Date of Award

2005-11-01

Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane Georges, PhD, RN, Chairperson; Donna L. Agan, EdD; Judith A. Vessey, PhD, CRNP, MBA, FAAN

Keywords

adolescents, men, mental health, nursing, peer bullying, psychosocial

Abstract

Bullying remains a pervasive problem in most schools throughout the nation. Peer-bullied victims report higher levels of depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and concerns regarding their safety in school. Reactions of victims to peer bullying have been extreme, as in the cases of the rampage school shooters. Primarily, current research has not focused on the high school adolescent, although most school shooters arise from that age group. The overall purpose of this study was to examine the psychosocial responses by adolescent male victims to peer bullying. Research questions addressed the frequency and severity of peer-victimization, distress, anxiety, and their perception of school violence. This quantitative analysis comprised a convenience sample of males in Grades 9 and 10 from six suburban Southern California high schools. Each participant completed the Reynolds Bullying Victimization Scales for Schools (RBVS). The RBVS includes three instruments; the Bully Victimization Scale (BVS), Bully Victimization Distress Scale (BVDS), and the School Violence Anxiety Scale (SVAS). Only those who self reported being victims on the BVS were analyzed as to their levels of distress, anxiety, and perception of school violence. In total, 1,697 students completed the RBVS; 43.1% ninth grade (n = 732), 43.8% tenth grade (n = 743), and 13.1% (n = 222) of ninth and tenth graders choosing not to declare their grade. Of the total respondents 1,487 participants completed the BVS, of which 25.5% (n = 379) reported being a victim of bullying within the past month. Of those, 57.2% reported being victimized by a peer five or more times within the past month. Victims consistently reported significantly higher scores on the BVDS when compared to their non-victim counterparts. Of victims, 70.5% reported severe anxiety and concern of school violence within the past month. African American teens consistently reported the highest scores of all races/ethnicities on all three instruments. Adolescent male victims of peer bullying experienced markedly elevated levels of distress and anxiety. They perceived their school environment to be unsafe and reported concern of possible school violence. Future study of adolescent peer victimization should consider examining race/ethnicity as a contributing factor in peer bullying.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access

Department

Nursing

Included in

Nursing Commons

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