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Schools offer more than educational opportunities; they offer many opportunities for social interaction for youth. These social opportunities also offer many opportunities for children to become victims of bullying. In the last ten years, there has been a dramatic rise of research on bullying in the United States. This research has been spurred by continued extreme school violence where the perpetrators of the violence had been victims of bullying.
Bullying encompasses a range of various aggressive behaviors which are targeted at an identified victim (Espalage, 2002). It is differentiated from fighting because it involves an imbalance in strength such that the individual targeted has difficulty defending him or herself. Bullying has been a common obstacle of childhood for many generations (Olweus, 1995). Many people believe that bullying is a natural part of growing up which does not cause serious harm but help to toughen children up (Pianta & Walsh, 1995). On the other hand, extensive research in this area has identified consequences for the victims of bulling (Olweus, 1995).
There have been many high profile cases of victims of bullying who have retaliated by horrific school shootings (Kumpulamen, Rasanen, & Puura, 2001). A number of recent studies have investigated the immediate and short-term effects of peer victimization (Espelage, 2002; Espelage & Swearer, 2003; Nansel, Overpeck, Pilla, Ruan, Simons-Morton, & Scheidt, 2001). Rejection from a peer group has been linked to adverse psychological and physical consequences (Kumpulamen et al., 2001). Victims have been noted to be at risk for increased levels of depression, anxiety, and psychosomatic symptoms (Nansel et al., 2001). School avoidance and feelings of isolation are common among victims. Furthermore, it has been reported that these victims of bullying are developing post-traumatic stress disorder (Kumpulamen et al., 2001). This reveals the detrimental impact that peer rejection may have on youth and the importance of more research on the long-term impact bullying has on victims.
The media has portrayed “bullies” and “nerds or geeks” in numerous films which focus awareness on childhood social hierarchies and the desire to be accepted as part of a group. The “nerds” are social outcast who are commonly victimized by their peers and often blamed for not being tough enough. Recent research and pop culture movies called “Mean Girls” have brought more attention to girls and their bullying behaviors. There is limited research on the prevalence and effects bullying has on girls (Brinson, 2005).
Many bullies experience mental health difficulties. One study found that one-third of bullies have attention-deficit disorder, 12.5% were suffering from depression, and 12.5% had oppositional-conduct disorder (Kumpulamen et al., 2001). Bullies then in turn take out their frustrations on someone they see as weaker than they. These bullies are also seeking to impress their peers. The rejection felt by the victim can have a direct impact on their lives.
Several authors suggest that youth who are continually victimized may be at risk for poorer psychological functioning as adults (Espelage, 2002; Nansel et al., 2001). There has not been much research in this particular area. Little is known about how these victims function as adults. Research suggests that adolescents do not simply grow out of emotional problems with age. This research implies that youth who have poor social skills may continue to experience difficulty in their area of maintaining relationships as adults (Nansel et al., 2001). Espelage (2002) found that many victims of bullying continue to think about their experiences of being bullied and recall painful memories well into adulthood.
Depression and suicidal ideation have been found to be common outcomes of being bullied for both boys and girls. Bullies themselves have been prone to depression (Espelage, 2002). Bullying behaviors have similarly been found to transfer from the classroom to the streets with male bullies having been found to be seventeen times more likely to be frequently violent outside of the classroom and female bullies over one hundred times more likely to be frequently violent on the streets (Brinson, 2005). Longitudinal research has found that bullying and aggressive behavior were identified as being characteristics of those students who later became involved in criminal behavior (Nansel et al., 2001).
Statement of Problem
There have been limited mixed-methods studies on the phenomenon of bullying (Espelage & Swearer, 2003). There has been no research which has attempted to explore the long-term effects of bullying on individuals who have experienced it in their youth. This study will use a mixed-methods approach to explore the long-term effects of bullying on individuals that were bullied in their youth.
Life course perspective reflects on the impact of past experiences. According to Graziano (2003), all of a child's experiences can influence personality development. Graziano (2003) identifies that life course perspective gives a clear perspective of how an interruption in emotional developmental processes early in life course can influence both long-term stability and change.
