Currently, the enormous quantity of research on cyberbullying during adolescence contrasts with those studies carried out in the university environment. The objective of this study was to analyze the predictive capacity of family environment and emotional intelligence with regard to cyberbullying in university students. The European Cyberbullying Intervention Project Questionnaire, the Social Climate in the Family Scale and the Trait Meta-Mood Scale-24 were administered to a sample of 1282 university students (594 men and 688 women) between the ages of 18 and 46 (M = 21.65; DT = 4.25). The results revealed that a deteriorated family environment increases the probability of being both a victim and an aggressor of cyberbullying, whereas a favorable family environment decreases this probability. Likewise, the dimensions of emotional intelligence were predictive variables of participation as victims or aggressors of cyberbullying. The conclusions of this study are of special relevance given that they do not only bring about a problem that has a little knowledge of the university setting, but because they also note that intervention programs should consider the influence of the family environment during the early adulthood period, as well as the relevance of emotional level of these university students.
Recently, there has been increasing concern over the maltreatment between peers taking place in new spaces, scenarios or virtual realities. The increasing and generalized use of the new information and communications technology (ICT) has led to new forms of school bullying or cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as «a type of aggressive and intentional behavior that repeats frequently over time through the use, by an individual or group, of electronic devices, on a victim who cannot easily defend him/herself » (Smith et al., 2008, p. 376). Therefore, the bullies, belonging to this new generation having a mastery of the ICT, take advantage of the multiple resources that the technological advances offer them in order to carry out this aggressive behavior towards their peers. Multiple and varied means are used, including email, instant text messages, bribes, threats, the publication of confidential information, identity theft, the manipulation of photographs, the recording of physical aggressions that are later disseminated, etc. Currently, the existence of cyberbullying in developed countries is estimated to even exceed the levels of traditional bullying (Buelga, Cava, Musitu, & Torralba, 2015). Although the prevalence of cyberbullying varies based on distinct factors, in general, scientific studies suggest an increase in its prevalence amongst youth between the ages of 12 and 14, decreasing over the later years of adolescence (Tokunaga, 2010). However, more and more studies are indicating ongoing cyberbullying, with a high percentage of cases, in the university environment, having prevalence rates of around 20% (Dilmac, 2009; Finn, 2004; Macdonald & RobertsPittman, 2010). Thus, Finn (2004) interviewed 2,002 US university students, finding that between 10 and 15% of them affirmed to having received repeated emails or instant messages with a threatening, insulting or aggressive content, and over half of the students had received unwanted pornography. Along the same lines, Dilmac (2009) found that 22.5% of the examined university students affirmed to having intimidated another student at least once and 55.3% reported to having been a victim of cyberbullying at least once in their life. On the other hand, the enormous number of studies on traditional bullying and cyberbullying during adolescence contrasts with the limited number of works that have been carried out in the university setting. However, the few studies that do exist with university samples have revealed the negative impact of cyberbullying both in aggressors as well as in victims. So, recently, it has been found that university students who are victims of cyberbullying have high levels of anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem and selfefficacy, helplessness, irritability, loneliness, rage sleep disorders, difficulties in concentrating and absenteeism (Aricak, 2016; Faucher, Jackson, & Cassidy, 2014; Schenk & Fremouw, 2012), and in the more extreme cases, even suicidal ideation (Schenk & Fremouw, 2012), whereas the aggressors reveal externalizing behaviors that are associated with a lack of empathy with the victims, aggressive behavior the consumption of drugs and absenteeism (Aricak, 2009; Hinduja & Patchin, 2007). Similarly, the victims of cyberbullying have a high probability of abandoning their university studies, with the serious labor repercussions that this may imply (Myers & Cowie, 2017).