Thesis Database

We have developed the following database of research theses on bullying from all academic institutions in the UK and Ireland. The aim of this database is to assist those who are interested in the field of bullying and want to see what research has already been done. We have attempted to ensure that we have included all relevant theses here; but if there is an omission please let us know by emailing

The database is here for information purposes. Those who want access to the texts of the theses need to contact the author, the relevant institution, or both.

Adolescent substance use and bullying: is there a link?
Edwards, Vicki
University of Leicester

Objectives. To investigate experiences of substance use, bullying and psychological distress in adolescents. Differential patterns of substance use and levels of psychological distress were explored according to bullying status (bullies, victims, bully-victims and controls). There is little previous research exploring the relationship between bullying and substance use. Design. A between groups cross-sectional design was employed. Method. Students aged 13-16 years were recruited from several inner city schools. 263 students completed the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire, the Birlesen Depression Scale, the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale, the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale and a measure of substance use designed by the researcher. Results. Victims and bully-victims were significantly more psychologically distressed, with higher levels of anxiety, depression and lower self-esteem, than bullies or controls. Those participants with higher levels of psychological distress used stimulants and hallucinogens more frequently than those with lower levels of psychological distress. There was no significant positive correlation between victim-hood and bully-victimhood with frequency of substance use. A negative correlation was found between victim-hood and use of hallucinogens and depressants. Being a bully was found to be positively correlated with use of depressants. Finally, reasons for substance use appear to vary according to bullying status. Bullies used substances to ‘have a good time’ and ‘fit in with friends’. Victims used substances to ‘block out bad things that had happened to them’ and to ‘block out negative feelings’. These results highlighted the unique identifiable patterns of substance use according to bully and victim status. However, bully-victims did not appear to have a unique pattern of substance use. Conclusion. Clinical implications of the results include the recognition of a complex association between substance use and bullying. Clinical services are encouraged to consider the differential patterns of substance use according to bullying status, and the subsequent requirement for different interventions and prevention strategies.

Bullying at work in great britain
Hoel, Helge
The University of Manchester

The issue of workplace bullying has received considerable attention in the UK in recent years. Despite a handful of surveys undertaken on the issue, no attempt has been made systematically to investigate its prevalence and nature, antecedents and outcomes, across occupations and sectors. This thesis attempts to fill this gap and presents an epidemiological investigation of workplace bullying in Great Britain. Following identification of a large-scale, random sample across a variety of sectors and occupations, objectives that emerged from a review of the literature are examined by means of a quantitative survey. Prevalence-rates of self-reported bullying are established, the nature of the behaviours revealed, and particular risk-groups identified. By means of a factor analysis of an inventory of negative behaviour identified with bullying in Britain, four underlying constructs are revealed: work-related bullying; personal bullying; managerial bullying; and intimidation. An investigation of possible predictors of bullying and negative behaviours reveals that bullying was particularly associated with a particular style of leadership utilising punishment in a non-contingent manner, i.e. unrelated to target behaviour, and where social relationships, particularly with supervisors, were strained. Following analysis, bullying and negative behaviour are found to be associated with negative effects on health and well-being as well as negative organisational outcomes, e.g. absenteeism, reduced productivity and, in particular, increased intention to leave. On average, targets of recent bullying report worst outcomes, followed by previous targets, witnesses of bullying and those who had neither been bullied nor had witnessed bullying. In discussing the results, a distinction is made between bullying processes and negative behaviour. It is argued that, when the local context and demographic factors, e.g. gender, age, race and organisational level, are taken into consideration, overall findings often masked important underlying differences. This highlights the varying meaning of the bullying experience. The complexity and multi-causality of the phenomenon is highlighted, with implications for stress-theory, suggesting that several factors may need to be considered simultaneously, as risk-factors may be the result of an interaction between two or more factors.

