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.

Understanding adolescent shame and pride in a school context: the impact of perceived academic competence and a growth mindset
Cook, Ellen
University of Southampton

Shame has important implications in educational contexts for educators, children and young people. The first paper presented here is a review of the current literature on shame and explores the implications of this self-conscious achievement emotion within educational contexts. The systematic literature review demonstrated that shame experiences can have both a dysfunctional and functional role, are independent of acculturation status and are influenced by parental attitudes. Crucially, shame management can reduce bullying within schools. The review concludes by drawing attention to implications of these findings for educators and educational psychologists. The second paper, reports empirical research carried out in the field of self-conscious achievement emotions. This study investigated whether holding a growth (intelligence) mindset could reduce shame experiences and/or promote pride experiences, within a secondary school context. The study also focused on the role of perceived academic competence (i.e. the perception that one has sufficient skills and knowledge) on young people’s feelings of shame and pride. Secondary school students (N = 121, Mage= 14.3 years) completed the Scale of Personal Conceptions of Intelligence to measure their mindset, and then completed a 10-day online diary, to rate their daily shame and/or pride experiences. Participants also rated their daily perceptions of academic competence. Results revealed a negative relation between growth mindset and daily shame intensity, and a positive relation between growth mindset and daily pride intensity. Both associations were mediated by perceived academic competence. That is, a growth mindset predicted increased perceived academic competence, which, in turn, predicted reduced shame and increased pride. The findings have far-reaching implications for educators. This research also makes a novel connection between growth mindset, perceived academic competence and self-conscious emotions, within a school setting.

The formation, implementation and reception of gender and sexualities education in english primary schools
Hall, Joseph James
University of Hull

This thesis examines the formation of gender and sexualities education and its implementation and reception in two state-funded English primary schools. The first part identifies how childhood discourses circulating in Section 28 debates influenced the trajectory of UK government legislation and guidance for gender and sexuality education. I demonstrate how anti-homophobia and anti-bullying emerged as a desexualised policy paradigm following parliamentary debates in which the Western cultural myth of ‘childhood (sexual) innocence’ was preserved. The second part explores how Stonewall (a leading Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual third sector organisation) and two pioneering English primary schools use these initiatives to create and implement gender and sexualities education. I show how social actors within these schools interpret national government policy in different and with contrasting outcomes. The final part examines how pupils (5-11 years old) respond to gender and sexualities education in the context of everyday school life. In doing so, I expose a socio-spatial underpinning to children’s simultaneous performances of acceptance and recuperation of heteronormativity where a performative self that cites recognisable liberal pluralistic equalities discourse in ‘formal’ school space can be distinguished from a performative subject that is simultaneously compelled to perform normative (hetero)gender/sexuality in ‘informal’ school space in order to achieve viable subjecthood. As such, this study provides the first comprehensive overview of gender and sexualities education in the UK, from its inception to its reception, and highlights the possibilities – as well as the limitations – of neoliberal equalities programmes based around anti-homophobia and anti-bullying.

A study of trainee teachers and their awareness and perceptions of sexual diversity in primary schools
López Pereyra, Manuel
The University of York

Research on sexual diversity in primary schools has shown that primary school children are aware of and exposed to harassment, bullying and discrimination in schools. This study was undertaken to explore the extent to which trainee teachers are aware of and perceive sexual diversity discourses in primary schools. I focus on concern about the ways primary schools address the nature of gender stereotyping, homophobic bullying and same-sex families. Within these themes, I explore trainee teachers’ perceptions of addressing sexual diversity issues in the primary school classroom. A total of eleven trainee teachers and three educational non-governmental officers were interviewed and 198 trainee teachers responded to the questionnaire from twenty-one different universities across the United Kingdom. A feminist and queer approach was used in the research design; the analysis and interpretation of the data collected was done through interpretative phenomenological and thematic analysis. Trainee teachers’ positive perception of sexual diversity is reflected in the questionnaire data, 76.3 % of trainees think it is necessary to teach primary school children about gay and lesbian families. Nonetheless, the questionnaire data suggest there is a lack of training on addressing sexual diversity issues in the schools. The interview data showed that trainee teachers perceive themselves as role models with the responsibility of being inclusive to all students. Also, trainees acknowledge the lack of confidence to address and deal with sexual diversity issues in the school classroom. Overall, this study enhances our understanding of gender and sexualities in primary schools and extends our knowledge of trainee teacher experiences in primary schools. Drawing on these findings, future research is needed into what trainee teachers programmes should promote as teaching practices that involve diversity and inclusive pedagogies.