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of this concurrent mixed methods study is to better understand the long-term effects of bullying. In this study, Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire will be used to measure the relationship between male and female experiences of bullying in their adolescence. At the same time, the long-term effects of bullying will be explored using qualitative questions with college students attending several different Texas Universities.
Several theories have sought to explain the existence of bullying behavior. Some developmental theorists perceive bullying as a child's attempt to establish social dominance over other children. This dominance is established through developmentally appropriate actions; in the early years, when children lack complex social skills, they bully using physical means. As these overt acts are punished by disciplinarians, and as children develop a larger repertoire of verbal language, bullying becomes more verbal in nature. Finally, when children gain the skills to understand and participate in intricate social relationships, they begin to use these relationships as a more covert type of bullying in order to establish power and social dominance (Smith, 2001).
Resilience theory is defined as a person's ability to cope or adapt to stressful situations. In different environments, resilience can have different meanings. In a high crime neighborhood, resilience could mean just surviving unscathed from the violence. This is having the ability to overcome a challenging set of circumstances with success. Studies in resilience theory demonstrate that resilient individuals are those who grow and develop as a result of trauma. Rather than being stunted by life difficulties, they recover from the traumatic events with an increased sense of empathy, enhanced coping skills. (Pianta & Walsh, 1998).
Peer rejection theory provides an important context for socialization which fosters social skills that children learn and use through out their lives. Rejection theory is based on the premise that children who are rejected by their peers are not given the same opportunities to socialize and develop socialization skills. This further distances them from their peers (Cole & Gillenssen, 1993).
Life course perspective is an appropriate lens to use when reviewing bullying and the after effects it has on the victims of it. Research has shown that bullying can cause victims to have varying degrees of posttraumatic stress syndrome (Houbre et al., 2006). Elder (1998) researched the social pathways in the life course. This research revealed that individual's lives are influenced by the ever-changing effects of their experiences. The goal of this study is to use quantitative and qualitative research methods to understand the degree of bullying the participants experienced in their youth and how it has impacted their adult life.
Research Questions/Null Hypothesis
Quantitative Research Question #1:
How do males and females, between the ages of 18 and 35, retrospectively report their childhood bullying experiences on the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (Olweus, 1996)?
Null Hypothesis #1:
There will be no statistically significant differences between males and females, between the ages of 18 and 35, scores on the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (Olweus, 1996).
Qualitative Question #1 a:
How did bullying as a youth affect men, that are between the ages of 18 and 35, when reported retrospectively?
Qualitative Question #1 b:
How did bullying as a youth affect women, that are between the ages of 18 and 35, when reported retrospectively?
Qualitative Research Question #2:
What are the implications in their current life which they feel resulted from the bullying they encountered as youth?
Qualitative Research Question #3:
How do they feel their bullying experiences impacts their ability to socialize with people now?
Definition of Terms
Bully/victims: individuals who both bully others and are victims of bullying (Espelage & Swearer, 2003).
Bullying: aggressive behavior which occurs repeatedly over time and includes both physical and emotional acts which are directed towards another individual with the intent to inflict harm or discomfort (Olweus, 1993).
Bystander: individual who observes a bullying incident (Olweus, 1993).
Emotional Scarring: the association of negative feelings with the recollection of painful memories of being bullied (Espelage, 2002).
Peer: an individual belonging to the same groups based on age, grade, and status (Olweus, 1993).
Victim of Bullying: an individual who is exposed repeatedly over time to aggressive behavior that is inflicted by his peers with the intent to cause harm or discomfort (Espelage, 2002; Olweus, 1993).
The assumptions made about the participants in this study are that they are of sound mind to participate in this study.
The assumptions made that all of the participants will answer the web survey honestly.
The assumptions made that all of the participants were bullied in their youth.
The researcher recognizes the following delimitations for this study:
- The sample size will be dependent of the amount of people who respond to the flyers and ads in the college campuses.
- All respondents are mentally competent to answer the questions in the online survey.
