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.

Teachers’ Perspectives on Bullying in Schools: A Comparative Mixed Methods Study in England and the United States
Hurtubise, Peter
University of Oxford

Teachers play a critical role in responding to, reporting, and preventing bullying. This study focuses on teachers’ perceptions of various types of bullying: physical, verbal, relational, and especially the more recent phenomenon of cyberbullying. It compares English and US teachers’ perspectives of the seriousness of these different types of bullying, thereby investigating how and why teachers have different views of how to address bullying and the different reasons they give as to why they would or would not respond to different bullying scenarios. This can possibly contribute to potential strategies to combat bullying.

The research is based on a sequential explanatory mixed methods design. In the first quantitative phase, the researcher developed two questionnaires, asking teachers for their perceptions of different hypothetical bullying scenarios, drawing on Expectancy Theory and Social Cognitive Theory. Questionnaires were adapted from those previously developed in a series of American studies (Bauman and Del Rio 2006; Yoon and Kerber 2003; Stauffer et al. 2012). They were administered to a purposive sample of teachers in both England and the US in order to provide a comparative element in two English-speaking country contexts. The questionnaires were analysed to establish whether there are differences between the perceptions and the reasons for responses for new and experienced teachers across the two different country contexts. The analyses also explored teacher perceptions of more long-term strategies to deal with cyberbullying.

In the second qualitative phase, a series of semi-structured interviews were conducted with small sub samples of teachers in both England and the US to provide additional qualitative evidence about teachers’ understandings and experiences of bullying. The interviews explored a number of topics emerging from the quantitative findings pertaining to bullying and cyberbullying, allowing teachers to comment on the survey findings and share their experiences. In addition, the analysis of the qualitative interviews offered the opportunity to provide richer descriptions and insights, building explanations and enhancing understandings. This process enables the research to investigate the degree of similarity between the quantitative and qualitative findings. The combination and integration of findings from both phases of the mixed methods study adds to the ability to triangulate findings and to explore and clarify the reasons for differences in perspectives between English and US teachers. In the mixed sequential explanatory strategy, quantitative findings reveal general trends from the data that are later expanded and investigated further within the qualitative phase. The discussion then explores the nature of the similarities and differences between these findings.

The quantitative findings suggest that three main variables predicted both US and English teachers’ responses to cyberbullying scenarios: the perceived seriousness of the situation, the confidence in one’s ability, and the location (home having less of a response than school scenarios). The qualitative findings suggest that teachers’ perceptions of severity could be shaped by current policies and the relationships teachers developed with their students; the perceived confidence in one’s self could be mediated by one’s interpretation of the school culture and the trust established with others on staff; responding to a home cyberbullying situation could depend on one’s understanding of pastoral responsibilities and the current parental involvement. This research provides new findings that can inform policy makers and practitioners in designing and implementing anti-bullying programs that are relevant to different contexts. Knowledge of teacher perceptions could prove useful as a starting point for developing a teacher education program. An understanding of the different types of bullying and cyberbullying that need attention could enable anti-bullying programs to present new and relevant material.

Bullying in schools: A complexity approach to sustainable restorative approaches?
Roberts, Luke
University of Cambridge

The issue of bullying is an international concern; specifically, the harmful influence that bullying has on young people in educational settings. Restorative approaches have been viewed as an appropriate intervention for addressing bullying. A review of the literature suggests that the Whole School Approach is the most common form of implementing restorative approaches in English schools.

This research has sought to address a substantial gap in the existing literature, which has focused on implementation rather than the sustainability of restorative approaches. This research has developed a qualitative inquiry using a constructionist epistemology to explore the phenomena of change from the perspective of secondary school educationalists in their local ecosystems. Prior to the research phase, a soft systems methodology was used to stimulate opportunities for internal creativity with staff developing restorative approaches in their school. This enabled staff to develop a range of self-generated activities to enhance restorative interventions in their setting. A phenomenological methodology was used to focus on staff perceptions of change happening over an academic year. Focus groups were conducted in each of the four inquiry schools using a semi-structured interview process. A complexity-informed thematic analysis was conducted to synthesize and critique the data collected during the focus groups.

The findings from this research suggest that staff perceptions construct a complex and nuanced understanding of restorative approaches, whilst exploring the tensions and accommodations of school change. Furthermore, this research reveals how systems can innovate or distort initiatives such as restorative approaches.

Consequently, there then follows a discussion for implications of the findings from this research in response to the research questions. Furthermore, there is a wider discussion on the implications for the field of restorative approaches. This includes how a complexity theory-informed analysis provides insights into the phenomena of school change and the sustainability of restorative approaches. The thesis ends with reflections and possibilities on how those seeking to implement and sustain change in complex adaptive systems can act as system-synthesis leaders to engage with complex phenomena.

