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Title: School bullying : victim perspective past and present : an assessment of university students perceived long-term consequences utilising retrospective accounts and post-primary school pupils attitude and response to typical scenes of bullying
Author: Madden, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 3422
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2008
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One of the main aims of this research was to determine the perceived long-term consequences of bullying behaviour in schools. Furthermore, this study examined individual's recollections of the nature and prevalence of bullying and experiences of other forms of violence throughout their life-course; in doing so the reliability of individual's retrospective accounts were also assessed. Further still, school pupil's experiences of bullying and exposure to violence and trauma was also examined, as were their typical behavioural responses to scenes of school bullying. This thesis presents the findings of three studies, focusing on individuals experiences of bullying in school, in a sample of undergraduate university students and post- primary school pupils. In Chapter One, a review of the literature surrounding bullying behaviour research is presented, in addition to an overview of the 'cycle of violence' hypothesis, which permeates all aspects of this research. Chapter Two provides an outline of the continuing debate concerning the use of retrospective in bullying behaviour research and a detailed review of all the scales utilised in the first study. The results of Study One are presented in Chapter Three, in which a short-term longitudinal study assessed the reliability and stability of participants (N = 824) memories, the nature of their life-course victimisation experiences and perceived negative consequences of such experiences. A qualitative approach was adopted in Study Two, involving a series of in-depth interviews with self-reported victims (N = 13) of child abuse, bullying in school and domestic violence, all of whom had previously taken part in the first quantitative study; the results of which are presented in Chapter Four. In Chapter Five, the questionnaire booklet was administered to a sample of post-primary pupils (N = 213), within the local area, to assess their experiences of bullying in school and evaluate their perceived 'rules' for behaviour according to their status group. Finally, a summary and discussion of the results are presented in Chapter Six. Results suggest that 31.1 % (N = 256) of university participants recalled having been bullied in school at some point, and a further 11.9% (N = 98) acknowledged having actively taken part in victimising other pupils at school, with individuals most commonly citing verbal bullying (i.e. name calling). Just over two in five victims (44%) stated that they attempted suicide, with the majority reporting more than one attempt. It was determined that 43.0% of victims reported having experienced abuse during childhood (i.e. physical abuse/neglect, sexual abuse, etc), 35.9% indicated that they had experienced bullying in later-life (i.e. workplace harassment); resulting in one in five participants (N = 53; 20.7%) revealing that they had experienced both abuse and further victimisation. Measures in the questionnaire booklet revealed that participants were more likely to experience depression, anger and hostility, compared to those with no experience of bullying in school. Over one in three 'victim only' participants reported a 'fearful' relationship style, and moreover reported the lowest mean scores relating to same and opposite sex self-esteem, but the highest levels regarding emotional loneliness and social isolation. Further still, symptornology analogues with PTSD were found in 11 % of victims. Finally, reliability analysis revealed that individual's recollections were both accurate and stable across the three data collection point (initial, 6 months post, and 12-14 months post). Reponses from the face-to-face interviews supported these findings with participants expressing how their experiences of bullying in school have affected many aspects of the adult life. Results from the schools based research revealed that 18.8% of pupils reported to be 'victim only' and a further 6.6% stated that they were both the victim and a perpetrator of bullying in school, with name calling and exclusion the most commonly cited forms of behaviours reported. With regards to pupil's experiences of violence, individuals reported experiencing 'vivid memories' recollections and feelings of distress in situations which remind victims of their experiences, leading to outbursts of anger and a general sense of wariness. Furthermore, 'bully only' pupils reported the highest overall mean on a measure of aggression, and on a measure of parenting style reported the highest means relating to 'indifference', 'over-control' and 'abuse'. Self- identified victims reported lowest levels of both same and opposite-sex self-esteem and general self-esteem; and highest levels of both emotional loneliness and social isolation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available