Quantitative research looks for generalizability of the research findings to the larger population (Creswell, 2005). Generalizability is not as important to qualitative research because is seeking to explore a phenomenon and the impact it has. If more men respond then women to this survey, then it would not be an equally distributed sample. Ethnicity and socio-economic status are not being asked in the demographic portion of this study.
There has been extensive quantitative research on the bullying phenomenon. Researchers do not agree on the prevalence of bullying (Anderson et al., 2006; Espalage & Swearer, 2003). The prevalence of bullying reported ranges from 8% to 80%. Researchers do agree that bullying occurs most often in the junior high years in school and in the community.
There has been research to explore the psychological make-up of bullies. Recent research has identified that bullies do not have low self-esteem, as once thought. Their self-esteem is average or above average (Olweus, 1995). There have been reports of bullying incidents being results of wanting peer acceptance.
Two theories will be used as in the theoretical framework of this research, life course perspective and peer rejection theory. In looking at life course perspective (Elder, 1979), bullying experiences which occur during middle childhood could have an impact on later psychosocial development of victims and perpetrators of bullying (Espelage, 2002). Elder (1979) found that children of different age groups or cohorts are products of the social events which influence their lives differently than older or younger siblings because of the age of each child when the event occurs. Social and cultural factors present at a particular time, such as ethnicity, race socioeconomic status, and subculture membership, impact an individual's development throughout the life course. War, the Great Depression, famine, or epidemics may determine psychological and heal patterns which exist into late adulthood (Elder, 1979).
Peer relations provide an important social context which helps children foster social skills. Rejected children are not afforded the same opportunity to develop social skills as their peers. This implication could have a long lasting impact on their overall social development (Cole & Gillenssen, 1993).
Peer rejection theory has several phases. First is the precursor phase when behavior patterns begin to develop. Children are initially subject to “distal” precursors, which include the processes through which they are socialized and develop social competency. One such factor includes early parenting influences, which has been linked with children's social orientation and in turn affects their social status (Cole & Gillessen, 1993). It has been suggested that children with warm and positive parents tend to have a more positive social orientation, whereas children of lower status tend to have disagreeable and controlling mothers. Additionally, an insecure avoidant attachment has been associated with inappropriate and aggressive social interactions during early childhood. When children develop maladaptive cognitions and behaviors, they tend to be the “proximal” causes of peer rejection (Dill, Vernber, Fonagy, Twemlow, & Gamm, 2004).
This is followed by the emergent phase. During this phase, the child reacts to his peer group in a manner which is considered socially unacceptable and consequently experiences peer rejection. Rejected children consistently display deviant behaviors or fail to engage socially and receive recognition from their peers for their social behaviors (Cole & Gillessen, 1993). Other researchers have suggested that certain behaviors, which vary across grade level and by gender, are more likely to result in rejection (Dill et al., 2004). Specifically, boys were found to be less accepting of internalizing behaviors, and older children were more negative towards withdrawn behaviors.
Next is the maintenance phase, during which rejection becomes stable for some children and is maintained even upon changing peer groups. Espelage and Swearer (2003) propose that it is the way the rejected child reacts to the teasing, rather than his personal characteristics, which influences his peers' evaluation of him. This fact in turn leads to rejection. When peers form a negative perception of a child, they tend to act more negatively towards that child. The rejected child in turn tends to behave in a manner that fulfills the negative bias which creates a “self-fulfilling prophecy” (Cole & Gillessen, 1993). This implies that even if a rejected child changes his behavior, he will still have difficulty gaining acceptance from his peer group. Hence rejection is maintained by both stability behavioral and personality characteristics of the rejected child and by peer group dynamics.
Finally, there is the consequence phase, which results in long-term adjustment problems (Cole & Gillessen, 1993). Researchers have suggested that peer rejection is the strongest predictor of school adjustment problems (Cole, Lochman, Terry, & Hyman, 1992; Houbre et al., 2006). Childhood aggression and peer rejection are also recognized as predictors of adolescent disorder (Cole et al., 1992). Furthermore, peer rejection has been associated with antisocial behaviors, including elevated aggression and deviant peer involvement (Cole & Gillessen, 1993; Cole et al., 1992).