Workplace bullying and its effect on employee well-being in Ghana’s oil and gas industry
Kumako, Stephen Kodjo
The University of Nottingham

The World Health Organisation (2017) asserts that changes in the world of work have resulted in new risks to employee health and safety. The focus of occupational health and safety professionals has evolved beyond physical risks, and now includes psychosocial risks such as workplace bullying. Workplace bullying is an extreme social stressor that has the potential to affect victims, witnesses, co-workers, significant others, the organisation itself and society. Whilst much is known about this phenomenon in other parts of the world, very little research effort has examined workplace bullying in Sub-Saharan African countries such as Ghana. Accordingly, this thesis aimed at understanding the lived experiences of employees in the nascent oil and gas industry in Ghana. Furthermore, this research sought to apply the Job Demands-Resources model to workplace bullying and test an adapted theoretical model based on Einarsen et al’s (2011) comprehensive model of workplace bullying. To this end, a mixed methods design was adopted using employees from the upstream, midstream and downstream operations within Ghana’s oil and gas industry. The qualitative study used data from in-depth semi-structured interviews with fifteen employees across the oil and gas sector in Ghana. In the three quantitative studies, three hundred and twenty-six employees responded to both online and paper-based questionnaires. Results of this research indicate that work-related bullying behaviours are more common than person-related bullying in the oil and gas sector in Ghana. Additionally, aspects of Ghanaian culture, unequal distribution of power, supervisors’ perceived job insecurity as well as perceived racial discrimination were identified as causes of workplace bullying. This study also found that employees reported psychological distress, mistakes and errors, poor work attitudes, and turnover intentions as a result of bullying at work. Furthermore, recreational activities and social support as well as religious coping were identified as resources available to employees and used to deal with workplace bullying. Job demands (work pace and workload) and resources (job control and supervisor social support) were associated with workplace bullying. Results again showed that the interaction of some specific job demands, and resources was related to workplace bullying. Moreover, psychological capital and religiosity respectively moderated the relationship between workplace bullying and psychological well-being. Finally, psychological well-being mediated the relationship between workplace bullying and engagement, burnout and job satisfaction respectively. Workplace bullying is pervasive in Ghana’s oil and gas industry and occupational health and safety professionals should seek to reduce specific job demands and increase specific job resources. Organisations in Ghana can aid the development of psychological capital through training to enhance employee well-being whilst understanding coping mechanisms such as religiosity. Additionally, organisations should implement anti-bullying policies and procedures fairly and ensure a psychologically safe work environment. Findings from this thesis are integrated and further discussed in the final chapter. The limitations of the various studies are critically analysed with recommendations for future studies. Additionally, the implications of the findings for theory and practice, especially in Ghanaian organisations, are highlighted.

Toxic management and intention to quit: A qualitative investigation of the impact of toxic management and intention to quit among office staff in a wholesale office environment in Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Gargan, Helen M.
National College of Ireland

Toxic management has only recently been the subject of empirical research, despite numerous references in the popular press and in some publications. This research investigated the relationship between toxic management and intention to quit of office staff in a wholesale environment. Predominantly, the research focussed on the impact of toxic management on perceptions, attitudes and work experiences of the chosen staff.

Analysis was performed thematically and the collected data from the semi-structured interviews were analysed to show the relationship between toxic management and the employees’ intention to quit. Previous employees who had resigned were interviewed in addition to those who had shown an intention to resign in the next short period of time. In all, six interviews were performed over a number of weeks and the collected data transcribed by this researcher.

It was found that toxic management styles had a direct effect on the individuals and on the culture of the organisation itself. There were issues around group cohesiveness, tight or abusive supervision, individual feelings of engagement, lack of communication and the relationships between the individual, their line manager and within the working group itself. Results from the analysis supported the development of a toxic climate within the organisation, a bullying culture and the impact on staff intention to remain in their role was directly related to the instances of toxic behaviour by line management.

There were suggestions for further research into other areas of the organisation and on other employees within the chosen organisation also.

Social justice for a heterogeneous population?: An investigation into the public sector equality duty in Glasgow
Laughlin, Susan R.
University of Glasgow

