Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Ellis Gesten, Ph.D.

Keywords

School violence, Adolescence, Peers, Academic achievement, Families

Abstract

Previous research has revealed that bullying behaviors are negatively related to psychological, behavioral, social, and academic development. However, much of what is known has been determined from cross-sectional or year-long longitudinal studies conducted in elementary or middle school. The present study examined the longer-term correlates of bullying and victimization during the critical transition from middle to high school. Archival data from a large southern school district examined the longer-term implications of bullying and victimization of a middle school cohort (N=1,249). Results revealed that, during the initial survey year and over the following four-year period, self-identification as a bully was related to poorer academic achievement (grade point average), attendance, and discipline problems (total referrals and suspensions). No significant differences were found between victim and uninvolved student profiles, with the exception of victims having more discipline problems over the four subsequent years. Additionally, moderating factors, such as family, peer and school variables, were explored to determine why some youth involved in bullying succeed despite these challenges. Results revealed that the moderating influence of family adaptability and cohesion on student attendance and disciplinary actions persisted over a four-year follow-up period. Whereas increased family cohesion appeared to be related to increased attendance rates for victims, mixed results were demonstrated for family adaptability. Although higher levels of adaptability may be associated with better academic performance for victims, increased family adaptability was associated with poorer behavioral conduct of victims and bullies, as indicated by increased rates of referrals and suspensions.

Share

COinS