The social construction of workplace bullying: a sociological study with special reference to further and higher education
Lewis, Duncan
Cardiff University

Workplace bullying has been increasingly reported amongst a range of commentators as an organizational phenomenon that is on the increase. Narratives and accounts of workplace bullying have appeared from a range of sources that might lead some observers to suggest that bullying is a product of the activities of moral entrepreneurs or is the result of the workplace being perceived as a place of increased risk. This thesis is based on a triangulated pan-Wales study of full and part-time lecturers working in further (FE) and selected higher education (HE) institutions in Wales. The study encompasses unstructured interviews with lecturers who have been bullied; semi-structured interviews with human resource managers and trade union representatives; and a postal questionnaire survey of members of a trade union representing the further and higher education sectors. The study has sought to investigate how lecturers working in FE and HE in Wales have constructed certain behaviours as workplace bullying. By comparing the accounts of victims, ordinary lecturers and key informants such as human resource managers and trade union representatives, we find multiple interpretations and repertoires for bullying in work. For some, bullying is organizational and/or managerial while for others, bullying is the product of individualised conflicts. The lack of direct exposure to accounts of bullying for some participants has resulted in collectivising and shared paradigms, while for others, bullying is perceived as something more akin to school playgrounds. The evidence in this study points to a rejection of bullying at work as a product of moral entrepreneurs and other external labelling sources. Instead, the main finding from this study is that workplace colleagues’ play a central and pivotal role in the social construction processes for workplace bullying. The activities of work colleagues are consistently shown to be at the heart of bullying experiences at work. This is most likely to be in a validating or affirmatory role where they help label managers and the activities of the organization in the localised social constructions of bullying.

Adolescents, appearance and anti-bullying strategies. (BL: DXN057114)
Lovegrove, E.
University of the West of England, Bristol

The initial aims of this research were to assess the extent and nature of normative adolescent appearance-related concerns. Should levels of concern be high, the secondary aim was to explore the possibility that the same psychosocial strategies that are taught to disfigured adolescents (to raise self-esteem about appearance) might be similarly useful. Action research allowed adolescents themselves to construct a questionnaire concerning the extent and nature of concerns (n=50, Study 1), and also to inform the content and delivery of a subsequent intervention study (Studies 4, n=36; Study 5, n=26). Study 2 involved delivery of the questionnaire to pupils throughout one co-educational secondary school (n=304), and Study 3 to Year 9 pupils in various single-sex and co-educational schools (n=339). Studies 6,7,8 and 9 (n=190, 18, 27 and 10 respectively) investigated whether the taught strategies raised confidence in areas previously defined by pupils (in Study 4) as problematic. In addition, Study 6 investigated whether the inclusion of older peers at the 4 intervention sessions improved confidence. All pupils were asked to complete Rosenberg’s Self-esteem Questionnaire for Adolescents. Content analysis of the Study 1 questionnaire elicited that 94% claimed to have appearance-related concerns. 51% specifically cited fear of teasing or bullying about appearance, 31% that lack of confidence in appearance affects academic work. 20% of Year 9 pupils claimed to truant because of perceived poor appearance. Study 4 found enthusiasm amongst pupils for an intervention. In each of Studies 6-9 the taught strategies were shown to significantly raise confidence in areas previously defined as problematic. These were: confidence to speak up in class (p<0.05); confidence to approach those who look very different from self (p<0.001); and confidence to advise friends who are tested or bullied (p<0.01). Perceived levels of bullying decreased by almost two thirds, from 58% to 21%. Appearance concerns are high in a normative population of adolescents and, similar to their disfigured counterparts, these concerns engender social, emotional and behavioural difficulties that are likely to impact on a variety of contexts, including academically. Participants claimed that the strategies offered to alleviate bullying about appearance also transferred successfully to other kinds of confrontation.