Policy-making and service development tends to what has been called the ‘ideal of impartiality’ whereby difference between different population groups is reduced to unity. At the same time, inherent within equality law is an understanding that the population is heterogeneous, experiencing complex forms of injustice which require the opportunity for legal redress. The Equality Act 2010 includes a general duty on public authorities, the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), to have due regard to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different groups in relation to nine protected characteristics. Secondary legislation in Scotland has added significant additional requirements with the potential to transform the way that public authorities think and act about equality including duties to report progress on mainstreaming the equality duty, to publish equality outcomes and report progress and to assess and review policies and practices. The way that this secondary legislation has been
conceptualised, interpreted and how it has informed planning and practice within public authorities has not previously been the subject of a body of research. This thesis has sought to contribute to greater understanding about the potential of the PSED in Scotland by applying interpretive policy analysis to the application of the duty in one city, Glasgow. Interpretive approaches to policy focus on meanings that shape actions and institutions and draw on a range of methods to follow the objects, the language, the relevant actors and the acts
associated with the policy. Within this context, an assumption has been made that a compound narrative about injustice, equality as constitutive of social justice and institutional change within the city can be derived by investigating meaning and action associated with the PSED from a number of different perspectives. Firstly, the framing and the discourses associated with formal texts required for compliance produced by five key institutions with responsibility for different facets of city life have been investigated critically. These five institutions are
the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the City of Glasgow College, selected for both their relationship to social structures which determine equality and for their responsibilities for its different dimensions. Secondly, the perspectives of three communities of meaning – those directly responsible for compliance, those indirectly responsible for compliance and advocates for social groups – have been gathered through the use of semi-structured interviews in order to compare and contrast their interpretations with the formal texts. Lastly, the meaning and actions associated with the mainstreaming requirement of the secondary duties have been considered in order to ascertain whether and how equality aspirations have shaped the strategic and operational responsibilities of Glasgow City Council, health and social care provision and further education in the city in relation to theories of urban justice. The PSED was largely viewed as an important and beneficial piece of law, that there was no room for
discrimination within the city and that equality across different social groups was an acceptable ideal. The duty was also viewed as a means of exerting pressure on public institutions both from within and from the outside to reflect on the meaning of equality and to consider the way that organisations both perpetuated and resolved inequality. At the same time, the opportunities afforded by the secondary duties to transform social systems and dimensions of equality were not met and as a consequence the potential for Glasgow to be a more just city for its heterogeneous population not realised.

Coping with School-Based Peer-Victimisation: The Role of Peers
Gardner, Sarah Evelyn
Nottingham Trent University

The focus of the thesis was to investigate the concurrent and longitudinal effects of friendship for coping with school-based peer-victimisation in late childhood. This addressed a gap in the literature pertaining to the role of friendship in children’s endorsement of coping behaviour and the buffering effect of friendship on the experience of school loneliness following reports of expected maladaptive coping behaviour. Specifically, the thesis addressed two research questions: (1) What is the role of friendship for coping with school-based peer-victimisation? and (2) Does friendship buffer against the negative effects of maladaptive peer-victimisation coping?

These research questions were addressed via a three-wave longitudinal study that examined the concurrent (Chapter 6) and longitudinal (Chapter 7) relationships between peer-victimisation, friendship (quantity and quality), expected peer-victimisation coping behaviour (internalising, retaliation, avoidance, peer support, adult support, and problem solving) and school loneliness (as an indicator of psychosocial adjustment). Longitudinal social network models (Chapter 8) were also applied to examine the co-evolution between friendship and children’s expected peer-victimisation coping behaviour. The sample used throughout the thesis was drawn from a population of primary school children aged between 9 to 11 years old (England Year 5 and Year 6). A total of 529 children were invited to take part in the study from across eight schools, this resulted in a final sample of 443 children (55.7% female) at Time 1, 334 children (55.5% female) at Time 2, and 354 children (57.9% female) at Time 3.

Findings from across the thesis indicate that children’s friendship experiences are concurrently and longitudinally related to expected peer-victimisation coping behaviour. However, these relationships were dependent upon the type of friendship experience (quantity and quality) and the type of expected coping behaviour. Furthermore, negative friendship experiences (conflict within friendships and low levels of reciprocated friendships) were found to exacerbate the negative effects of expected maladaptive (internalising) coping. This was associated with increased feelings of school loneliness in children and continued experiences of verbal peer-victimisation. Through longitudinal and network data, the empirical research presented in this thesis highlights the important contribution of friends and peers for peer-victimisation coping (or expected coping) in children.

Power and resistance: A Foucauldian analysis of workplace bullying and harassment in the National Health Service
Leaver, Nancy.
The University of Manchester

