Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Bridging the gap: Relational aggression in the college environment
by Delgado, Irene R., Ph.D., City University of New York, 2011, 122; 3469848
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study is to expand the limited research on bullying behaviors and their consequences in the college environment; specifically, frequency of exposure, explanation for bullying behaviors, attribution of blame and help seeking responses. The negative trajectory that has been seen throughout elementary school, middle school and high school is expected to continue through into the college environment.

This investigation was conducted in two parts. In Study A, participants were 348 college students from an ethnically diverse, suburban private college which consisted of 203 females and 153 males. Students self-selected to participate in filling out a sixty-item survey to gain demographic and basic knowledge about their frequency of exposure to bullying in the college environment. Study A provided key evidence that females and males reported bullying/relational aggression, as a witness, in the college environment. In addition, females did not engage in relational aggressive behaviors in higher frequency than males, and females did not blame the victim more often for relationally aggressive victimization as compared to males.

In Study B, participants were thirty-two college students who self-disclosed their interest in participating in in-depth interviews regarding personal accounts of bullying and its effects. Questions were aimed at understanding students' explanations for bullying behaviors, and evaluating their personal experiences with bullying and help seeking as they matured. Each student was individually interviewed by this investigator.

The main conclusions drawn from Study B are: 1) females endorsed jealousy as the most relevant reason for bullying as compared to males who endorsed gaining acceptance as the most frequently cited explanation; 2) in elementary school, high school, and college, females reported a higher percentage of help seeking as compared to males; and, 3) college students reported experiencing negative feelings from being exposed to bullying in the college environment, in addition to feeling negatively in the classroom.

This study illuminates the continued need to provide bullying intervention programs at the college level, including but not limited to: training professors and staff on how to identify and respond to bullying episodes, provide bullies and victims with individualized support, and, develop and enforce a disciplinary code of conduct.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Johnson, Helen L.
Commitee: Akiba, Daisuke, Saxman, Laura
School: City University of New York
Department: Educational Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology
Keywords: Bullying, College, Relational aggression
Publication Number: 3469848
ISBN: 9781124862330
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