There has been limited research on how these rejected youth overcome their painful youth or do not overcome it in their adult years. This research will explore this aspect of peer rejection and the long term effects it does or does not have on both men and women who were rejected by bullying as youth.
Characteristics of Bullies
Houbre, B., Tarquinio, C., & Thuillier, I. (2006). Bullying among students and its
consequences on health. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 21(2),
This research article discussed three different studies which identified the consequences of bullying on the victims. Study 1 showed that students who were both victims and bullies had the lowest self-concepts in all areas studied. Victim's scores exhibited inferior self-concepts to bullies who in turn obtained lower scores than students not involved in bullying at all. Study 2 showed, as expected, that the group of bully/victims reported more psychosomatic problems than all other groups. There was also a link identified between behavioral problems and the onset of psychosomatic disorders. Study 3, which was exploratory, looked at the traumatic impact of bullying and the emergence of addictive behavior. Children who had vivid memories of being the victim of an aggressive act manifested a high level of post-traumatic stress. A dependency relationship was found between post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.
Smokowski, P. R., & Kopasz, K. H. (2005). Bullying in school: An overview of types,
effects, family characteristics, and intervention strategies. Children and School,
This research identified that most bullies share common characteristics. They are overly aggressive, destructive, and enjoy dominating other children. Other characteristics which bullies commonly have include a hot-tempered impulsive behavior and a low tolerance for frustration. Bullies tend to be popular among other aggressive children. Other types of bullies use aggression to gain attention because they are all together ignored by their peers.
This research identified that in general the parents of children who are bullies are hostile, rejecting, and indifferent to the children. The discipline in these homes is inconsistent. The parenting style most often seen is permissive. The father figure in these homes is weak if it is present at all. The parents might even look at the bullying behavior as a rite of passage with the attitude of “boys will be boys” perception.
Prevalence and Impact of Bullying
Anderson, M., Kaufman, J., Simon, T. R., Barrios, L., Paulizzi, L., Ryan, G., Hammond,
R., Modzelski, W., Feucht, T., & Potter, L. (2006). School-associated violent
deaths in the United States, 1994-1999. Journal of American Medical
Association, 286(21), 2695-2702.
This research on school-associated violent deaths indicated that between 1994-1999 there were 220 events that resulted in 253 deaths. This study revealed that the perpetrators of the violence were more likely than the victims to have been described as having been bullied by their peers. These perpetrators represent the aggressive victims who believe retaliation is the answer to resolving their own bullying experiences.
Dill, E. J., Vernber, E. M., Fonagy, P., Twemlow, S. W., & Gamm, B. K. (2004).
Negative affect in victimized children: The roles of social withdrawal, peer rejection, and attitudes toward bullying. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32(2), 159-173.
In studying 15,000 junior high and high school students, the authors of this study found that 8% of the students surveyed reported being bullied at a minimum of once a week in the current semester. The results of this study revealed that children are bullied as early as Kindergarten in school. This research also revealed that victimization by bullies can have an impact on later social skills, including feelings of loneliness and school avoidance.
Espelage, D. (2002). Bullying in early adolescence: The role of the peer group.
Retrieved August 29, 2006, from the ERIC database. (ERIC Document
Reproduction Service No ED 471 912)
This study demonstrated the seriousness of bullying in American schools. In a nationally representative sample of over 15,686 students in the United States (grades 6 through 10), 29% self-reported frequent bullying at school, with 13% participating as a bully, 10.9% as a victim, and 6% as both. This study explored the role of peer acceptance and status on bullying in middle school. In comparing and discussing two other studies on bullying, this research reported the importance of families, schools, and other community institutions to help children and young adolescents learn how to manage the pressure to hurt their classmates in order to “fit in”.
Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W.J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P.
(2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with
psychosocial adjustment. Journal of American Medical Association, 285(6), 2094-2100.
In exploring bullying among school-aged children, this study discussed how bullying can impact the psychosocial health of youth. In researching the prevalence of bulling in public schools, this study demonstrated that 29.9% of the 15,686 students in grades 6 through 10 through out the US reported having some role of bullying behavior. Three themes of behavior emerged from the youth's responses to the World Health Organization's Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Survey, bullying, being bullying or observing the bullying. This research did identify that males bullied others and were bullied significantly more than girls. Bullying occurred most frequently from 6th to 8th grade.