There has been a lot of recent media coverage of, and research that has drawn attention to, the increase in reporting of workplace bullying (WPB) and harassment in the National Health Service (NHS). These reports have indicated that this culture of bullying has impacted on the quality of care for service users (Francis, 2013). The first aim of this research was to understand the lived experiences of WPB or harassment in the NHS and to examine the dynamics of power that construct the bullying relationship at different levels; the institutional
level (macro level), the workplace (meso level) and at the individual level (micro level). The second aim was to understand how employees are both affected by, and resist power. The potential for resistance in an organisation could be used to expand knowledge in the counselling psychology profession (CPP) at the level of both research and intervention. This is an area that the CPP is well able to support. Therapists and Healthcare Professionals (HCP), who had left the NHS, were recruited from WPB websites and word of mouth and invited to
attend a narrative interview. All were from different parts of the UK, representing varied NHS healthcare settings. Therapists and HCP were chosen because they are situated at the interface of the competing institutional systems that often reproduce bullying cultures, whilst at the same time could be facing the challenges of offering therapy to some service users who could be experiencing the same thing. Narratives were transcribed and analysed using narrative inquiry (NI) and a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA) as these allowed a
deepening of an analysis of power at different levels. WPB and harassment manifested as discrimination, such as one narrator who was not offered a senior post for being black and challenging, whilst at other times this was impersonal, such as the general pressure of not conforming to workplace standards, such as working overtime, manifesting in group ganging. Whilst racism manifested as a visible, personal and humiliating attack, WPB experienced by the white narrators tended to be job related where the main threat was being made invisible in the service. All the narratives indicated how WPB and harassment reproduced normative structures in NHS workplace cultures that often discriminated against difference. They also revealed that not only were the narrators subject to WPB and harassment at an individual level, but this was also manifested through the organisation and institutionally, as racism and sexual discrimination. In summary, these findings indicated strongly that ‘the personal’ is indeed, ‘political’. Implications and recommendation for the counselling psychology profession were made and expanded upon.

The experiences of transgender young people and their parents: Informing the work of Educational Psychologists
Freedman, Abigail
University College London

There has been a recent increase in the reported number of young people accessing specialist gender identity services. Transgender children and young people face a number of issues such as bullying and victimisation, academic difficulties, and mental health needs. Their parents also face issues such as feelings of fear and loss, and judgement and hostility from others. Previous research has highlighted the importance of support for transgender young people and their parents, both at school and in the community. However, there is a lack of research in the United Kingdom which examines the perspectives of transgender young people and their parents to inform the work of Educational Psychologists.

This study explored the experiences of transgender young people and their parents about home, community, and school. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four secondary school age transgender young people and five mothers, four of whom were parents of the young people interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to inform the analysis of the interview data in order to gain an in-depth understanding of how the participants made sense of their experiences and the meaningfulness of these experiences.

From the young people’s accounts, four superordinate themes were identified which related to understandings of gender, complexities of transitioning, experiences in school and support networks. Four superordinate themes were identified from the parents’ data, relating to understandings of gender, how they came to terms with their child being transgender, experiences with their child’s school and support networks. Implications for Educational Psychology policy and practice are discussed, including how Educational Psychologists might develop their work with transitioning young people and their parents.

Workplace bullying: The role of perseverative cognition and coping in its impact on frontline employees’ health and well-being
Mokhtar, Daniella
University of Sheffield

This thesis investigates workplace bullying which refers to repeated negative acts between two parties where power imbalance exists, normally the victim being the one with less power. The aim of this thesis is to (1) investigate the longitudinal impact of workplace bullying on employees’ health and well-being, (2) examine the cognitive reactions (PC) and behavioural reactions (coping strategies) as a mechanism of frontline employees in dealing with workplace bullying and (3) explore how employees perceive and make meaning of their bullying experiences in the workplace. This research uses a sequential explanatory mixed-method approach to identify and explore workplace bullying trough frontline employees’ perception. Study 1 examined 70 frontline employees from various organizations living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This study focuses on the longitudinal impact of workplace bullying on employees’ health and well-being and its reverse causation, mediating mechanism of perseverative cognition on the bullying-well-being relationship as well as the moderating role of coping in the mediating relationship through a survey approach. Meanwhile, Study 2 identified and explored actions that were perceived as bullying, experiences and reactions both cognitive and
behavioural of the victims dealing with workplace bullying, and the impacts on their health and well-being through a narrative approach. This study involved 20 participants recruited from Study 1 who were identified as victims. Results revealed that bullying was prevalent within the workplace which gives negative impact to the employees’ physical and psychological health. Repetitive negative thinking and worrying mediated the bullying-well-being relationship and this is moderated by certain acts of coping (e.g. problem solving and ignoring
the problem). Silent retaliation and religious coping were one of the themes that emerged from the second study. Results of the two studies will be discussed further in the following chapters. The findings from this thesis reveals the need to improve the awareness of workplace bullying phenomena and organization’s current practice that would fit the needs of front line employees. This includes providing greater organizational support, better reinforcements of current policies, improve communication and develop preventive interventions.