When is a bully not a bully?: a critical grounded theory approach to understanding the lived experience and organisational implications of being accused of being a workplace bully
McGregor, Frances-Louise
University of Huddersfield

This research addresses the question “When is a bully not a bully?” through grounded theory using a purposive sample of volunteer participants who had been accused of workplace bullying. The aim of the study was to critically evaluate the lived experience and organisational implications of being accused of being a workplace bully, from the perspective of the (alleged) bully. The research did not set out to consider if an (alleged) bully had been guilty or innocent of the allegation put to them; it was considered that if this was deemed a criteria by the potential participant it may reduce engagement with the study. This study will contribute to the body of knowledge around the phenomenon of bullying and offers an insight into both research and further development of good organisational practice. Whilst the research on other parties involved in the issue and management of workplace bullying have developed, Einarsen (2014), Jenkins, Zapf, Winefield and Sarris (2012), Notelaers (2014) and Samnani and Singh (2012) express concern that research which explores and examines the perpetrator’s experience is scarce and needed as a priority in acknowledging the gap in current research and to develop a fuller understanding of the phenomena of workplace bullying. In a qualitative study with eight participants from a particularly difficult to access group, the researcher offers an early contribution to the current gap in literature, research and understanding of the perspective of the alleged workplace bully. Participants engaged in individual, confidential, unstructured interviews with the researcher and spoke candidly about their perceptions and the impact the accusation had on them. This was then analysed, evaluated and developed through a classical grounded theory approach to develop the theoretical model guilty until proven innocent. In discussing the participants’ concerns in this model, the research widened understanding and academic knowledge and narrowed the gap of information of the (alleged) bully’s perspective. In dealing with allegations, (alleged) workplace bullies identify with concerns of feeling bullied back, emotional reactions, self-coping mechanisms and managerial responsibility and action, from which the grounded theory guilty until proven innocent emerged. The main findings of the research emerged from the participant’s interviews; key highlights included being isolated by their organisations and subject to negative acts which would, in themselves be considered bullying behaviours. Participants then described how they would separate themselves from the organisation, despite feeling a sense of disconnected loyalty towards it. The structure of HR functions and the anti-bullying related policy had a significant influence on the negative treatment participant’s experienced, with a continual theme around the presumption the participant was guilty from the outset, by virtue of an allegation being raised. This perception was reinforced in the different way (alleged) bullies were supported and treated by their organisations from the claimants. The participants had been negatively affected by identifiable victim effect (Hamilton & Sherman, 1996), dispute-related claims (Einarsen, 1999; Keashly & Nowell, 2003) and the claimant being managed under a separate formal management procedure. The study also suggested that allegations of bullying could in themselves be a form of bullying and that there may be an element of discrimination in this on the grounds of protected characteristics. The main recommendations consider the structure of HR functions and the need for a visible and accessible personnel element necessary to begin to balance the support available for all parties, including the alleged, the alleger, bystanders, witnesses, line managers, HR and investigation managers. Further research, which tests the grounded theory of guilty until proven innocent with larger samples will extend and develop this study and test some of the resolutions and solutions offered.

The digital public sphere: developing a culture of democracy in contemporary nigeria
Oladepo, Oluwatomi Temilola
University of Warwick

