Children bullied by their peers: Why some do well, and some do not
Laurie J. Bennett, University of Denver, United States
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Denver . Awarded
This dissertation examines what might be going on in and around schools that helps some students to overcome the stigma and suffering of being bullied, and what might be going on that gets in their way. What do schools do to increase the likelihood of these students' surviving bullying intact and thriving thereafter? What do schools do to diminish that likelihood?
To answer this question, a retrospective, qualitative study was performed with two populations, using an extreme sampling approach: a group of high achieving, suburban high school students enrolled in advanced placement courses, and a group of incarcerated young men. Each group was given a retrospective survey to determine if they had been bullied when they were in grade school, and those from each group with the highest cumulative scores on the survey were selected to be interviewed.
From the interviews, the following findings emerged. What schools did that most helped to bullied children survive their bullying was (a) engage them in challenging work, and (b) support them through caring adults. What happened in schools that most hurt bullied children or got in the way of coping with their bullying was (a) changes in school structure (accompanying the shift from elementary to middle school), (b) adult non-intervention in bullying when it happened, and (c) isolation of victimized children from their school community. Three fundamental needs of bullied students, which could potentially be fulfilled by the school, also emerged from analysis of the interviews: (a) the need for a place of refuge and safety, (b) the need for caring adults, and (c) the need for a sense of a positive future awaiting them if they only stay in school.
Bennett, L.J. Children bullied by their peers: Why some do well, and some do not. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Denver.
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