An exploration of teachers’ perceptions and experiences of the student’s voice in bullying situations in post-primary schools
Doyle, Padraig
University of Limerick

The aim of this qualitative study is to explore teachers’ perceptions and experiences of the student’s voice in bullying situations in post-primary schools. This research aims to establish the manner in which student voice is incorporated in areas relating to bullying. The researcher believes that an empirical gap for such interpretivist research exists, as there seems to be inadequate exploration of this subject. An interpretive paradigm was engaged using semi-structured interviews in this research to amass in-depth information (Thomas 2013). The researcher utilised a thematic approach to analyse the interview data (Guest et al., 2012). The researcher employed Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six-phase thematic model to identify, analyse and describe patterns in the data gathered. In the primary findings three overarching themes emerged. Firstly, student voice is an integral aspect in school life and needs to be further promoted. Secondly, teacher–student relationship is vitally important in nurturing student voice in all situations, including bullying. Finally, many barriers exist which impede the promotion of student voice. The importance of the role of student council was promulgated by all nine participants, with a feeling, however, that this should not be an exclusively singular approach and that other initiatives were warranted to really cultivate student voice. The role of the pastoral care team in the promotion of student voice was highlighted, with particular attention given to the role of guidance counsellors because of their extensive training and knowledge of the student body. Findings from this study suggest that there is an appetite to incorporate student voice in all educational situations and not exclusively in the context of bullying. It is evident, however, that lack of appropriate training, time and resources are impeding such a valuable endeavour. This thesis concludes with recommendations to inform policy, practice and research in this area.

Act now: You have control over workplace bullying
Tay, Chye Thiam Austin Aloysius
Birkbeck University of London

This thesis research aims to identify and test the efficacy of a self-administered intervention that victims of workplace bullying can use to help themselves if they have fallen into a state of psychological inflexibility. Some such individuals will resort to using an active or passive approach to confront a bully. While these approaches can be useful to temporarily alleviate the negative experiences arising from workplace bullying, they do not help to address the negative thoughts and emotions, such as self-blame and shame, that can manifest themselves because of bullying. Individuals dwelling in their negative experiences are essentially allowing themselves to get stuck in their thinking, which can eventually lead to depression and stress. There is currently no self-administered intervention that deals with this. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was chosen to be examined as a possible solution for this problem in this thesis research. ACT has been found to be useful in helping individuals who suffer from depression, stress and anxiety disorders, all of which are symptoms suffered by victims of workplace bullying. In the ACT model, there are six inter-related processes (acceptance, defusion, being present, self-as-context, committed action and values) and the
culmination of all these processes helps individuals to become psychologically flexible. Three studies were conducted in this thesis research and the participants were from Asia, specifically from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Study 1 involved a total of 50 participants using a questionnaire, sent using Qualtrics, an online software. It was conducted to identify whether those who have been exposed to workplace bullying are indeed low in psychological flexibility. This was found to be the case in this research. In Study 2, ten participants from those who had participated in the questionnaire were identified to have been bullied and to have scored low in their psychological flexibility score. The ten participants were randomly allocated into either an intervention group or a control group. Those who were in the intervention group received three sessions of skills training, and, apart from two participants, the remaining participants were found to have shown some change in their psychological flexibility. Using a qualitative approach in Study 3, thematic analysis was conducted and revealed that the participants did show a change in their mindset and were able to apply what they had learned to attain psychological flexibility. This thesis research reveals preliminary evidence of the efficacy of ACT for individuals who have been exposed to workplace bullying. This thesis should pave the way for further research in the area of workplace bullying, to explore and focus on intervention that bullied targets can use to help themselves to navigate through the residual psychological thoughts and emotions they carry as a result of their bullying experiences.

Addressing the Influence of Leadership Incivility upon Employees: Understanding Individual Experiences and Developing Organisational Interventions
Dodd, Frances M.G.
University of Northumbria at Newcastle

This thesis explored the influence of leadership incivility upon employees, with the aim of understanding individual experiences and developing organisational interventions. The research was undertaken within an acute NHS Trust setting, where through the author’s professional work, the issue of lack of confidence in dealing with uncivil leadership became apparent. Recent research has explored incivility within different workplaces, but studies within the clinical setting are limited, and incivility within the Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), including Physiotherapy, is a current literature gap.

A qualitative exploration of uncivil leadership was undertaken within the NHS Trust, and template analysis used to analyse data from semi structured interviews (N=20) conducted within the Physiotherapy department. The findings were presented and discussed in relation to 6 key themes, of “What it feels like to work with these leaders”, “Hierarchy”, “Why they behave that way”, “Patient care”, “Workplace culture and culture of leadership” and “Challenging the behaviours” (study 1). These themes informed the basis and design of an organisational intervention to give AHPs increased confidence in managing situations with uncivil behaviour. The intervention examined different strategies and coping techniques, ranging from directly challenging the uncivil individual, to learning to live with the behaviour through various techniques. A quasi-experimental study (study 2) consisted of pre- and post-measurements among AHPs in the NHS Trust. Participants completed a survey prior to the intervention (T1) and then after the intervention workshop (T2), split into an experimental group (n=50) and a control group (n=23). Measures of confidence (self-efficacy), Resilience (CD-RISC) were analysed using two-way mixed ANOVA’S. Measures of confidence in having a challenging conversation across different groups in the workplace, and in two different situations were analysed with paired t-tests.