Workplace trauma: concepts, assessment and interventions. (BL: DXN066822)
Tehrani, N.
The University of Nottingham

Although it is some twenty years since the establishment of the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a response to extreme psychological trauma, it is still a subject which is surrounded by controversy. This thesis takes a broad-brush approach to workplace trauma, looking at the nature, incidence and treatment of post-traumatic stress within a working environment. A traumatic experience in the workplace takes on a different meaning to employees than traumatic exposures in other settings. Using material collected from traumatised employees the organisational influences on the experience of trauma were demonstrated. This case study material was then used as a mechanism to highlight the need for organisations to consider the best way to meet the needs of traumatised workers. It was essential to this thesis to have an appropriate means to measure post-traumatic stress in the workplace. The development of the IES-E, a post trauma questionnaire, was undertaken to provide organisations with a simple reliable and valid tool to assess the levels of trauma and rates of recovery within its workers. The IES-E questionnaire provided the means to compare the symptoms of being a victim of an armed raid with those of the employee exposed to chronic bullying. The IES-E was also used to provide the means to demonstrate the positive benefits of the post trauma interventions of psychological debriefing and trauma counselling in victims of a major rail crash and a terrorist bomb blast. The requirements for organisations to manage disasters effectively led to the development of a disaster management process that was introduced into a number of organisations. In each of the businesses described, a cost benefit analysis was undertaken indicating that the management approach led to reduced costs and improved mental health.

Factors affecting coping with bullying in adolescence
Munro, C.
The University of Edinburgh

Bullying in schools has become an increasingly recognised problem. Since Olweus (1978) there has been an increase in research dedicated to this area, highlighting the ways bullying can be defined and its impact on the psychological well being of children and adolescents. As not all young people who are bullied experience psychological consequences, research has also examined differences in coping with

Contribution of personality factors to bullying in the workplace. (BL: DXN069182)
Seigne, Elizabeth
University of Hull

In the third chapter, the results from a pilot study are presented, the first to be conducted in Ireland.  It examines results obtained from 30 self-selected victims, who were interviewed and given a personality test (Cattells’ 16PF5).  Factors contributing to bullying and the effects of bullying were explored, as were the victims’ personality and their perception of the situation. Organisational factors such as stressful and hostile working environments, also the senior position of bullies, their aggressive behaviour and personality were cited by victims as reasons for being bullied.  Most victims reported psychological effects ranging from anxiety to fear, and physical effects ranging from disturbed sleep to behavioural effects such as eating disorders.  In relation to personality, many victims felt they were different, and we found to be anxious, apprehensive, sensitive and emotionally unstable.  Action taken by victims ranged from consulting personnel to taking early retirement. The aim of the investigation reported in Chapter Four was to extend the pilot study and to attempt to make up for its limitations.  Thus, a control group of non-victims was employed, the number of respondents was increased, interviews were conducted in the workplace, and a revised interview schedule and a more appropriate personality test were included.  The sample comprised 60 victims and 60 non-victims, employees from two large organisations in Dublin.  Both samples responded to a semi-structured questionnaire and completed the ICES Personality inventory (Bartram, 1994; 1998).  Results showed that victims were less independent and extraverted, more unstable and more conscientious than non-victims.  The results strongly suggested that personality does play a role in workplace bullying and that personality traits may give an indication of those in an organisation who are most likely to be bullied. In an extension to the main enquiry, the history of respondents with regard to their experience of bullying at school was examined.  Four groups were formed: (1) those who had been bullied both at school and at work, (2) those who had been bullied at work, but not at school, (3) those who had been bullied at school but not at work, and (4) those who had not been bullied at school or at work.  The test results from each group showed that the victim profile was most marked for Group One; Group Four were non-victims throughout their lives; Group Three also produced non-victim profiles; Group Two were most similar to Group One.  In interpreting these findings it is tentatively suggested that Group Three (those without the typical personality characteristics of a victim) were able to shrug off the bullying they experienced at school, whilst Group two had possibly escaped bullying at school because of the support available to them from family and friends, and from being team members of school debating societies and sports teams, support that was no longer available when they were adults. A subsidiary pilot study of Chapter Four re-assessed victims with additional tests of the Interpersonal Behavioural Survey and the Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventories, second edition.  Results indicated that again, victims had high dependency and in addition, low self-esteem and direct aggression, poor assertiveness and a tendency to denial and to avoiding conflict. Chapter Five represents an attempt to examine the personality characteristics of bullies, using the ICES and IBS and a behavioural workplace questionnaire (BWQ).  Although it proved difficult to obtain a large enough sample of bullies, findings were encouraging.  Bullies proved to be aggressive hostile individuals, high in extraversion and independence.  They were egocentric and selfish, without much concern for other’s opinions.  Most bullies said that they themselves had been bullied at work. Chapter Six extends the personality profiles of bullies and victims to consider their behaviour.