The rise of digital media in Nigerian public life is evident in a variety of contexts – from how mainstream journalists gather news and information, to how young people express their dissatisfaction with the government on matters of concern, such as the case of the 276 kidnapped Chibok Girls (April 2014). This thesis is an investigation into the growing use of digital media in Nigeria, and identifies significant developments in Nigerian democracy through a growing ‘digital public sphere’. New communication skills of dialogue and deliberation are being cultivated through an improvised and often creative use of digital media, and ‘netizens’ [citizens active on the Internet] are purposively generating social, political and cultural consciousness. To explore this embryonic digital public sphere in Nigeria, field research was conducted in the form of historical, political and interview based research with active digital media users. The interviewees featured journalists, citizen journalists, bloggers, public officials, social activists, religious leaders, and cultural producers, and revolved around current uses of digital media technologies, online dialogue and key issues, and digital media as a tool for democracy in Nigeria’s future development. Largely on the basis of the interview data, this thesis argues that despite a discernible ‘culture’ of democracy cultivated through pervasive use of digital media, a digital public sphere can only be realised in a democratic-enabling political environment. This would necessitate public officials engaging in public dialogue; protections from harassment, insults and cyber-bullying; and the digital media infrastructure being developed, accessible and affordable. Furthermore, this thesis identifies how an effective digital public sphere will only function where the agencies of mass media are willing to take more active roles in collaborating with citizens online in order to cultivate transparency in public affairs, and also disseminate vital information, and work for widespread digital access.

Social cognitions that normalise sexual harassment of women at work: the role of moral disengagement
Page, Thomas Edward
University of Kent at Canterbury

Sexual harassment against women represents aggressive behaviour that is often enacted instrumentally, in response to a threatened sense of masculinity and male identity (cf. Maass & Cadinu, 2006). To date, however, empirical and theoretical attention to the social-cognitive processes that regulate workplace harassment is scant. Drawing on Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986), the current thesis utilises the theoretical concept of moral disengagement in order to address this important gap in the literature. According to Bandura (1990, 1999), moral standards and self-sanctions (i.e., negative emotions of guilt or shame) can be selectively deactivated through various psychosocial mechanisms. The use of these moral disengagement strategies enables a person to violate their moral principles, and perpetrate injurious behaviour without incurring self-censure. This thesis investigates the general hypothesis that moral disengagement facilitates and perpetuates workplace sexual harassment. A new conceptual framework is presented, elucidating the self-regulatory role of moral disengagement mechanisms in sexual harassment perpetration at work. Eight empirical studies are reported in this thesis. Studies 1 to 3 present the development and preliminary validation of the Moral Disengagement in Sexual Harassment Scale (MDiSH); a self-report measure of moral disengagement in the context of hostile work environment harassment. These studies document the excellent psychometric properties of this new scale. The MDiSH exhibited positive correlations with sexual harassment myth acceptance, male gender identification, and hostile sexism. In Study 3, participants were exposed to a fictitious case of hostile work environment harassment. The MDiSH attenuated moral judgment, negative emotions (guilt, shame, and anger), sympathy, and endorsement of prosocial behavioural intentions (support for restitution) associated with the harassment case. Conversely, the MDiSH increased positive affect (happiness) about the harassment, endorsement of avoidant behavioural intentions, and attribution of blame to the female complainant. Using the amalgamated samples of Studies 1 and 2, the MDiSH was winnowed down to create a short form of the scale (MDiSH-S). The analyses reported in Chapter 3 attest to the strong psychometric properties of this measure. Study 4 explores the influence of social identification on the relationship between moral disengagement and judgments of hostile work environment harassment. U.S. participants were presented with a harassment case in which the perpetrators were described as being either in-group or out-group members. Moral disengagement (as measured using the MDiSH) neutralised judgments of the harassing behaviour. However, participants were not more inclined to justify and positively re-appraise harassment that was committed by in-group perpetrators. Study 5 reveals that moral disengagement leads people to make more favourable judgments about the perpetrators of hostile work environment harassment. The neutralising effects of moral disengagement on judgments of the harassing conduct were partially mediated by a positive evaluation of the harassers (but not social identification with them). The final three studies (Studies 6, 7, and 8) investigate the role of moral disengagement in accounting for men’s self-reported proclivity to commit quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. These studies examine the causal pathway between moral disengagement and harassment proclivity, and the psychological mechanisms (emotions and moral judgment) that underlie this relationship. Taken together, the results suggest that moral disengagement mechanisms are important social cognitions that people use to deny, downplay, and justify workplace sexual harassment. The findings of this thesis also provide preliminary support for the notion that moral disengagement is a self-regulatory process in sexual harassment perpetration at work (cf. Page & Pina, 2015). The thesis concludes with a discussion of theoretical implications of the findings, methodological limitations, practical implications, and suggestions of future research avenues.

