A Review Of Literature: Bullying Effects

In this section of my thesis I reviewed articles thematically. Bond, Carlin, Thomas, Rubin, and Patton (2001) establish a relationship between repeated peer bullying and the indication of anxiety and depression in early teen years. A cohort study over a two-year period was done in Victoria, Australia. The participants were 2,680 students surveyed twice in 8th grade and once in 9th grade. Students completed a survey at school via laptop computers supplied by the researchers. Overall surveys took about 40 minutes to complete (Bond et al., 2001).

Reported victimization on the first survey was 49%, 51% on the second, and 42% on the third survey. The respondents reported the following: (a) 33% reported recurrent victimization, (b) 33% indicated being bullied at one time, and (c) 33% reported not ever being bullied. The frequency of stated anxiety and depression at all three survey points were as follows: First point 16%, second point 18%, and third point 15% (Bond et al., 2001).

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Bond et al. (2001) found evidence that past events of victimization and reduced social interaction foresees the start of emotional problems. Prior recurring emotional problems are not notably related to impending victimization. These results have

proposition for how important the occurrence of victimization is cared for and for the motivation of intervention programs focusing on mental health problems and bullying (Bond et al., 2001).

Bond et al. (2001) concluded there is a strong connection between victimization and indications of depression and anxiety. Results confirmed the reasons for indication of anxiety or depression is a result of a history of victimization. Therefore, poor social relationships with peers and a history of victimization lead to problems in adolescents (Bond et al., 2001).

In a quantitative research study Peterson and Ray (2006), worked together to research if gifted children were especially vulnerable to being bullied. The quantitative analysis was used to find the frequency and influence bullying has on gifted students. There were two surveys done one of which there were 432 participants who were gifted eighth graders in 11 states, these students were given verbal questionnaires inquiring if they had encountered bullying behavior, such as name-calling, pushing, hitting and other physical violence, or teasing about family, grades or appearance (Peterson & Ray, 2006, p. 155). The results of the first survey are as follows:

The researchers found 67 % of gifted students had encountered bullying by eighth grade, 16 % defined themselves as bullies and 29 % had aggressive ideation. Interviewed participants identified unexpressed violence, depression, and missing days of school as a reaction to bullying. Teasing about appearance, intelligence and grades, name-calling, and pushing and shoving are the most frequent kind of bullying throughout the first nine years of school. Mocking students about appearance had the most damaging outcome psychologically (Peterson & Ray, 2006).

The second survey was done on 57-bullied students throughout six states who were mailed individual surveys that conducted in-depth follow up questions. The quantitative survey consists of four questions: (a) having been bullied, (b) has been a bully, (c) thinking of being violent, and (d) done any violence. The results of the take home survey found males were most likely to be the bullies, be bullied, think violently, and conduct violence over females (Peterson & Ray, 2006).

Peterson et al. (2006) concluded by noting bullying appears to be a problem with gifted children and adolescents. Evidence is concerned with the escalation in bullying from middle school going to high school and carrying it on to adolescents. Even though after the sixth grade the name-calling and teasing go away, much stronger and violent bullying accrues (Peterson & Ray, 2006).

In a quantitative research study, Voss and Mulligan (2000) worked together to find out if short pupils are at risk for being bullied. There were 92 short normal teenagers who were under the 3rd percentile height at school admission. Also, taking part in this study was 117 controls equivalent for gender and age that completed the bullying survey. Throughout the bullying survey the study confirmed there was no major gender or social class distinction between the groups. The majority of the ages were around 14 years old and their height was around four to five feet. More short students informed they were bullied at some time in middle school more so than the controls. The study has revealed that shorter boys are more than twice as likely to be victims of bullying then as for the control boys. Bullying also saddens shorter boys much more than control boys. In many of the cases bullying had stopped, but significantly more short pupils than controls, regardless to sex, reported current bullying (Voss & Mulligan, 2000, Subjects, Methods, and Results section, ¶ 1).