The intervention was successful and levels of confidence and resilience in having a challenging conversation significantly increased after the intervention. The results also demonstrated a significant increase in the confidence of the participants in having challenging conversations, across the groups and within different situations, so when the uncivil behaviour was directed at themselves or their team. Overall, the research programme contributes an evidence base for interventions to develop confidence and resilience in challenging uncivil behaviour of those in senior leadership positions.

Attitudes to sexting amongst post-primary pupils in Northern Ireland: A liberal feminist approach
York, Leanne
Queen's University Belfast

The dominant discourse in the media is that we live in a post-feminist era, in which feminism is no longer needed as women have achieved equality (McRobbie, 2004), and are assertive, confident, dominant, and equal. However, in sexting research (Ringrose et al., 2013; 2012), girls and boys still inhabit contradictory positions on what it means to do femininity or masculinity.

This study focuses on sexting amongst young people in Northern Ireland about which there is very little qualitative research. Interviews were conducted with four stakeholder organisations who assist schools in the delivery of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE), and with pastoral care co-ordinators in three post-primary schools to ascertain how their school is currently responding to sexting issues. Focus group interviews were then conducted with seventeen (ten girls and seven boys) 14–17-year-olds.

Stakeholder organisations and schools view sexting behaviour in various ways: as child sexual abuse, bullying, selfish gratification, and a child protection issue. By contrast, young people see sexting as normal behaviour. The young people report that it is more likely to be boys pressurising girls for a picture, a common finding in sexting research. Unlike the literature, however, this study found that girls also instigate sexting and put pressure on boys to send pictures. Despite this, there is still an unequal relationship between girls and boys because of the objectification of girls (and, rarely, boys). The study concludes that young people should advise on the content of RSE lessons and resources, and that RSE should move away from telling young people not to sext but to help them explore appropriate relationship behaviours, including sexting. Teachers should have access to appropriate training to help them feel confident about teaching such material.




Cyberbullying and Young People: Behaviours, Experiences and Resolutions
Dennehy, Rebecca
University College Cork

Introduction: Cyberbullying is a complex and multifaceted public health issue among young people. Research indicates deleterious effect on the mental health and wellbeing of victims which warrants action to address this issue. Adults do not have first-hand experience of cyberbullying in their youth and so the development of prevention and intervention strategies can benefit from the engagement of young people’s perspectives. However, young people’s voices are largely absent from the current discourse. This thesis aims to explore the nature, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying from the perspective of young people with a view to informing the development of evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies.

Methods: The research was framed by the Medical Research Council guidelines for intervention development. Qualitative and participatory research methods were employed. In the first instance a systematic review and meta-ethnographic synthesis of qualitative studies related to young people’s conceptualisations of cyberbullying was conducted. Secondly, a rights-based model was developed to facilitate the active involvement of young people in the research process. A Young Person’s Advisory Group was purposefully formed to collaborate in the design, conduct, and interpretation of a qualitative study of young people’s perspectives on cyberbullying as well as in priority setting for intervention development. Young People’s involvement in the Advisory Group was evaluated to determine the effectiveness off the model in facilitating young people’s participation in the research process and the acceptability of the approach. The co-designed qualitative study comprised focus groups with secondary school students which were conducted in the school setting.

Findings: The meta-ethnography highlighted that the fundamental role of cyber technology in young people’s lives and the complexity and ambiguity of the cyber world in which they connect are inherent to young people’s conceptualisations of cyberbullying. The participatory evaluation of young people’s involvement in the research process indicated that the elements necessary for the effective realisation of young people’s participation rights were present in this study. Based on their interpretation of preliminary findings from the qualitative study, Advisory Group Members identified the non-consensual distribution of nude images and the mental health impact of cybervictimisation as serious concerns for young people and priorities for intervention development. Findings indicate that non-consensual distribution involves a complex process that is produced by, and reinforces, gender power dynamics. Young males, under pressure to conform to societal constructs of masculinity, coerce females to send explicit images which are screenshot and intentionally distributed, without consent, to male peers in exchange for social kudos. Regarding the mental health impact, cyberbullying was described as more psychological in nature and impact than traditional bullying with increased deleterious effect on the mental health and wellbeing of victims. Analysis identified several barriers which prevent victims from seeking social support and participants’ perception that suicide is a viable escape route for young victims defeated and entrapped by cybervictimisation.