Work, trauma and identity: a perspective from counselling psychology
Shaw, Hannah
The City University (London)

Research exploring the psychological consequences of workplace bullying has demonstrated that exposure to bullying may have devastating effects on the health and well-being of those who experience it. However, the nature of this relationship remains virtually unknown and there is an increasing call for researchers to undertake a more interpretive and individualised orientation to the bullying phenomenon. There is little research into workplace bullying from a counselling psychology perspective and yet research developing therapeutic guidelines for models of intervention with targets of workplace bullying is essential given the impact of bullying upon psychological health. The current study therefore aims to consider the therapeutic needs’ of targets of workplace bullying by exploring how targets make sense of and give meaning to their experiences. It is hoped that this will provide insights into the ways in which workplace bullying can have detrimental psychological effects and point to potential interventions that may be utilised when working therapeutically with targets of workplace bullying. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, the current study explores in-depth the experiences of eight self-labelled targets of workplace bullying. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to explore: how participants have experienced workplace bullying, how they have made sense of their experience, how they perceive effects on their psychological health, how they might explain such effects, and how they have coped with their experience. The findings comprise of four superordinate themes: ‘Bullying as a Powerful Experience’, ‘Psychological Consequences of Workplace Bullying’, ‘Impact of Workplace Bullying on Identity’ and ‘Coping with the Experience of Being Bullied’. These support the conceptualisation of workplace bullying as a traumatic experience with devastating impacts upon targets ‘ sense of self. A rich description of the participants’ experiences of psychological distress following being bullied at work is presented and discussed. Implications and applications for the clinical practice of counselling psychology are subsequently highlighted.

Children’s, parents’, peers’ and professionals’ experiences of language impairment: a multi-perspective study to identify psychosocial goals for intervention
Hambly, H.
University of the West of England, Bristol

Children with language impairment (LI) can experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties in addition to linguistic difficulties, but there is limited understanding about how LI impacts on these broader, psychosocial aspects of children’s lives. Furthermore, psychosocial outcomes for children are not assessed routinely in speech and language therapy research and practice. Studies of experiences of disability and impairment in other areas have highlighted the importance of addressing the psychosocial beyond the medical. This study draws on interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) to explore children’s, parents’, peers’ and professionals’ experiences of children’s LI. Using a phenomenological methodology to explore LI from multiple-perspectives, the study sought to uncover psychosocial features of LI and identify goals for support. Four children, aged 8-10 yrs with a diagnosis of LI, were interviewed about their experiences using arts-based methods. Children’s parents, teachers, learning support assistants, speech and language therapists and siblings and/or friends were also interviewed. Analysis of the 22 interviews is presented as four case studies that include each perspective around the child. Themes were identified through coding and analysing within and across cases. A second stage literature review was undertaken to understand, theorise and discuss emerging themes. Analysis revealed three themes: Agency, Understandings and Misunderstandings, and Making Sense of Difference. Children’s experiences of agency were associated with their emotions and their engagement in classroom and social activities, and not always dependent on their communication abilities. Children with LI often had different understandings of others’ intentions, situations and instructions to that of their peers, professionals and parents. Mismatches in understandings were associated with children being considered unusual, immature, egocentric or rude by others, impacting on their risk for bullying and social exclusion. There were divergent experiences and understanding of LI. Interpretations included impaired speech, language and social communication; social and emotional immaturity; parental neglect; and other people’s attitudes and behaviours. For children, LI was predominantly relational, that is, it was mainly experienced in relationship with others. Psychosocial goals for intervention include addressing attitudes, understandings and behaviours of professionals and peers towards children, in addition to children’s understanding and use of language; promoting children’s experience of agency; and addressing children’s emotional wellbeing and risk for bullying. Good communication and understanding between children, families and professionals is essential for intervention.