Coping with Bullying
Brinson, S. A. (2005). Boys don't tell on sugar-and spice-but-not-so-nice girl bullies.
Reclaiming Children and Youth, 14(3), 169-174.
The informal interviews conducted for this research indicated that girls bullying boys is just as damaging as boys bullying boys in early to middle childhood. Many of the participants discussed physical abuse they encountered by girl bullies and their cohorts. This author went on to discuss different types of bullying prevention practices. Bibliotherapy can be used to help children resolve issues they have encountered as victims of bullying. Children are able to relate to a character of a book to help them identify a resolution to different situations. Moratherapy instills the philosophy of goodwill and ethical behavior towards all individuals.
Camodeca, M., & Goossens, F.A. (2005). Children's opinions of effective strategies to
cope with bullying: The importance of bullying role and perspective. Educational
Research, 47(1), 93-105.
These researchers questioned 311 students (155 boys and 156 girls; mean age of 11) for their opinions about how retaliation, nonchalance and assertiveness could be used in stopping bullying. Assertiveness was the strategy most frequently chosen by the children to deal with the bullying. This research also revealed that girls chose assertive strategies more often than boys, and younger children preferred nonchalance more often than older children.
Espelage, D., & Swearer, S. (2003). Research on school bullying and victimization:
What have we learned and where do we go from here? School Psychology
Review, 32(3), 365-386.
This study reviews several studies on the bullying phenomenon. The results of this comparison found that further studies on this topic need a mixed methods approach in order to gain insight into the impact of bullying on both perpetrators and victims. Prevention is the key to stopping this behavior but without a full understanding of the phenomenon it will remain challenging to create prevention programs which will work.
Olweus, D. (2003). A profile of bullying. Educational Leadership, 69, 12-17.
This research article discusses the results of studying 2,500 elementary and junior high students for two and one-half years, from 1983-1985. In 1983 the 42 schools involved in this study began implementing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. This study revealed that after implementing this anti-bullying program, there was a marked reduction of bully/victim problems in school. This reduction was measured at over 50%. There was also a noted marked improvement in the overall social environment in the classrooms and an increase in student satisfaction with school life. These schools were compared to other schools that had developed and implemented their own anti-bullying programs. The results from this comparison revealed the schools which had developed their own programs were not near as successful as the schools which implemented the Olweus Bully Prevention Program.
Although there has been extensive research on the topic of bullying (Anderson et al., 2006; Brinson, 2005; Dill et al., Espalage, 2002; Espalage & Swearer, 2003; Nansel et al., Houbre et al., Olweus, 1995; Smith, 2001), there is a lack of exploring this phenomenon with a mixed methods approach. There is no research that identifies what the effects of bullying endured in middle childhood have on victims later in their lives. Life course perspective (Elder, 1998) and peer rejection theory (Cole & Gillessen, 1993; Cole et al, 1992) would help to give a clearer picture to the long-term impact of this phenomenon on both men and women.
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of this concurrent mixed methods study is to better understand the long-term effects of bullying when looking at the phenomenon with life course perspective. In this study, Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire will be used to measure the relationship between male and female experiences of bullying in their adolescence. At the same time, the long-term effects of bullying will be explored using qualitative open-end questions with college students between the age of 18 and 35 attending different Texas Universities.
Some research has indicated that one in three adults have been victims of bullying when they were children while other research has indicated that 80% of the population will have been victims of bullying at some point in their lives (Cole & Gillenssen, 1993). Other research has indicated it occurs at a rate of 29% (Espelage, 2002). These inconsistencies in the prevalence of bullying are due to the lack of consistent definitions of bullying. These inconsistencies are fogging the current research for further researchers.
The research has been consistent in reporting how bullying can impact the victim's psychosocial skills and even further leaving them rejected by their peers while in school. The research does not follow young men and young women into their adult years to explore how bullying in their youth has or has not impacted their lives (e.g. socially, physically, or mentally) as life course perspective would allow for this exploration.