Voss and Mulligan (2000) concluded by stating bullying is happening in schools and is harmful to the victims. Generally, victims stated to be more vulnerable than their bullies. This would imply very short students are less likely to be the attacker and more likely to be the victims. The growth study allowed them to observe the occurrence of bullying, as experienced or perpetrated by pupils of different heights (Voss & Mulligan, 2000, Comment section, ¶ 1).

According to Yoneyama & Rigby (2006) bullying behavior has an effect on the student’s perception of the school environment. Research has shown that lesser quantities of bullying behavior are found in schools with a positive school environment. “It was hypothesized that judgments of classroom climate would be less positive among students who were identified as (a) bullies, (b) victims, and (c) bully-victims than others who are not involved in bully/victim problems” (Yoneyama & Rigby, p.36).

There was three different questionnaires developed using the following measures: (a) the school climate scale, (b) the victimization scale and (c) the bullying scale. The questionnaires were given to 531 students attending grades eight and nine in Australia. The subjects were taken from five different schools. Average age of the subjects was 14.1 years, for males and 13.9 years for females. In this study, students were only allowed to participate with their parent’s permission (Yoneyama & Rigby, 2006).

The average score obtained by Yoneyama & Rigby (2006) suggests that the observed school/classroom environment was not negative at the five schools used in the study. The female students rated the classroom climate more positive than the male students. The male students were more likely to be involved in bullying than the females. The male students were also reported to have been involved in more bully/victim problems than the females. Yoneyama & Rigby (2006) concluded that students who are involved in some sort of bully/victim problem have a less positive view of the school climate than those students that had no involvement in bullying. The results show that there may be a link between the perception of the classroom climate and student learning. “It seems likely that the negative perceptions of school climate that are characteristic of students involved in bully/victim problems may serve to hinder their learning and to disadvantage them academically(Yoneyama & Rigby, 2006, p.40).

Entenman, Murnen, & Hendricks (2005-2006) investigate how bullies and bullying actions are showed in K-3 children’s books published from 1995-2003 and how teachers can utilize these books to inform students about bulling in their classrooms. In the study, 25 books about bullying were selected based upon the criteria set by Jalongo (1983). A subject study was performed on each book to identify the behavior of the bully. The behaviors were broken into different categories: (a) physical intimidation, (b) name-calling, (c) stealing, (d) verbal intimidation, and (e) teasing (Entenamn et al., 2005-2006).

The reviewed children’s’ books showed the roles of the bully, the bystander and the importance of adult involvement when bullying takes place. Entenman, et al. (2005-2006) suggests the teacher can take part in a big job by stopping the actions of the bully early on before the behavior has the opportunity to become part of the child’s everyday life. It is significant to communicate that the victim in each of the stories used was capable of rising above the problem and get back their self-confidence by the end of the book, with the help of an adult (Entenman et al., 2005-2006).

Research has shown that children’s literature is an effective way to help children resolve problems. Using these books in the classroom is one way teachers can help reduce bullying and discourage bullying behavior. The primary goal of this study has been to give the teachers a list of books that they may be able to use in their classrooms when bullying occurs. Entenman, et al. (2005) inquires about the correlation of labeling a student as a bully at an early age and the ramification of victim blaming and the school’s role. The only way to answer these questions is with more research on the subject of bullying and its impact on children (Entenman et al. 2005-2006),.

Salmon and James (1998) used a quantitative methodology to examine the psychological health issues of students being bullied. This study assessed: (a) indication of anxiety and depression in bullied students, (b) self esteem in bullied students and students that were not bullied; and (c) self esteem for both bullies and those who were not bullies. Four questionnaires were anonymously completed by the 904 participants aged 12-17. Two secondary schools were used for this study. The first school is in a low income area. The second school is in a high social class area (Salmon & James, 1998).

Salmon and James (1998) found that boys aged 12-13 with high anxiety and lying scores were most likely to be bullied at the low income school. Boys aged 15-16 with low anxiety and lying scores and high depression scores were most likely to be bullies at the high social class school. Girls ages 13-14 in the advantaged school with low anxiety and lying scores were least likely to be bullied. Girls aged 12-13 with high anxiety and lying scores and low depression were least likely to be bullies (Salmon and James, 1998, Subjects, Methods, and Results section, ¶ 2). The study concludes that the low occurrence of bulling may show the value of bullying intervention programs already implemented at the two schools that were assessed. A new finding from this study is the link connecting an excessive depression score and being a bully (Salmon & James, 1998).