Understanding inappropriate behaviour (harassment, bullying & mobbing) at work in malaysia
Yusop, Yuzana Mohd
Queen's University Belfast

The aetiology and impact of inappropriate behaviour in Malaysia is not well understood. This study was designed to explore inappropriate behaviour at work in Malaysia among health care employees. In this research, inappropriate behaviour was defined as harassment, bullying or mobbing, according to the definitions from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and Labour Relations Agency (2006). The research was conducted in three stages: an explanatory study; a large-scale quantitative survey; and an interview-based qualitative study. Results indicated that 42.6% of employees experience inappropriate behaviour in the.workplace. The inappropriate behaviour perpetrators are both superiors and co-workers, but the pattern of findings suggests that there is no association between demographics and the reports of inappropriate behaviour. This suggests that inappropriate behaviour occurs throughout the workforce. However, there was little variation in ethnicity in the sample, so conclusions about this variable are tenuous. When compared to participants who had not experienced harassment, those who did were less satisfied with the support provided by the organisation in this situation and were less satisfied at work, according to scores on the Job Satisfaction Scale (JSS). Additionally, the research suggests that the factor structure of the JSS may not be appropriate in a Malaysian sample and an alternative factor structure is proposed. In the final qualitative study, participants from different professions expressed feelings of frustration at their experiences of inappropriate behaviour and a sense of helplessness/hopelessness that anything could be done to remedy this situation. Consequently, participants found themselves in a situation where they felt forced to tolerate the inappropriate behaviour because they feared the adverse consequences of making a complaint about their experiences. Overall, these findings contribute to an awareness of inappropriate behaviour at work, its enablers and its consequences in a culturally diverse, non-Western society.

Geeks, boffins, swots and nerds: a social constructionist analysis of ‘gifted and talented’ identities in post-16 education
Jackson, Denise
University of London, Institute of Education

This study analyses ‘Gifted and Talented’ (‘G&T’) identities in post-16 education, exploring ‘G&T’ identity construction processes and how students manage ‘G&T’ identities once labelled as such. Bourdieu’s work, social constructionism and identity theorising are used to analyse how ‘G&T’ labelling processes, arising from government policies, located within family, peer and school institutional cultures impact on students’ identities, and their responses to identification. Constructionist critical-realist epistemology is used, with data drawn from semi-structured interviews conducted with 16 post-16 students; 16 e-mailed questionnaires with their parents; and three e-mailed questionnaires with GATCOs (‘G&T’ Co-ordinators), from three schools in Eastern England. Eight follow-up informal couple-interviews were conducted with students and their parents. My data analysis of ‘G&T’-students’ subjectivities shows ‘G&T’ identification has repercussions affecting self-esteem, confidence levels, and other aspects of identity constructions. I identify varied ways in which ‘G&T’ post-16 students actively construct ‘G&T’ identities in family and school cultural contexts, using peer-subcultures to manage ‘G&T’ roles, and show how school institutions differ in ‘G&T’ emphasis. Students display agency in ‘choosing’ routes through their ‘G&T’-journeys, on a continuum ranging from ‘conformity’ through to ‘resistance’. Through my analysis of rich qualitative data, some consequences for students of ‘G&T’-identity construction are revealed to be: fear-of-failure, perfectionism, bullying, eating disorders, stress; as well as confidence, pride, motivation and satisfaction. I argue that what is constructed and identified as ‘G&T’ is the result of social class based cultural capital, as the middle-classes access ‘G&T’ provision disproportionately. I conclude that ‘G&T’ policies function as neoliberal educational differentiators, in further separating the advantaged from the disadvantaged, entrenching class divisions. Recommendations include inclusive, personalised provision for all students. Students, parents and teachers revealed how differentiation within classrooms is as necessary as provision allowing for meeting the ‘like-minded’ e.g. through vertical tutoring, leadership programmes and establishing ‘learning communities’ within schools. I argue that school and family cultures need to ‘scaffold’ developing identities of post-16 students ensuring their potential is reached in academic, confidence and identity domains. The label of ‘G&T’ is not needed in order to achieve these aims of ‘gifted’ education for all students to at least sometimes feel like they are ‘fish in water’.