Improving the social behaviour of aggressive children in a schoolyard context : a video-feedback and self-management package intervention
University College Dublin
Sexual harassment in korean organisations
Lee, Sung-Eun
The University of York

My aim is this thesis is to explore how and why Korean female clerical workers have experienced sexual harassment within the organisational structure of their workplaces.  My data derives from qualitative interviews with 28 female clerical workers who work in Seoul, South Korea. However, my own position and experiences as a Korean feminist scholar are also embedded within the research process and explicitly incorporated into my analysis.  Despite having focused upon the experiences of Korean female workers, this thesis will contribute to an understanding of how experiences of women as sexual victims are embedded within the oppressive of heterosexuality and male-dominated organisational culture regardless of the socio-cultural differences of each society. In order to do so, this thesis first highlights the specificities of Korean heterosexuality and heterosexual culture whilst also examining features of organisational culture in relation to both gender and sexuality. This approach reflects my belief that incidents of sexual harassment are deeply embedded within the socio-cultural features of each society and, in particular, based upon the changing and ongoing features of gender and sexual culture.  The representative elements of Korean heterosexuality are identified as the enforcement of female sexual chastity and subservience and the permitting of solely marital sexual relations for women, while men expect varied sexual experiences. The super-heterosexual forces are interrelated with the promotion and maintenance of male-dominated and sex-discriminatory organisational culture. Thus, I understand the specific features of Korean heterosexuality and organisational culture to be the predominant contributors in the perpetuation of sexual harassment within Korean workplaces. In relation to experiences of sexual harassment, I suggest that the definition of sexual harassment is both flexible and contextual and its varieties diversely constituted within the socio-cultural features of each society.  Moreover, I discover the fact that the victims’ reluctance assertively to respond to sexual harassment is greatly affected by heterosexual and male-dominated organisational culture.  Therefore, my suggestion is that possible strategies to combat sexual harassment would be also based upon these socio-cultural features.

Accounts of bullying in organisations: voice, power and discourse at work
Liefooghe, Andy
University of Roehampton
An investigation into workplace bullying and school culture in Irish post primary schools
McNamara, Patricia Mannix
University of Limerick
Childhood experiences of bullying, trauma symptoms and attributions: their relation to violent offending
Pessall, L.
University of Leicester

The primary aim of this study was to see whether there is a relationship between the experience of being bullied and violent offending in later life. It was proposed that someone being bullied could be traumatised by the experience and display symptoms akin to PTSD, including hypervigilance and heightened threat perception, which may influence the likelihood of their involvement in violence. The study considers the relationship between the experience of being bullied, trauma symptoms and violent offending. Attributional style in relation to all of these variables is also considered as hostile attributional bias was proposed as a possible outcome of being bullied and a factor in increasing the likelihood of violent offending. Research concerned with childhood bullying, its effects, offending, and trauma is reviewed. The study and results are discussed in the context of literature to date. A relationship between the level of bullying experienced and the level of trauma symptoms currently experienced was found. There were no differences found between violence and non violent offenders on any of the measures used but there was a relationship between violent offending and a tendency to make negative attributions about their own actions relating to events. A similar relationship was also found for participants who had experienced bullying but not for those who had bullied others. Possibilities for future research and the implications for intervention and bullying prevention programmes are discussed in light of the findings.