Bishop JH, Bishop M, Bishop M, Gelbwasser, Green, Peterson, Rubinstaj, and Zuckerman (2004) explore the relationship between study behavior and academic engagement of individual students, the norms and attitudes of close friends, and the peer culture of school. The study is particularly interested in how the academic orientation of students and their close friends invites or protects them from harassment (Bishop et al., 2004, p.236). A qualitative research design was used. The participants were from eight New York State suburban high schools. Surveys were done by 35,000 students at 134 schools and information was examined. Interviews and respondents were matched on gender (Bishop et al., 2004).

The study found harassment and bullying are directed toward students who are rejected by their classmates. Surveys conducted in 1998 and 1999 found that 13.1% of boys and 6.7% of girls were teased, insulted, or made fun of almost everyday. Another 19.5% of boys and 13.3% of girls were insulted to their face about once a week (Bishop et al., 2004, p. 237). Male outcasts are usually harassed in front of others. Certain types of achievement: (a) athletic, (b) funny, (c) friendly, (d) popular, and (e) attractive are better in the eyes of student’s classmates. However, for academics, a slightly above average rank of school effort and accomplishment is the norm. One is approved for going beyond it. Students feel that if a peer is smart they are lucky. Students describe nerds as asking a lot of questions and not having fun in their spare time (Bishop et al., 2004).

Bishop, et al (2004) found that harassing students poison the school climate teachers attempt to create. To many students at the primary school level, nerds demonstrate that the teacher should be expected to help learn. The secondary school students are saying to them that reliance on teachers is babyish. Schools need to represent the position that school is always about learning and getting an education, and students are suppose to work hard. Schools with the most commanding teachers indicate considerably lower levels of student harassment; students studied together more often, were more occupied in class, and finished homework on a daily bases (Bishop et al., 2004).

In an article written by Brown University (2006) it indicates children at elementary school level are involved in bullying either by being the bully or being the victim due to being sad, not belonging, or feeling unsafe. This study was carried out in a West coast urban public school district. There were 3,530 students from grades three through five with an average age of 9.6 years who took part in a thirty-seven questionnaire survey. Survey results showed that 22% stated they took part in bullying as both a victim or as the bully. From the 22% being involved with bullying 6% reported always being bullied, 14% reported bullying others, and 2% reported being the bully as well as being a victim. This study done by Brown University (2006) also indicates 71% of students surveyed state the playground is the most common place where bullying happens (Brown University, 2006, p. 4).

Brown, Birch, and Kancherla (2005) wanted to understand the behavior of bullies by searching for the viewpoint of young children, to determine if they thought of bullying as a problem. They wanted to know what the children would do if they were bullied and what they did when they witnessed someone being bullied. One thousand two hundred twenty-nine children between the ages of 9 and 13 were sampled. The students were from seven different states, and 31 different schools. Students could only participate in this study if they got permission from their parents (Brown et al., 2005).

Students were given a variety of closed end questions with anonymity being protected. The questions consisted of two demographic questions and eight questions on their individual experiences with bullying. The results of the data collection were compared using a chi-square analysis. One third said they had been bullied once in a while, another 15% admitted to being bullied weekly. Six out of seven said they were never afraid of going back to school as a result of bullying. One half of the students respond to bullying by fighting back and only 8% said they try to talk it out. One fourth of the students believe bullying to be cool. Over 40% of students admitted to bullying at some point in their life with only one in five frequently bullying, more than once a week. The study concludes although boys indicate being victims of more every day bullying, the girls were more likely to inform a teacher (Brown et al., 2005).

The student responses seem to be consistent, that is, if the student is bullied and tries to talk to a bully they will usually step in and help another student who is being bullied. The same goes for the opposite, students who fight back when they are bullied

tend to be involved during other bullying incidents. In almost every category, according to the student addressing the issue through lesson is the least effective way to stop bullying.