An investigation into the role of non-specific factors in cognitive behavioural therapy
Le Huray, Corin
University of Bath

There is limited research into the impact of non-specific factors on the outcome of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). This current study aimed to investigate the relationship between client and therapist attachment styles and client interpersonal problems to the therapeutic relationship and symptom reduction over eight sessions of CBT. Seventeen therapist-client dyads were asked to complete measures of interpersonal problems, attachment style and report on the therapeutic relationship. Results showed that in this small sample there was a relationship between core alliance, as rated by clients, to reduction in symptoms of depression over the course of eight sessions of CBT (TB=0.423, p<0.05) but not anxiety. Client level of confidence in relationships was negatively correlated with the reduction in anxiety symptoms over time (TB =-.320; p<0.05). The level of difference in scores on a measure of ‘confidence in relationships’ between therapists and clients was found to be positively correlated to the level of reduction in anxiety scores over eight sessions (TB = .0428; p<0.05) and negatively correlated to the therapist rated core alliance (TB=-.428, p<0.05). These results indicate that the role of attachment styles in CBT warrants further investigation and both clinical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed. Key words: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, therapeutic relationship, treatment outcomes, attachment, interpersonal problems Service Improvement Project Title: What is helpful about attending an Alzheimer’s café: does it do what it says on the tin? Abstract: Alzheimer’s Cafes were developed in 1997 in the Netherlands and have since been set up all over the world. They are a post-diagnostic support group for people with dementia and their families with an aim to reduce stigma around having dementia. As yet there have been very few evaluations of these cafes. This project aimed to find out what family carers of people with dementia found helpful about attending one of two Alzheimer’s cafes. Seven carers took part in a focus group and two were interviewed individually about what they found helpful about attending an Alzheimer’s Café and what they thought could be improved on in the future. Results showed that people found the opportunities to socialise with others ‘in the same boat’ the most helpful aspect as well as meeting professionals outside of the clinic. The results of this study will enable the development of a questionnaire that can be used to continue to evaluate the café and the feedback provided used to guide future service development. Key words: Alzheimer’s Café, social support, dementia, service evaluation Critical Literature Review Title: Risk and protective factors for psychological adjustment of children born with a cleft lip and/or palate and their families: A review of the literature Abstract: Research suggests that around 30-40% of children born with a cleft lip and /or palate will develop psychological difficulties. Services supporting these individuals need to be able to identify those that might be vulnerable as early as possible so that preventative support can be offered. This review summarises findings from research studies looking at within-group differences in samples of children with a cleft and their families. Risk factors found included being male, experiencing bullying or having additional difficulties. Protective factors included satisfaction with appearance and social support. The methodological strengths and weaknesses of these studies are discussed along with implications of the findings for theory and clinical practice.

“only the wind hears you ..”: the experiences of pakistani young people in a primary school: an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Rizwan, Rubia
University of Sheffield

The purpose of this study is to increase understanding about the experiences of a group of Pakistani young people in a primary school. The literature revealed that there are significant differences between different ethnic groups in terms of attainment levels, social background and levels of special educational need. My aim was to include, specifically, the voice of Pakistani young people and their experience of school. I am approaching this research from a feminist perspective with the aim of uncovering marginalized voices and hidden experiences. In view of previous research which has focussed on the experience of school: my research question is: How do Pakistani young people interpret their experiences of school? I carried out semi-structured interviews with six primary school pupils from Pakistani backgrounds from year six, aged between 10 to 11 years old from the same school. The epistemology underpinning the research is critical realism, which emphasises the personal and social contexts within which people experience what is “real”. I analysed the narratives from these interviews using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). IPA is an interpretative, idiographic approach to methodology which is used to generate super-ordinate and sub-ordinate themes. The analysis found seven super-ordinate themes: the emotional experience of learning, the cultural impact of the school curriculum, the importance of enduring friendships, the impact of the segregation between communities, the impact of gendered power struggles, the impact of bullying and the impact of cultural identity. The possible implications for school staff focused on understanding the benefits of the curriculum, the cultural differences experienced in the school, ethos and anti-racist/sexist programmes. For Educational Psychologists, implications focused on awareness-raising and work with young people from different communities. Recommendations for future research are also discussed including the usefulness of IPA for drawing out rich and detailed narratives providing depth in the analysis.