Conclusion: This research makes a valuable contribution to the existing knowledge base in that it privileges youth voice on the nature, causes, and consequences of the phenomenon and highlights young people’s priorities with regard to intervention development. In response to research findings and suggestions from the Young Person’s Advisory Group a number of recommendations are made in relation to research, policy, and practice which are grounded in young people’s experiences, values, and norms.

‘Snitches Get Stitches’: A Qualitative Exploration of Childhood Bullying Amongst Individuals with Early Psychosis Experiences
Wheeler, Claire
University of Essex

Background: There is a strong argument throughout the literature that childhood trauma and adverse experiences should be considered when working with individuals who experience psychosis. There has been a developing interest in the relationship between childhood bullying and psychosis, although to date, there is limited research in this area. Bullying is a pertinent issue for young people, which argues for further consideration in Early Intervention for Psychosis (EIP) settings.

Aims: The aim of this research is to explore the subjective experiences of childhood bullying for individuals who access EIP services. A secondary aim is to explore whether individuals perceive bullying to be relevant to their experiences of psychosis.

Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight individuals. Interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Results: Four superordinate and accompanying subordinate themes emerged. The superordinate themes were ‘facing daily threat’, ‘overcoming systemic mistrust’, ‘negotiating power imbalance’ and ‘a process of evolving identity’. ‘Facing daily threat’ conveyed how participants experienced bullying as traumatic. Bullying experiences were considered highly relevant to current experiences of paranoia. ‘Overcoming systemic mistrust’ reflected neglectful responses from teachers and the ways participants felt unheard when first engaging with services. ‘Negotiating power imbalance’ reflected both the complex power relationships within school and the influence of wider social power. ‘A process of evolving identity’ explores the gradual shifts in how participants viewed themselves after verbal bullying. Participants’ psychosis experiences included hearing critical, attacking voices, reinforcing the same messages received from bullies in school.

Discussion: The results are clinically important as they contribute to understanding experiences of psychosis in the context of bullying history. They also highlight the wish for individuals to have more opportunities to discuss bullying in EIP services. Finally, they argue for school systems to further consider their responses to children who seek help for bullying.

An Investigation into High Labour Turnover and Retention of Front Line Employees in The Hospitality Sector in Ireland with a Particular Emphasis on a Fun Work Culture
Cronin, Serena
National College of Ireland

This research was conducted to investigate labour turnover and retention in the hospitality industry in Ireland with a particular emphasis on a fun culture. The data collected was from front line employees of generation Z, generation Y and Generation Baby Boomers. These employees are employed as front line employees in hotels and bars of the hospitality sector in the North and East of Ireland. The method of collecting this data was the use of semi-structured interviews, for the purpose of generating rich qualitative data and to gain the realities of these employees working in the industry. Additionally, a thematic analysis was conducted to permit new and existing themes to emerge from the qualitative data.

A significant amount of findings was discovered. The findings show the impact of a fun culture, socialisation, implications of management, organisational citizen behaviour and compensation for low-wages has on the intention of employee turnover in the hospitality industry in Ireland.

The research findings may be of significant value to front line management and human resource management.

Risk and Preventive Factors Related to School-Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: Comparing the Effects of Socio-Demographic, Family Environment, Friend Environment, Personality and Behavioural Factors Between School-Bullying and Cyber-Bullying
Tzani-Pepelasi, Kalliopi
University of Huddersfield

Background: Research in the field of school-bullying has been expanding for at least three decades while research in cyber-bullying is still evolving. There has been an enormous amount of empirical works and projects throughout the years, all aiming to understand how bullying functions, the motivation behind such behaviour, the related factors, the consequences, and of course to create efficient prevention and intervention models. However, in spite of the continuous efforts to decrease the rates for both forms, previous research has shown that school-bullying remains stable whereas cyber-bullying is on the rise and evolving.

Aim: This three-year project aimed to explore highly studied as well as neglected risk and preventive factors in relation to SB and CB; examine relationships, differences, and predictive effects, whilst providing a comparison of the factors’ effect on SB and CB.

Methodology: For this project 408 participants were recruited to complete the online survey in Google Forms. The questionnaire aimed to measure school-bullying and cyber-bullying both from the perspective of the victim and the perpetrator, empathy, self-esteem, aggression, anger, impulsivity, self-control, guilt, morality, copying strategy/minimisation, factors related to family, and friends. To achieve these 11 previously validated scales were employed and a series of questions were constructed to measure other related aspects.

Findings: Results showed that there are complicated relationships, differences, and predictive effects between the factors and the two forms of bullying, with some factors relating to both forms of bullying, while there appears to be an overlap between the two forms. To collectively present the results, a four-level model was developed and the school-bullying/cyber-bullying prevention/intervention model emerged.

