Victims' responses to overt bullying and their effect on the attitudes and reactions of peer by standers and teachers
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 03:09 by Nicole Sokol
This thesis presents four empirical papers investigating victims’ responses to overt bullying and their impact on peer bystanders and teachers within the social ecology of bullying. Research indicates that victims’ responses can influence the bullying trajectory and subsequent adjustment difficulties. However, further research is needed to determine the particular responses victims must adopt to achieve particular outcomes. Using quantitative and qualitative approaches, Papers 1 and 2 extended past research by exploring different victim responses from student and teacher perspectives, respectively. Building on preliminary evidence suggesting the potential influence of victims’ responses to bullying on bystanders, Papers 3 and 4 studied victim response effects on the attitudes and reactions of peer bystanders and teachers, respectively. Papers 1 and 3 examined a sample of Australian fifth and seventh grade students (N = 206, Mage = 11.13 and 13.18 years, respectively), while Papers 2 and 4 utilised a sample of 289 Australian teachers (Mage = 41.22 years, SD = 11.81, 59 males). All four studies utilised hypothetical videotaped bullying scenarios that depicted victims responding to being bullied in one of four different ways (labelled as angry, sad, confident, ignoring). To maximise ecological validity, victims’ responses were portrayed through the combination of a particular emotional display and behavioural reaction which were observable to bystanders. The results of Papers 1 and 2 deepened our understanding of how students and teachers evaluate different victim responses and the motivations and rationales underlying particular victim responses. Papers 3 and 4 identified the victim’s response to bullying as a salient situational factor influencing the cognitions, emotions, and behavioural intentions of peer bystanders and teachers, respectively. Insights derived from this thesis have the potential to improve individual-level, peer-level, and teacher-level components of whole school programs which seek to attenuate the systemic problem of bullying.