This dichotomy of victims may point to the need to customize anti-bullying campaigns. “Specifically, victim-bullies need to understand the difference between what they perceive as self-defense and bullying” (Brown, Birch, & Kancherla, 2005, p.390).

Chapell, Hasselman, Kitchin, Lomon, MacIver, and Sarullo (2004) conducted a study of 119 undergraduates from an eastern university and discovered students who were bullies or were a bully-victim in elementary school and/or high school were also bullies or bully-victims in college. This study found there is more bullying in elementary schools than in high schools. At the elementary school level the bullying rate is at 14% and by the end of high school that rate drops down to 2%. According to the study those students who were bullied in elementary and high school experienced more verbal bullying than social bullying or physical bullying (Chapell et al., 2004).

A study of 154 5th-grade students in a rural area in Georgia was conducted by Pellegrini, Bartini, and Brooks (1999) to find the factors linking the group connection and victimization in early teenage years. The participants were given a class list and the researchers requested participants to put their classmates in categories of whom they were friends with, who they liked the most, and who they liked the least. This study concluded bullies tend to group with other bullies due to their aggressive behavior toward others. Pellegrini, et al. (1999) also concluded victims of bullying tend to be friends with other victims. Bullies tend to have a positive view on bullying and victims have a negative view on bullying; which allows each group to become friends due to having the same view about bullying (Pellegrini et al., 1999).

Pellegrini, et al. (1999) also distributed Olweus’s Senior Questionaire to each participant. The questionnaire asked the participants five items about bullying other students, nine items about experience to direct and indirect victimization, and three items about individuals’ negative attitude toward bullying. Next the students were put into three groups; bullies, victims, and aggressive victims. Out of these participants 14% were put in the bullies group, 18% in the victims group, and 5% were aggressive victims. In this study bully results connected to anger and temperament. It was found that the leaders of the bully groups are those who use anger successfully. They also seem to validate their negative actions by having positive attitudes toward bullying. As for the victims group they do not support the use of anger to get things done. However, they may use proactive anger as a reaction to being bullied. This is an adaptive strategy used commonly among victims. These outcomes are also consistent with intervention work, if students in schools do not accept bullying rates of victimization decline (Pellegrini, et al., 1999).

Dake, Price, and Telljohann (2003) explore the occurrence of school bullying actions and examine the connection between bullying and academic problems. The responsibility of school staff in bulling prevention is also explored. A quantitative research design was used in diverse settings, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Spain, Scotland, Austria, Japan, Canada, and the United States. The participants are all elementary school students in grades one through five. The frequency of victimization varies from a low of 11.3% in a sample of 5,813 students in Finland to a high of 49.8% in a nationwide sample (7,290) of students in Ireland. In the Unites States the estimated amount of students being bullied is 19% (Dake et al., 2003, p. 173).

Studies agree a connection between bullying and academic performance exists but studies are not coherent in their results. A British study of children ages 8-13 found a harmful relationship between being bullied and the level of scholastic ability. The same study also showed a harmful relationship between children who bully and the level of scholastic ability. For the British both bullies and their victims demonstrated poorer scholastic ability. A comparable age study of children from the United States found victims and bullies suffered lower academic aptitude. Other school associated issues such as school changes (doing well in class, following school policies, completing homework) and school connection (getting good grades, being content at school, realizing school is serious). Students involved in school bulling had low levels of school adjustment and school bonding. The bullied were affected more than the bullies. Bullies were 2.1 times more likely to feel separated from school than those not involved with bullying (Dake et al., 2003).

In Patterson’s (2005) article they define bullying for primary school children as “when people are mean to someone or hurt them on purpose” (Patterson, 2005, p. 27). This article brings a variety of other studies into his article. Collins et al. (2004) describes different types of bullying such as; physical bullying can be shoving, kicking, or hitting and direct verbal bullying includes spreading rumors, social exclusion, and telling tales (Patterson, 2005, p. 27). Royal College of Psychiatrists suggests 1 in 4 primary students are bullied (Patterson, 2005, p. 27). While Aggelton et al. (2000) says between 5% and 10% of children experience long-term persistent bullying which actively interferes with their mental health (Patterson, 2005, p. 27).

