Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An Exploration into the Phenomenon of Bullying in the Jewish Residential Camp Setting through the Perspective of Bunk Counselors
by Jacobs, Aviva Levine, Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2012, 219; 3517201
Abstract (Summary)

A critical impediment to the positive psychosocial development of children is the phenomenon of bullying. Research on the nature of bullying and bullying prevention has largely occurred in the context of schools. Summer camps are one unique setting where children gather and where there is a dearth of research regarding bullying. Youth development research demonstrates the potential for positive psychosocial gains as a result of a camp experience. In addition to promoting general psychosocial growth, Jewish summer camps have the added goal of promoting positive Jewish identity development. Bullying is a phenomenon that has the ability to prevent positive psychosocial gains from being made as well as to undermine the goals for positive Jewish identity development.

The approach of this study was to apply a mixed method design in order to gain an understanding of bunk counselors' perceptions of this phenomenon in the camp setting. A survey was administered to 171 bunk counselors between the ages of 18-23 who worked with campers entering grades 4-8. Follow-up semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 counselors. Both the survey and the interview explored the following areas of inquiry: 1) bullying prevalence including physical, verbal, relational, and cyber-bullying, 2) counselor's attitudes and beliefs about bullying, 3) counselor interventions, 4) counselors' personal experiences with bullying, 5) counselors' perceptions of the short-term and long-term consequences of bullying and the potential impact of being in a Jewish context, and 6) staff training and support regarding bullying.

The study reveals that verbal bullying is the most common type observed by counselors followed closely by relational bullying. In general counselors held the belief that bullying is not normative. Approximately 1/3 of counselors reported having been bullied as campers. A wide range of staff training was revealed regarding the topic. The following recommendations were devised for Jewish camps to reduce bullying: develop a camp-wide approach to bullying prevention, limit unstructured and unsupervised time, target verbal bullying, empower bystanders, increase safety in the bunk, incorporate Jewish values into training and intervention, and devise and follow-through with consequences for bullying.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Curtis-Boles, Harriet
Commitee: Dorph, Sheldon, Kress, Jeffrey
School: Alliant International University
Department: San Francisco, CSPP
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Bullying, Camp counselors, Jewish, Residential camps
Publication Number: 3517201
ISBN: 978-1-267-47301-1
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