Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 1-1-2016


Worldwide Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



School Psychology


School of Education

Committee Chair

Laura Crothers

Committee Member

Tammy Hughes

Committee Member

David Delmonico

Committee Member

Gibbs Kanyango


cyberbullying, emotional intelligence, suicidal behavior


For post-secondary students, there are numerous risks to their wellbeing, Principal among these risks is suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in young adulthood (Schwartz, 2006; Schwartz, 2011). Another concern appears to be an increasing susceptibility for victimization by peers through bullying, particularly cyberbullying, among youth attending colleges and universities in the United States (Hinduja & Patchin, 2006). One particular protective factor identified in the extant literature is emotional intelligence, which serves as a mediator for decreasing suicidal behavior (Cha & Nock, 2009). In this study, the researcher examined whether a history of cyberbullying predicted suicidal behavior and whether higher levels of emotional intelligence was predictive of suicidal behavior in college students who identified as victims of cyberbullying, when controlling for depressive symptoms. In a sample of 891 college students (76% female; 89.8% Caucasian), regression results indicated that a history of cyberbullying victimization accounted for 14.2% of the variance of suicidal behaviors. The second research question focused upon only victims of cyberbullying; thus, any non-victims were excluded from the second analysis. Consequently, the total number of respondents included in the second analysis was 276. Regression results in this analysis also indicated that when combined, both depression and higher levels of emotional intelligence accounted for 14% of the variance in suicidal behavior. In order to parse the contribution of each of the variables, depression was entered into the analysis independent of emotional intelligence and accounted for 11.7% of suicidal behavior. Therefore, emotional intelligence was found to account for 2.3% of the variance of suicidal behavior. The low amount of variance predicted by emotional intelligence suggests that this may not be an avenue for meaningful intervention in addressing the propensity for suicide among cyberbullied college students.