Patterson’s (2005) article continues on to say in the study done by Karstadt and Woods (1999) they indication a connection between mental health issues and bullying, with children often experience lowered self-esteem and depression. Thompson et al. (2002) suggest bullies experience more negative feelings and thoughts about themselves than their peers (Patterson, 2005, p. 28). For example: The bully may have problems of their own, maybe they will get bullied themselves, they are scared of getting picked on, they want to brag and seem strong, or many do not like themselves and so they pick on others. Kumpulainen and Rasanen (2000) state later in life children who have bullied remain troubled and they may be violent with criminal behaviors and convictions (Patterson, 2005).

Green’s (2007) research states statistics about students who committed suicide due to being bullied at school. This was from a studied done by Greenbaum (1991). The study states in Norway in 1984 three middle school students committed suicide after being bullied by classmates. In another study done by Barone (1997) the Japanese government reported a 13 year old hung himself after being bullied by classmates and gang members in his school and neighborhood (Green, 2007, p. 333). In Littleton, Colorado in 1999 two students committed suicide after killing 13, because they too had been victims of bullying (also known as the Columbine shooting) (Green, 2007).

Dulmus, Sowers, and Theriot (2006) hypothesize a better understanding of the bully-victim, victims, and rural school bullying will be obtained from this study. The knowledge gained from this study will guide future studies as well as school or community based intervention programs to help the victims of bullying. The subjects studied were 192 primary and secondary school students from three different rural areas. The area of this study is severely poverty stricken. Nearly 43-61% of the participants get free or reduced lunch programs and about 12% do not even have a telephone in their homes. The student population is 98% Caucasian. Parent consent forms were signed before the study took place (Dulmus et al., 2006).

The students completed an Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire was designed for students’ grade three to ten. The questionnaire consists of 56 questions pertaining to perceptions, observations, and participations about different aspects of bullying in their school. Dulmus, et al. (2006) states for this study any student who reports experiencing any of the bullying behaviors at least two to three times a month is classified as a victim. The results read using chi-square and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) tests.

Of 192 children in this study, 82 have experienced some type of bullying at least two to three times a month during the three months prior to data collection, including 60 victims. The other 22 victims meet criteria to be both bullied and a bully, or a bully-victim. This group is 11.5 percent of the total sample or 27% of the victim sub sample (Dulmus et al., 2006, p. 21).

School-based intervention programs are an important feature that will be needed to counteract the bullying in the schools. According to Dulmus et al. (2006) participants who are victimized are more terrified of bullying. Forty to fifty percent of the participants state educators do little or nothing at all to offset the bullying in the schools. The study concluded future research needs to be conducted in order for victims’ needs to be met (Dulmus et al., 2006).

Anti-Bullying Programs

Dake, Price, and Telljohann (2003) found intervention of school bulling needs to become the number one concern. Peer intervention programs to decrease bulling have had modest results. The best approach to have is for the whole school to participate. The whole school participation would combine multiple activities to decrease bullying. To assist schools in the United States to determine what method of bully prevention works best, more studies need to be completed (Dake et al., 2003).

In a study done by Siris and Osterman (2004) a group of elementary school teachers decide to do an action research in their classrooms school wide. These teachers noticed the victims of bullying in their school differed from their peers by looks, culture background, clothing, or actions. These victims tend to be lonely and insecure. The teachers study their classes for three weeks and identified conditions in which students picked for the study that experienced a sense of belonging, capability, and independence. The teachers began to pay more attention to students that were victims and ask the students more personal questions throughout the week for instance: What did you have for dinner last night or what do you do for fun (Siris et al., 2004, p. 290)? This action research concluded once the teachers started to pay more attention to these students and giving positive reinforcement they felt better about themselves, they were happier, enjoyed coming to school, and other students treated them better. An anti-bullying program could be as little as paying more attention to victims of bullying and giving them positive feedback by teachers (Siris et al., 2004).