Conclusion: Bullying is a complicated phenomenon regardless of the expressed form. There are numerous gaps in research that require further examination and several limitations that future research should address. In spite of the current project’s limitations that are addressed in detail, this project managed to provide a collective comparative picture of risk factors for both forms of bullying and has developed a detailed anti-bullying model that could potentially tackle both school-bullying and cyber-bullying.

Friendship, bullying and the impact of inclusion on attitudes towards children with autism
Cook, Anna H.
University of Surrey

Children with autism face many social challenges and these have been associated with vulnerability to social exclusion and higher levels of bullying compared to the general population. This can lead to long-term negative outcomes including damaged self-esteem and mental health difficulties. Since the majority of autistic children in the UK attend mainstream schools, the studies conducted for this thesis aimed to explore under-researched areas such as the impact of inclusion, and in particular the attitudes of neurotypical children towards their autistic peers. In Study 1, interviews with autistic girls and their parents (n=22) revealed that girls experienced high levels of bullying, school absenteeism and a tendency to mask their autism and that this was more apparent in mainstream compared to special schools. In Study 2, interviews with teachers (n=12) highlighted many challenges supporting autistic children, but also identified some creative solutions and factors that control the extent to which these were implemented. The next three studies explored attitudes of neurotypical children and whether these could be changed through exposure and contact. Studies 3 and 4 (n=775) investigated attitudes of children in schools with high versus low exposure to autism. Findings revealed that educational exposure led to an increase in prosocial emotional responses to bullying and increased personal exposure facilitated an increase in positive attitudes towards people with autism. Study 5 evaluated the influence of contact with autistic peers through group music-making (n=49) on the attitudes of their neurotypical peers. The intervention led to increased prosocial emotional responses to a vignette depicting social exclusion of a child with autism. In summary, autistic children face many challenges, which are not always addressed by teachers in mainstream schools. Furthermore, the physical and social environment of the school affects attitudes towards autistic children. Combining educational exposure within inclusive school climates, and personal exposure through structured intergroup opportunities, can improve responses to bullying and attitudes towards autism, and may ultimately increase quality of life for autistic children in mainstream schools.

Work-Related Stress Among Professionals Working Within IT Sector in Ireland: Causes and Consequences
Starolyte, Gerda
National College of Ireland

Lot of people nowadays are feeling stressed in their jobs. IT sector is not an exception and it was important to investigate the situation further in order to suggest recommendations. Purpose of this study was to examine levels of stress felt by IT workers in Ireland and main causes of that.

Quantitative study was conducted, in total 94 respondents participated. The results provided evidence that the employees frequently felt stressed and nervous, as they had a large amount of work to do, which required increased concentration and high levels of knowledge. Also, most of the respondents admitted that they did not have enough physical activity and also commonly experienced some negative physical symptoms – dizziness and tiredness and psychological symptoms – irritability, lack of concentration and angriness. Correlation analysis between the perceived stress and the feelings about the work revealed that higher levels of stress were highly associated with a decreased physical and mental well-being, decreased satisfaction with the workplace and personal life and trust and communication issues with co-workers and superiors. This study confirmed the previous results and suggested that, indeed, excessive stress in the workplace negatively affects all aspects of work and family lives. Also, relationship between stress and various demographical influences were tested. No significant differences between genders were found, even though literature suggests that women tend to be more stressed in the workplace.

Companies within the IT industry should take proper actions, in order to ensure that the employees are motivated and perform well, but without exceeding certain stress limits, which negatively affect their lives.

“I want them to have a good education”: The “New Irish” parents and the primary school system
Connaughton, Claire
Mary Immaculate College

Just over one in 10 primary school age children in Ireland are first-generation immigrants (Department of Education and Skills [DES] 2018a). An even larger number of Irish primary school pupils have at least one immigrant parent (DES 2018; Central Statistics Office 2017). However, surprisingly little is known about the experiences of these “new Irish” parents (Roder et al. 2014, p.15) as they navigate the Irish primary school system. In extending the work of Cotter and Kolawole (2015) and Martin et al. (2018), this small-scale study employed semi-structured interviews to explore the lived realities of a small ethnically diverse group of immigrant parents. Some key people, including migrant rights advocates and ethnic minority community representatives, also shared their perspectives. This study used Bourdieu’s theoretical framework to understand how immigrant parents learn how to “do school” in Ireland (Hickes 2002, p.217). An examination of the personal narratives provided some insight into how immigrant parents view and enact their role in their children’s education. The qualitative findings also reveal the value which immigrant parents place on education and the high aspirations they hold for their children. Several obstacles to immigrant parent involvement were also identified. The results may help provide a better understanding of how immigrant parent-school partnerships can be supported in the Irish primary school context. Key words: immigrant parents; parent-school relationships; parental involvement; ethnic capital.