University of Twente Student Theses


Mental Wellbeing and Cybercrime (The Psychological Impact of Cybercrime on the Victim)

Ahe, L. von der (2022) Mental Wellbeing and Cybercrime (The Psychological Impact of Cybercrime on the Victim).

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Abstract:The prevalence of cyber-attacks is increasing constantly, all over the globe. However, the psychological impact of cybercrime is still understudied. There is limited research on the differences in psychological impact between different types of cybercrime. This study aimed to explore such differences regarding three types of cybercrime (hacking, person-centered, and financial cybercrime). According to the Shattered Assumption Theory, after experiencing cybercrime, the victim’s assumption of the world is violated, which results in feelings of anger, anxiety, fear, shame/embarrassment, and loss of self-esteem. Those negative emotions were hypothesized to be especially severe after experiencing person-centered cybercrime, as the victim’s interpersonal trust is most disrupted. Additionally, it was hypothesized that the negative impact of psychological impact would increase when the victim was familiar with the offender and had extensive contact with the offender before the crime. Participants read one scenario about each type of cybercrime, including several additions (describing familiarity and intensity of contact). Afterwards, their psychological impact was measured with a self-developed scale assessing those concepts. Results indicated that experiencing person-centered cybercrime led to a greater psychological impact and having intensive contact with the offender enhanced the psychological impact. However, knowing the offender did not influence the psychological impact. Consequently, future research should further investigate the impact of person-centered cybercrime, and how psychologists can improve their treatment of victims of such, as they need special attention. For the treatment of cybercrime victims, awareness about intensive contact with the offender is crucial. Generally, more research is required on the victim-offender relationship.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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