There are more similarities than differences in the way males and females perceive bullying issues. The genders define, describe, and react similarly to bullying with very few differences noticed. Bullying is often ignored or undetected by adults who could have a major role in stopping the behavior (Cole & Gillessen, 1993).
Schools should offer many educational opportunities in a safe and secure setting. A setting which should be free from biases and peer rejection would be a good start. Schools need to take an aggressive stance on this issue. Communities need to take a stand on this issue and show a united front to the bullies. Society has to have no tolerance for this behavior. Research has indicated that bullying starts at home or is ignored at home (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005).
There needs to be further research on the long-term effects of bullying. The little research that exist is in this area indicates that the effects can be devastating and long reaching for the victims. Psychological issues and post-traumatic stress disorder are just a few of the implications that have been identified.
There has been limited research on the effect of bullying on people that were bullied as children. The research on this topic to this point has focused on the causes of bullying in trying to develop anti-bullying programs. The goal of this research is to identify how bullying during adolescences can impact a person's adult life. This research will be looking for relationship between how men and women have been impacted by their adolescent bullying experiences.
Although the hype generated by the media's attention of school violence has been successful in increasing the public's awareness of the issue of bullying and school safety, the magnification of this problem has triggered an excessive level of public fear. The actual risk of being killed at school is only one in a million which comprises only 1% of all youth homicides within the United States (Espelage & Swearer, 2003).
With the recognition of the widespread problem of bullying, England has passed legislation requiring that all schools must have an anti-bullying policy (Smith, 2001). The United States appears to be far behind England. There are several States in the United States which have initiated this requirement in their school districts. The United States has just begun to approach this widespread issue.
Adolescence is a challenging time for children, their parents, and the many professionals who work with adolescents. There are many highs and many lows which are extreme in nature. Friendships and loyalties change from minute to minute, and children are left to struggle with this peer rejection. This rejection can have devastating results on youth (Brinson, 2005; Espelage et al., 2000).
Research on bullying has uncovered several forms of the behavior. Past research focused on two types of bullying; verbal and physical. Both overt in nature, verbal bullying encompasses behaviors such as name calling, threatening or degrading while physical bullying comprises actions such as hitting, kicking, vandalizing, performing rude gestures, and making faces (Olweus, 1995). More recent research has focused on a more covert type of bullying. Relational bullying focuses on gossiping, spreading rumors, social exclusion, and other acts intent on damaging relationships (Olweus, 1996; Smith, 2001).
It is often assumed that both boy and girl bullies bully their victims due to low self-esteem. This common explanation for bullying behavior dictates that bullies aggress against others in an effort to make themselves feel more confident and powerful to raise their own self-esteem. Although some early research supported these assumptions (Smith, 2001) more recent research has found that bullies do not have low self-esteem; it is just the opposite. Brinson (2005) found that while bullies scored higher on measures of global self-esteem then victims or bully/victims, they scored lower on global self-esteem then children who did not bully others.
An important element in the reason for bullying behavior is the role of the peers. Bystanders can play several roles in bullying incidents: supporters of the bullies, supporters of the victims, or as observers. The majority of bystanders do not intervene. Drawn into the bullying interactions by the excitement of aggression, peers provide an audience for bullying while their positive attention and lack of opposition often reinforces the bullying behavior. Their lack of empathy and intervention reinforce the bullying behavior (Olweus, 2003).
The sample will be gathered using convenience sampling. Creswell (2005) defines convenience sampling as a sampling procedure in which the researcher selects participants because they are willing and available to be studied.
The convenient sample will be gathered by advertising the study at different college campuses in the North Texas area. These college campuses include: Tarrant County Community College, Collin County Community College, North Central Texas Community College, University of North Texas, Austin College, University of Texas in Arlington, Grayson County Community College, and Dallas County Community College District. The research will place ads in the college newspapers recruiting participants. The researcher will also place flyers on bulletin boards in centralized locations on the campus (after receiving appropriate approval) and around the different departments in an effort to recruit participants. The flyer and ad will include a link to the website and the researchers email address and phone number.