Parental bonding, attachment, reality discrimination, and psychotic-like experiences
Smailes, David
University of Durham

Psychological models of psychotic experiences suggest that social adversity (e.g., difficult family relationships, bullying) and anomalous percepts play an important role in the development of paranoid thinking, while intrusive cognitions and problems in reality discrimination play an important role in the development of auditory hallucinations (AH). The studies reported in this thesis examined a number of research questions relevant to these models, by investigating psychotic experiences in non-clinical populations (typically referred to as psychotic-like experiences, or PLEs). In Study 1 it was shown that the association between poor parental bonding and PLEs is mediated by individual differences in exposure to bullying and levels of negative affect. In Study 2 it was shown that associations between insecure attachment styles and paranoid thinking are mediated by individual differences in loneliness. In Study 3 it was shown that the association between experiencing anomalous percepts and paranoid thinking is moderated by individual differences in attachment anxiety. In Study 4 it was shown that the association between experiencing intrusive thoughts and AH-proneness is moderated by individual differences in reality discrimination skills. Finally, in Study 5 it was shown that a person’s reality discrimination abilities can be weakened through the induction of a negative mood. The studies included in this thesis, therefore, show how a variety of social, emotional, and cognitive factors interact with each other to foster or preclude the development of PLEs in ways that extend current psychological models of AH and paranoid thinking.

Renouncing the left: working-class conservatism in France, 1930-1939
Starkey, Joseph
Cardiff University

Histories of the working class in France have largely ignored the existence of working-class conservatism. This is particularly true of histories of the interwar period. Yet, there were an array of Catholic and right-wing groups during these years that endeavoured to bring workers within their orbit. Moreover, many workers judged that their interests were better served by these groups. This thesis explores the participation of workers in Catholic and right-wing groups during the 1930s. What did these groups claim to offer workers within the wider context of their ideological goals? In which ways did conservative workers understand and express their interests, and why did they identify the supposed ‘enemies of the left’ as the best means of defending them? What was the daily experience of conservative workers like, and how did this experience contribute to the formation of ‘non-left’ political identities? These questions are addressed in a study of the largest Catholic and right-wing groups in France during the 1930s. This thesis argues that, during a period of left-wing ascendancy, these groups made the recruitment of workers a top priority. To this end, they harnessed particular elements of mass political culture and adapted them to their own ideological ends. However, the ideology of these groups did not simply reflect the interests of the workers that supported them. This thesis argues that the interests of conservative workers were a rational and complex product of their own experience. They were formed by a large range of materials, from preconceived attitudes to issues such as gender and race, to the everyday experience of bullying and intimidation on the factory floor. This thesis shows that workers could conceive of their interests in a number of different ways, and chose from a range of different groups to try and further them.

The experience of ‘burnout’ in counselling psychologists
Alfrey, Lisa
Regent's University London

From 2011 to 2012, 1.1 million workers were impacted by work related stress, lack of professional support and bullying (Health and Safety Executive, 2013). “Burnout” is not easily defined but it can be described as a phenomenon that affects both the personal and professional dimensions of an individual’s life. This study investigates counselling psychologists’ experience and management of “burnout” using the qualitative method of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Six qualified counselling psychologists from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States of America were interviewed via telephone. The three main themes that were found are: (1) “batteries run out” which includes the physical and emotional effects, as well as the disillusionment of the reality of the profession, (2) “Prisoner of an eroding system” describes the professional dimension of the experience such as locus of control, effect on client work, boundaries and values, and (3) “Recharging the batteries” which gives an insight into how the participants managed their experience, such as their personal view of “burnout”, the issue of reclaiming their space and time, as well as the role of support. Overall, there was an underlying sense that the participants wanted to be taken care of by others but were unable to ask for help. The relevance of this study to the field of Counselling Psychology is discussed in relation to theory and professional practise. The limitations and shortcomings of this investigation are highlighted and suggestions for future research are made.