A crime without punishment: policy advocacy for european union health and safety legislation on harassment at work
Petri, Hedwig
Middlesex University

The study is concerned about employers’ liability to protect the mental welfare of employees alongside their physical health. The need for protection is demonstrated in several ways. Firstly, the introduction examines the statistical evidence of harassment in the workplace and its effect on its victims. Secondly, data was collected from nine participants who had taken their employer to court claiming that they had been bullied out of their jobs. These documents which were supplemented in some cases by personal statements, were analysed using the Glaser and Strauss Grounded Theory method tempered with Case Study method. Ethical issues coming to the fore during data collection supplied additional material for a chapter which eflects on problems researchers will encounter when working with vulnerable research participants. Analysis showed the importance of social support for victims and implicated the role the trade unions, the medical and legal professions plays in secondary victimisation for victims of workplace bullying. A review of existing legislation was conducted to determine if internal voluntary guidelines or new legislation would give best protection. Employer-led bullying was identified as the form on which internal guidelines have no impact. Workplace bullying was always found to be morally wrong and the issue of what is legally right but not morally right was discussed. The findings emerging from the analysis together with recommendation to place protection of harassment at work within Health and Safety policies was presented to opinion makers to gauge the level of interest in the investigator’s recommendation that European Union Health and Safety officials should take the lead in advancing legislative change outlawing workplace harassment.

The course and nature of stalking: a psychological perspective. (BL: DXN045156)
Sheridan, L.
University of Leicester

Stalking may be described as an extraordinary crime, one that is easy to commit but difficult to define and prosecute. This is because many activities of stalkers are ostensibly routine and harmless. Section one of this thesis however demonstrates that although English and Welsh law does not define criminal stalking, the general public hold shared ideas on what does and does not constitute stalking behaviour. It is concluded that anti-stalking legislation that does not tightly prescribe stalking acts may best capture public concerns about this highly prevalent form of harassment. Further, researchers in different countries are investigating the same phenomenon in that previous studies have detailed similar patterns of stalker behaviour. Section two reports two victim surveys that provide a preliminary picture of stalking experiences in the United Kingdom. These indicate that both stalking and the victims’ reaction to it are changeable rather than constant, that any person can become a victim of stalking, and that stalkings themselves are a diverse group. Section three deals with the classification of stalkers. First, one specific classificatory factor, the nature of the stalker-victim prior relationship, is focused upon. Evidence that ex-partner stalkers are the relational group most likely to be violent toward their victims is provided, although stranger stalkers are most likely to be convicted for stalking activities. Next, a vignette study demonstrates how social psychological theory can account for the misattribution of ex-partner stalkers’ behaviour. Finally, a taxonomy of stalkers that was specifically created for use by law enforcement agencies is presented. This classification illustrates how different interventions can have varying success according to the type of stalking involved. More generally, this thesis confirms some previous work for the first time with British samples, and provides practical insight into the course and nature of stalking as it occurs in the United Kingdom.

An investigation into whether the ‘Iceberg’ system of peer mediation training, and peer mediation, reduce levels of bullying, raise self-esteem, and increase pupil empowerment amongst upper primary age children
Stacey-Cremin, Hilary

This thesis evaluates the effectiveness of peer mediation programmes in 3 primary schools in Birmingham. It investigates whether the ‘Iceberg’ system of peer mediation training, and the setting up of a peer mediation service, can reduce bullying, and have an effect on the self-concept of Year 5 pupils. The literature review section of the study reviews existing literature concerning peer mediation, humanism in education (humanistic values underpin the mediation process) behaviour management in schools and bullying. These are all areas that are revisited as part of the empirical research. The empirical research has a quasi-experimental research design which uses both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The experiment was set up to answer the main research questions as objectively as possible, given the author’s existing wider involvement in this area of work. Pre test and post-test measures include pupil questionnaires and interviews with teachers and headteachers. The positivist framework of the main experiment, however, proved to be somewhat restrictive in answering some interesting new questions which emerged as a result of the programme not being implemented as planned in 2 of the experimental schools. The findings suggest that peer mediation can be used as a strategy to reduce bullying and improve pupil feelings of empowerment and self-esteem provided it forms part of a wider strategy to empower pupils and improve their personal and social skills. The difficulties of carrying out an experiment in a school setting, however, make the results inconclusive and more research is recommended in order to understand the links between peer mediation, humanistic practices in the classroom, and the apparently central role of the headteacher.

