations between cyberbullying behavior and young adolescents’ social status. For this purpose, a two-wave panel study with an 8-month time interval was conducted among an entire grade of 154 secondary school pupils (age 12-14). The survey featured items on traditional bullying and cyberbullying as well as peer-nomination questions on sociometric and perceived popularity.
Cyberbullying was related to subsequent increases in perceived popularity of the perpetrators. In contrast, traditional bullying perpetration was not longitudinally associated with social status during the studied period.
Although perceived popularity was also expected to precede cyberbullying behavior, this was not observed. Taken together, the results suggest that electronic forms of bullying, rather than traditional forms, can provide a means to acquire additional perceived popularity in early adolescence. The findings warrant future research on the factors that moderate the association between cyberbullying and social status.