Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland | Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Note:  Address for correspondence: Sabrina Ruggieri, Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Muesmattstrasse 45, CH-3009 Bern, Switzerland. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Based on the notion that the history of victimization has an impact on the sensitivity to current victimization situations this study investigated whether victims of bullying show more pronounced responses to single episodes of social exclusion. We examined whether victimization experiences in school are associated with responses to ostracism in a virtual ball tossing game (Cyberball). We compared two groups of students: 26 victims of bullying and 32 students not involved in bully/victim problems (mean age = 12.12). After playing Cyberball, the victimized students in the ostracism condition scored significantly lower on feelings of meaningful existence compared to the ostracized students not involved in bully/victim problems. These results strongly support the idea that previously victimized students are more affected by experiences of social exclusion than students who are not involved in bully/victim problems.
Keywords: Cyberball, victimization, bullying, social exclusion