A systematic literature review of the longitudinal risk factors associated with juvenile cyber-deviance

Josephine Virgara, Tyson Whitten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Cyber-deviance has been studied extensively over the past two decades, though owing to the elusive nature of cyberspace and the anonymity it affords its users, research has yet to paint a clear picture of the risk factors that predict online deviance. Early identification of these factors is critical to the development of effective crime prevention strategies. To date, a comprehensive review of the longitudinal risk factors associated with juvenile cyber-deviance, in all its forms, has yet to be examined. This study aims to address this research gap by conducting an exploratory systematic literature review appraising current knowledge on the risk factors associated with juvenile cyber-deviance. Various databases were systematically searched for relevant English-language journal articles comprising longitudinal studies on young people aged 12–17 years. Eligible studies included an outcome measure of any distinct form of deviance perpetrated using digital devices and/or the Internet, potential risk and/or protective factors, and quantitative analyses. This search yielded 26,926 studies, of which 38 met the inclusion criteria. Most of the studies found examined the longitudinal risk factors associated with cyberbullying, followed by studies on sexting, cyber dating abuse, and general cyber-delinquency. Results indicated several longitudinal factors were consistently associated with cyber-deviance (e.g., gender, physical bullying, low self-control, child-rearing, parental attachment, and deviant peers). Physical bullying had the most consistent and pronounced association with cyber-deviance. Most studies had a relatively sound methodological quality; however, the small number of studies and their concentration on cyberbullying requires that the findings be interpreted with caution. Additional high-quality research is needed examining the longitudinal risk factors associated with all types of cyber-deviance to identify vulnerable young people and prioritise them for intervention prospectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107613
Number of pages20
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date19 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


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