Young people’s perceptions and experiences of bullying: A focus on journeys to and from school.

Assignment type: Research Project (Small Scale Research Project, Year 1)
Authors: Katy Goymour, Emma Herring, Joanna Spragg, Claire Williams, Barbara Gessler, Andrea Marr and Hanna Kovshoff
Submitted: Spring 2016

PGR poster 1

The poster for this research study won first place at the 2016 Southampton School of Psychology Post Graduate Research Conference.

Research Summary:

Bullying appears to be an unpleasant but inevitable part of school for many pupils, and has been shown to impact on emotional well-being and academic achievement, both in the short and the long-term.

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Traditional Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: The Protective Role of Peer Relations

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Jerry Brown
Submitted: May 2013

Cyber-bullying has become recognised as a recent form of traditional bullying that uses electronic means. In traditional bullying the quantity and quality of someone’s social network has been shown to play a somewhat protective role in warding off victimisation, but the corresponding research in cyber-bullying is limited and more equivocal. Indications are that any protective factor is much reduced and may be absent. The reasons for this are unclear and may include the potential anonymity of the bully and the lack of face-to-face communication. There are also fundamental differences in the way that those involved conceptualise cyber-bullying from traditional bullying and these may manifest themselves in a belief that peer support can play little or no protective role. An alternative interpretation is provided of the lack of protection provided by peer support in the online environment that owes less to how the online environment may dilute any protective effect and more to the merging of online and offline friendships and the heightened vulnerability to cyber-bullying that this brings. Implications for EPs are tentative given the lack of research on peer relations in cyber-bullying, but they should guard against simply transferring solutions for traditional bullying into the cyber-context and seek more robust theoretically-based interventions that acknowledge how different traditional and cyber-bullying are.

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To what extent can bullies be seen as the victims of bystanders?

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Cora Sargeant
Submitted: May 2011

Bullying is defined as any repeated behaviour designed to cause harm to someone not readily able to defend themselves. Due to the severe consequences of bullying for the victim, it is understandable that bullies have been cast as sole antagonists in the bullying dynamic, victimising the vulnerable and intimidating bystanders into complicit inaction. This essay challenges this view, arguing that bullying behaviour can be viewed as the misguided effort of a rejected group to be more accepted by their peers through the public derogation of other rejected groups. The essay goes on to argue that this reinterpretation of the role of the bully necessitates a reinterpretation of the role of the bystander. Bystanders have been viewed as intimidated into frequent inaction during bullying episodes. This essay argues that bystander inaction can be equally viewed as a form of social rejection of the bully, with bystanders distancing themselves from their counter-normative behaviour. Thus bullies can be seen as the victims of bystander inaction, caught in a vicious cycle where bullying becomes both the cause of and the only perceived solution to social exclusion and rejection. Implications of this reinterpretation of the roles of bullies and bystanders for anti-bullying interventions are discussed.

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