The Digital Abuse Study: Response to Digital Abuse

The Response to Digital Abuse measure uses 5 items from the MTV and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Digital Abuse Survey. It asks young people (14-24 years old) how they have responded to personal experiences of digital abuse and how they would respond to hypothetical digital abuse situations involving another person.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


1. Below is a list of steps someone could take in response to the things you told us earlier in the survey had happened to you. Please mark each step you, personally took in response to any of the situations you said you had experienced.

  • Changed your email, IM or social networking passwords
  • Changed your email address, screen name or cell phone number
  • Deleted your social networking profile
  • Told parent(s)
  • Asked a friend for help
  • Asked a brother or sister for help
  • Called a help line or found an online help forum
  • Told a trusted adult who is not a family member
  • Reported the person to their Internet provider or website
  • Asked a family member, who is a not a parent, brother or sister for help
  • Asked to person who did it to stop
  • Reported the person to the police
  • Ignored the person who did it
  • Retaliated against the person who did it
  • Did nothing at all about it

Response Options:*
I took this step in response
I did not take this step in response

2. Thinking about the most recent time you took each of the [above] steps, for each of the steps you took in response to situations you faced, please indicate whether that response did more to make the situation better, did more to make the situation worse, or if it had no effect on the situation.

Response Options:*
Made the situation better
Made the situation worse
Had no effect on the situation
Not sure what effect it had on the situation

3. If you saw someone being mean to another person on Facebook, Twitter or another social networking site such as Tumblr, how likely would you be to respond by asking them to stop?
4. If you personally heard someone being mean to another person, how likely would you be to respond by asking them to stop?

Response Options:*
Very likely
Somewhat likely
Not too likely
Not at all likely

5. If answered “Not at all likely” in the above questions: Which comes closer to your feelings about why you would be unlikely to ask someone to stop? Would you say that’s more because…

Response Options:*
You wouldn’t be comfortable intervening
You don’t see anything wrong with this type of behavior

* Numeric codes for the Response Options above were not provided in the original report.

Scoring Procedures

Not Applicable

Original Citation

Tompson, T., Benz, J. & Agiesta, J. (2013). The digital abuse study: Experiences of teens and young adults.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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