According to Whitted and Dupper, (2005), some of the best practices for preventing or reducing the prevalence of bullying within schools are as follows: (a) school-level interventions, (b) classroom-level interventions and (c) student-level interventions. “A school-level intervention develops classroom and school wide rules prohibiting bullying and promote modeling of respectful and nonviolent behavior.” (Whitted & Dupper, p. 169). The message of bullying will be taken seriously is the message that needs to be sent. The bully must know bullying will not be tolerated; this idea must come directly from the principal and be followed through by the administration and teachers. Having a written policy in the school community with a clear definition of what bullying is and the procedures to report incidents is an integral part of the plan. Parents must be encouraged to report if they suspect their child being bullied or being a bully. According to this study (as cited in Rigby, 1995) an evaluation will increase school staff awareness about the characteristics, popularity, and consequences of bullying. After the needs assessment the coordination of a committee should take place states Whitted and Dupper. The committee should arrange to improve the supervision in the sections of the school that lack it and bullying usually occurs (Whitted & Dupper, 2005).

Classroom level involvement includes educators integrating bullying prevention materials into the curriculum, and holding classroom meetings to discuss bullying. Involving students in creating and implementing classroom rules against bullying and discussing the importance of bystanders in stopping bullying are two interventions discussed by Whitted and Dupper (2005). This study states (as cited in Rigby, 1995) programs instructing bystanders to notice and report bullying have the biggest influence on reducing bullying (Whitted & Dupper, 2005).

Garrity, Jens, Porter, Sager, and Short-Camilli (2004) give positive feedback on an anti-bullying program good for schools to use. The program is called “Bully Proofing Your School.” Throughout the article it does give some interesting statistics about bullies. One statistic is that children who are recognized as a bully by the age of eight are six times more likely than non-bullies to be found guilty of a criminal actions by the age of 24. The second statistic is by age 30 students who were bullies are five times as more probable to have a serious criminal record. It states several times in the article anti-bullying programs are best effective the earlier they are started in children’s education. The study indicates by the time aggressive students reach middle and high school, thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors have solidified into habit, often rendering intervention extremely problematic (Garrity et al., 2004, p. 186). This study also cites another study from Hoover and Oliver (1996) as saying educators need a minimum of 20 hours of instruction to be taught on how to intervene and instruct students with troubled and troubling behaviors (Garrity et al., 2004, p. 186).

The article goes further into depth of what comes with the “Bully-Proofing Your School” program and how each item or manual is effective. Garrity et al. (2004) suggests for this program to work schools should utilize their administrators, teachers, specialists, and behavioral teams to implement the program. The program provides training for schools and parents who choose to utilize it (Garrity et al., 2004).

Green’s (2007) research discusses a variety of different studies and how important it is to implement an anti-bullying program into schools world wide. Interventions have promising benefits and should be used more often by schools. Some benefits from intervention is students will feel safer at the school they attend, bullies will benefit because several studies show if left alone they show social failure and failure in academics, and if nothing is done to stop bullying it can escalate to more serious violence. According to the article some tips to prevent bullying at schools from another study by Hazler, Hoover, and Oliver (1993) is that bullying does exist and that all school personnel understand this problem. Administrators next step is to train their staff on the steps they must take to handle bullying. Finally, there needs to be a familiar comprehensive plan for the members of the entire staff can follow with ease. Green (2007) quotes, “When we listen to our students, we can bring our perception of bullying closer to reality” (Green, 2007, p. 336).

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (1994) is an anti-bullying program intended for ages 6-15 years old. The efforts of this program are aimed at improving peer relationships and making the school environment a safe place to learn. In this intervention all students take part with the students who bully or victims receiving additional help. The program first identifies some of the risk factors of bullying. The Bullying Prevention Program includes the following approaches: information sharing, counseling, behavior modifications, parent training classes, and in school curriculum. Each part is as important as the next in successfully implementing this program (Olweus, 1994).

This study goes on to state nine positive remarks about his program; which was evaluated by 2500 students from grades four through seven in Bergen. Here are some of the positive feedbacks from the results of the study: Classes agreed that they show a de

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