Once the researcher is contacted by email or by phone by the potential participants, the participants will be informed about the purpose of this study. Then they will be asked a few demographic questions to verify that the participants qualify to participate in this study. They will be asked their age. The age range for participation in this study is 18-35. They will also be given the definition of bullying. They will then be asked if they did experience this phenomenon in their youth. Once they verify that they are between the ages of 18-35 and that they did experience bullying in their youth, then they will be given link to website where further information will be gathered.
The website will be in a simple design and maintained for the duration of this study. The website will include an explanation of the study. There will be several different links on the home page of the website including: a link to a consent form, a link for local counseling services available, and a link to the survey that will be on surveymonkey.com. The directions for completing this study will be located on the homepage. The qualifying participants will be asked to complete the consent form by emailing it back to the researcher. Once the researcher receives the participants consent form, the participants will be emailed a code to enter into surveymonkey.com that will then allow the participants access to the survey and qualitative research questions.
Once the participants have completed all of the questions on the survey and the qualitative questions have been answered, the participants will be emailed a gift certificate for $20 to Target. The gift certificate will be valid for Target or Target.com. The survey and qualitative questions will be created in a format that will not grant incomplete surveys or incomplete qualitative questions the gift certificate. The researcher will be responsible for this design when creating the survey and questions online.
The Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire will be used online for the measurement of bully/victim problems such as, exposure to bullying, verbal, indirect, racial or sexual forms of bullying/harassment, various forms of bullying other students, where the bullying occurs, pro-bully and pro-victim attitudes, and the extent to which the social environment (peers, teachers, parents) is informed about and reacts to the bullying.
The reliability of psychometric information is provided for full scales. The range of test-retest value is not assessed. The range of inter-rater reliability is not assessed. The range of internal consistency is .80 to .90 (Olweus, 1996). The researcher will pay $125 to purchase the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire. In purchasing the questionnaire for research purchases, Dan Olweus would like a copy of the final report written using his instrument (Olweus, 1996).
The qualitative piece of this research will be eight open ended questions asking the participants about their bullying experiences and how they have been impacted by these experiences in their current lives. These questions are:
- Tell me about the bullying experiences you had in your childhood.
- Tell me about your worst bullying experience.
- How did this make you feel at the time?
- How do you feel about this experience today?
- Tell me how you feel these bullying experiences have impacted your adult life.
- Why do you think you were the victim of bullying in your youth?
- Tell me about your efforts to seek help when you were bullied.
- Tell me about how peers did or did not step in to help you when you were being bullied.
The demographic questions will be asked in the initial contact with the researcher by either email or by phone. The demographic questions will also be asked in the beginning of the Revised Olweus Victim/Bully Questionnaire. These questions will include age and gender. The participants of this research need to be in the age range of 18-35 years of age.
The quantitative and qualitative data will be gathered in a concurrent fashion. A concurrent approach to gathering information is when the quantitative data and qualitative information are collected at the same time (Creswell, 2003). Mixed methods research provides a clearer picture of the phenomenon being studied with the qualitative and the quantitative information integrated together to make a complete picture (Creswell, 2005). This complete picture will be done by comparing the themes that emerge from the qualitative questions answered to the results of the quantitative questionnaire. Life course perspective tells the researcher that the participants that were bullied the most as measured by the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (1996) will have the most impact on their current life. Peer rejection theory will explore if the participant was able to break out of the maintenance phase and break the cycle of peer rejection. The qualitative questions will verify if the participant feels like they are still rejected by peers in their current life circumstances.
The survey for this research will be conducted online. Bethell, Fiorillo, Lansky, Hendryx, and Knickman (2004) found in their results of the analysis on online surveys that online surveys suggest that weighted online sampling offers a promising avenue for gathering large-scale representative survey data.
Protection of Human Subjects
It is the responsibility of the researcher and Texas Woman's University to ensure protection of participants from physical and emotional discomfort, harm, or danger. The potential for benefit to others does not necessarily justify placing the participants of the study at risk. A research procedure may not be used if it is likely to cause serious and lasting harm to participants (e.g., physical or mental health problems) as required by the Internal Review Board (IRB) (2006).