Mainstream teachers’ attitudes towards the inclusion of children with special educational needs in the ordinary school
Avramidis, Elias
University of Exeter

This thesis is concerned with the presentation of a three year project investigating mainstream teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion in one Local Educational Authority in the Southwest of England. The study used both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The first phase of the project involved a survey which indicated that educating students with significant disabilities in mainstream classrooms results in positive changes in educators’ attitudes. Here, the study confirmed previous research, which reported that teachers show positive commitment after they have gained mastery of the professional expertise needed to implement inclusive programmes. Further, the survey highlighted the importance and effectiveness of substantial self-reflective critical professional development, which results in the acquisition of generic teaching skills necessary for meeting the needs of all children, as opposed to short term technical responses to specific needs. The qualitative phase of the project involved in-depth case studies of two individual schools which considered the whole issue of inclusion from a holistic perspective. The results of the qualitative phase indicated that there are distinctions to be drawn between integration (seen as “participation”) and inclusion (“participation’ and “belonging”) -this was further highlighted by students’ personal accounts of bullying within the secondary school which described itself as “inclusive”. The qualitative aspects of the study highlighted the conclusion that “inclusive practice” is seen more in terms of integration than inclusion – students have their specific learning needs well met within the schools, but their personal needs are not well supported. The results indicate that in order to achieve inclusion, schools must look to restructuring to support personal as well as social needs. Such restructuring is dependent on specific professional development (as indicated in the quantitative study) which supports the needs of learners within “inclusive” (holistic) frameworks.

Bullying in schools: correlates and intervention strategies
Baldry, Anna Costanza
University of Cambridge

The present project of research consists of four different studies. The first study is a correlational investigation conducted with a sample of 285 students from a secondary school in Rome; the aim of the study was a first attempt to look at different possible risk factors explaining bullying and victimisation. These factors are both related to individual characteristics as well as family and social ones. The second study was developed according to the results of the first study, using the same methodology and design but a different sample. The aim was to overcome some of the limitations from the first study, mainly: sample size, type of school and selection of risk factors (individual characteristics). The second study was conducted with a sample of 679 students. Other personal and social variables were included in the design to better explain bullying and victimisation. Results indicate the correlational effect on bullying of individualistic variables such as impulsiveness and coping strategies. The third and fourth studies, conducted with two different samples of students, focus on the evaluation of the efficacy of an intervention programme for the prevention of school violence. Study 3 looks at the effects of intervention programme on student’s attitudes to violence at home and to bullying. To test significant differences, results from an experimental group that received the programme were compared with those of the control group that did not get the programme. The study presents significant changes in attitudes towards violence. The last study looked at the effects of the intervention programme on bullying behaviour. The study collected data before and after the intervention in an experimental group (that took part in the intervention), and in the control group, matched with the experimental one, that did not receive the intervention in order to draw comparisons. The aim was to check for significant changes in the prevalence of bullying and victimisation, types of bullying, and feelings about bullying. Results indicate a significant effect of the intervention on the reduction of victimisation especially in case of girls and older students.

