|dc.description.abstract||In the past, lifestyle exposure/routine activity theory was used to explain different types of crimes, including those involving interpersonal violence (e.g. robbery, assault). Empirical studies testing the utility of the theory produced mixed support for the model. The lack of clear de finitions and precise, unambiguous measures of the key theoretical concepts (motivated offender, suitable target and capable guardianship) were among the possible reasons for the observed inconsistent empirical evidence. With the advent of the Internet and the emergence of cybercrimes (e.g. cyberstalking, cyberharassment), attempts have been made to explore the empirical utility of lifestyle-routine activity theory to account for personal victimization as a consequence of cyberabuse. Similar to the terrestrial research, cyberabuse scholarship produced inconsistent empirical support for the model. Some criminologists believed that lifestyle-routine activity theory may not be suitable to account for cybercrimes due to the spatial and temporal disconnect between the theory and the environment- unless the theory is adapted speci fically to cyberspace.
This thesis explored the potential reasons for the weak empirical support for lifestyle exposure/routine activity theory in cyberspace, and proposed several avenues for adapting the theory to cyberspace by developing new definitions and measurements of key concepts speci fically designed for cyberspace. This was achieved through an in-depth examination of cyberabuse crime events using qualitative and quantitative research methods: 1) in-depth interviews with principal agents (offenders, victims and guardians) of cyberabuse incidents, 2) content analysis of media reports and 3) computer mediated communications describing cyberabuse events, and 4) a survey of a large online panel.
This research contributed to the existing knowledge base in the following ways. First, it reviewed the existing scholarship on the empirical utility of lifestyle-routine activities theory to explain cyber abuse victimization and found that the produced empirical evidence is mixed. Second, it identi fied potential sources of the mixed empirical results. Third, it proposed that a more innovative statistical analyses (Bayesian Model Averaging) be employed in modelling cyber abuse victimization. Fourth, it identi fied several new proxies for measuring the key lifestyle-routine activities-related theoretical concepts. Fifth, through an in-depth analysis of interactions between victims and offenders involved in incidents of cyber abuse, it identifi ed sub-classi fications of cyber abuse, namely, direct, indirect and mixed cyber abuse. Sixth, it tested the empirical utility of lifestyle-routine activities theory in relation to speci fic sub-types of cyber abuse using the identi fied proxies. And fi nally, by using an innovative method of data analysis (Bayesian Pro le Regression), it identifi ed groups of victims with varying levels of risk from speci fic sub-types of cyber abuse and the associated different lifestyles and routine activities. Overall, this research further developed the concept of risk of victimization in the context of technology-facilitated violence.||