The date collection process will be preceded by the researcher bracketing her own biases. Bracketing is a self-reflective process of suspending one's assumptions in order to become aware of feelings and biases that might interfere with the conduction of the study (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994). The researcher will set these biases aside, or bracket them, so that the phenomenon can be understood through the eyes and voices of the participants rather than through the researchers (Creswell, 2003).
Prior to beginning this study, a pilot test will be conducted with 3 participants to check for instrumentation administration and the online procedures. This will provide an opportunity for the researcher to fore see any technical complications that might occur in administering the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire 100% online. It will also provide opportunity for feedback on the clarity of questions and feedback on the eight qualitative questions being asked after the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire.
A website will be created for this research. This website will include: a link to the survey on surveymonkey.com, a link to seek professional help for emotional disturbance, and a link to a page of. The Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire will be placed online (Olweus, 1996). The creator of the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire allows for researchers to purchase the right to use his instrument for research purposes for $125. The researcher will pay this fee prior to beginning this study. There are no examiners qualifications and training required to administer this questionnaire. There are two versions of the Questionnaire, one (denoted E01-Junior on the front) for use in grades 3 through 5 (for students with 2 years, possibly one year, of reading instruction) and one denoted (EO1-Senior) for grades 6 through 10 or higher. The EO1-Senior will be used for this study. The researcher has had an email confirmation from Dan Olweus about the appropriateness of this tool for the targeted participants over the age of 16 for this particular study.
At the end of the eight weeks, the information will be processed. Each participant of this study will be assigned a number that will be their identification number for the qualitative and quantitative answers. The quantitative results will be analyzed using SPSS computer program. A t-test will be an appropriate test to run on the results of the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire to look for a statistically significant difference in the means of males and females participants in this study.
The qualitative results will be the answers to the eight open ended questions. These answers will be analyzed using the HYPEResearch computer program (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994). The themes that emerge will be compared to the quantitative statistics reported. Peer debriefing will be used in this stage of the research. Peer debriefing can be used to enhance the accuracy of the information (Creswell, 2003).
The limitation of this study could be that only men will reply to this study and the purpose of this research is to compare the resilience of men to women when they were victims of bullying as youth.
The limitation of this study could be that participants do not complete both the quantitative survey and the qualitative questions asked.
There has been extensive research on bullies. There has been very limited research on the long-term effects of bullying on the victims of bullying. There has been no research in comparing how bullying in childhood impacts men and women as they enter adulthood. This research wants to explore this very issue. Bullying lowers people's self-esteem. Bullying occurs when there is a fight for power in a particular situation or when a youth is seeking approval from his/her peers.
The long term effects of bullying are unknown. Olweus (1993) suggests that although some victims no longer show certain personality characteristics, as young adults they remain at-risk for some adverse effects. Life course perspective would support this suggestion (Graziano, 2003). Youth who are chronically bullied may be at risk for poorer psychological functioning as adults on certain variables as supported by peer rejection theory (Cole & Gillessen, 1993). Gilmartin's (1987) research on love-shy men suggests that victims may be at-risk for higher levels of loneliness throughout life. He discovered that love-shyness in men, which was defined as severe inhibition and reticence with the opposite sex, was associated with peer rejection in childhood.
Research has been very inconsistent with its findings on the effects of bullying. Findings do suggest, however, that a repercussion of being bullied is emotional scarring, which may continue to be visible later in life (Elder, 1998). This would be especially true if when applying life course theory to the concept (Elder, 1998; Graziano, 2003).
Although some victims of bullying suffer long-term consequences (Gilmartin, 1987; Olweus, 1995), there are a large percentage of victims who recover from their experience without showing symptoms (Houbre et al., 2006). Little is know about how these individuals manage to be resilient to these past experiences. It is unclear as to what differentiates these victims from those who continue to show marked symptoms as adults. The resiliency of victims of bullying has been underrepresented in the literature and remains to be further explored with more in-depth
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