Career development of girls and women: the challenge for guidance
Bimrose, Jenny
University of Warwick

The adequacy of the theory underpinning current careers guidance practice is increasingly being questioned for particular client groups, including girls and women. Key criticisms relate to the philosophy of science that has dominated the research informing these theories, neglect of context, bias in sampling procedures and their failure to take account of changes in the labour market. The research reported in this thesis explores some of the factors that inhibit women’s career development in the UK, as well as some that enhance it, in a way that takes account of these criticisms. The focus is on both the theory and practice. Grounded theory informed the data collection and analysis phases of the research. Two questionnaires, the first of which was completed by one hundred and two participants, provided a progressive focusing of the study. In-depth interviews with nine of the female participants who had experienced discrimination in employment comprised the final stage of data collection. The research highlights, simultaneously, the similarities of the experiences of girls and women compared with boys and men, and the different ways girls and women responded to these experiences. Findings relate both to the contextual and individual factors that have influenced the career development of participants. Discrimination and sexual harassment emerge as important, and the strategies developed by participants to cope are identified. Perhaps most importantly, the research examines the lived experiences of women participants conveyed in their own voices. Implications for careers guidance practice are discussed. An accurate understanding of the context in which women’s career development in the UK occurs is emphasised together with strategies which could improve guidance practice.

Bullying, social exclusion and peer relationship difficulties that involve deaf children: towards a systematic model
Dixon, Rosalind Anne
University of London, Goldsmiths' College

This thesis contains two studies, based on systemic thinking and qualitative research methodologies. Both studies address the issue of bullying, social exclusion and similar peer-relationship difficulties, involving deaf children. The first study is a case study of a secondary school which provided integrated education to approximately 25 moderate to severely deaf students. Grounded theory was used to analyse semi-structured interviews with a total of 44 participants drawn from a variety of sub-groups within the school system. The main findings relate to the way the construct of ‘same versus different’ was central to the reaction of the majority group towards the deaf students. The analysis addresses in turn peer reactions to this form of difference; the school’s reaction to this form of difference; and the overt function performed by the specialist staff of meeting the practical needs of the deaf children; and the more covert function the specialist staff performed in managing anxiety generated within the system by this form of difference. From these themes it is possible to offer a systemic analysis of the nature and management of bullying in this school. The second study is a retrospective study with 35 deaf adults drawn form the deaf community and patients from an NHS department of audiology. The participants varied primarily in their level of deafness [moderate to profound] and their educational placements as children. Participants took part in semi-structured interviews which were also analysed using grounded theory. The separate group processes of ostracism and scapegoating were identified as likely causes of some bullying-type behaviour: ostracism as part of the explicit functioning of the group, scapegoating as part of the implicit functioning of the group. Two premises developed in the adult study – boundary actions as a feature of bullying, and the possible relevance of implicit and explicit levels of functioning within systems – were then developed using material from both studies. Two levels of intrapsychic functioning and two levels of functioning in two-person relationships is hypothesised.

Social skills problems and peer victimisation in junior school pupils.
Fox, C.L.
Keele University

Few studies have examined the social skills problems of victims of bullying. Thus, the general aim of this thesis was to assess social skills problems and peer victimisation in Junior School pupils. A Peer Nomination Inventory (PNI) was developed to assess social skills problems, peer victimisation and friendship/peer acceptance. In addition, a number of psychosocial adjustment variables (i.e. depression, anxiety, self-esteem) were assessed, using self-report. 449 children (aged 9 to 11 years) completed the measures at three time points over the course of an academic year. Using the data collected at Time 1 and Time 3 (N=449) concurrent and longitudinal associations between social skills problems, peer victimisation, and friendship/peer acceptance were investigated (‘Study One’). Study One found that social skills problems predicted an increase in peer victimisation over time, and that this relationship was weaker for those children with lots of friends, and for those children with a ‘popular’ best-friend. On the basis of the data collected at Time 1, 28 children were selected to take part in a Social Skills Training Programme for victims of bullying. Using the data collected at all three time points, it was possible to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention (‘Study Two’). Study Two found that there was an increase in ‘global self-worth’ (i.e. self-esteem) for the experimental group (compared to the control group). However, there were no other significant improvements, e.g. in terms of social skills problems or victim status. These findings have important implications for interventions to tackle the problem of bullying in schools.