The socio-ecological context of peer bullying: correlates and consequence
Tippett, Neil
University of Warwick

Bullying is a widespread public health problem. While its prevalence, key correlates and major health outcomes have been well researched, important gaps or controversies remain. In particular, the association between bullying and both socioeconomic status and ethnicity remains unclear. Furthermore, other areas are under-researched, such as sibling aggression and its relationship to peer bullying. Finally, while there is evidence of the adverse effects of bullying on mental health, there is still uncertainty whether any experience of being bullied, or only sustained, chronic victimisation, will lead to adverse consequences. Do those who escape bullying fare better? This thesis comprises five studies. Study 1, a meta-analysis, explored the relationship between bullying and socioeconomic status, finding victims and bully-victims, but not bullies, more often came from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Study 2 examined sibling aggression, identifying a strong homotypic association with roles taken in school bullying. Study 3 explored ethnic differences in bullying, finding ethnic minority children were not more likely to be victims, but in some cases were more often bullies. Study 4 identified individual, social and sociodemographic correlates of school bullying. Distinct profiles were observed for each bullying role. Finally, Study 5 examined the timing of bullying in relation to individual and social outcomes. Stable and concurrent victimisation was associated with more negative outcomes, while escaping bullying reduced the adverse consequences. The findings are considered in relation to ecological systems theory. Distant environmental factors, such as socioeconomic status, were only weakly associated with school bullying, while more immediate socio-ecological influences, including sibling relationships and individual characteristics, predicted victim, bully and bullyvictim roles. Further research should focus on the association with sibling aggression, and identify characteristics which can explain why some children escape being bullying, thereby limiting the adverse consequences. The findings have implications for interventions, which should take account of children’s home environments.

Experiences of adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and relationship to executive function deficits
Bull, Julie Linda
Staffordshire University

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterised by symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and attentional difficulties. Originally thought to be a condition of childhood, ADHD has now been recognised in adults. One of the main theoretical explanations of ADHD is related to deficits in Executive Functioning (EF). The state of current knowledge regarding the relationship between EF and ADHD was reviewed. Findings suggest that adults with ADHD are likely to exhibit deficits in EF mainly related to response inhibition, set-shifting or working memory. Deficits in EF as shown on neuropsychological tests may help to identify people who are at risk of under achieving in various life domains such as education or occupation. Tests of EF which are more ecologically valid may be more sensitive to EF dysfunction than traditional measures. The experience of having adult ADHD and preferences for support were explored using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Four super- ordinate themes emerged from five interviews: ‘Process of adapting to ADHD’, ‘Social Appraisal’, ‘Self-regulation’ and ‘Coping’. Participants described an adjustment process which impacted on their identity and the impact on self-perception was evident. ADHD was not understood well by others and some participants experienced stigma and bullying. A range of coping strategies were identified and clinical implications and limitations of the study were discussed. Finally, a commentary and reflexive analysis of the research process was offered and factors influential to the research were discussed.

A qualitative exploration into the experiences of childhood homophobic victimisation for sexual minority young adults
Wraighte, S. N.
University of Essex

Homophobic-bullying is reported to negatively impact on the psychological, social, educational and cultural lives of sexual-minority youth, denigrating their identity, and emphasising their marginalised status. The long-term implications of victimisation on their ‘journey’ into adulthood remain a poorly misunderstood area of psychology. The present study aimed to explore how sexual-minority young adults construct meaning in the light of their childhood homophobic-victimisation; what coping processes they recall using to survive; and in what ways their childhood victimisation experiences impacted on their self and sexual-identity development, over their life-course. Four female lesbian and bisexual undergraduate university students provided accounts of their childhood homophobic-victimisation and subsequent journey into emerging-adulthood. Data was gathered via semi-structured interviews and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Four superordinate themes were identified. Firstly, ‘ Constructing the self, the evolving journey’ explores how participants’ sense of being ‘different’ and undesirable (acquired through bullying) transformed into becoming ‘wrong’ and unacceptable. This transformation coincided with participants’ experiences of homophobic-bullying and sexual-identity awareness. Participants’ transitions from ‘victim to warrior’ and ‘helplessness to saviour’ over the course of their life-span were also explored. Secondly, ‘ Distancing the intolerable’ outlines participants’ cognitive and social processes of distancing themselves from the position of the victim, the behavioural and psychological consequences of victimhood and their sexuality. Such processes continued into emerging-adulthood, despite most participants ‘ no longer being bullied. Thirdly, ‘My bully-the developing interpretation’ explores the changing role of the ‘ blameworthy self, the’ ignorant bullies’ to the biggest bully of all- society, in participants’ understanding of victimisation. Homophobia as an ‘ infectious disease’ and identification of the positive benefits of their childhood-victimisation were identified. Fourthly, ‘Trapped bird breaking free from its shackles’ highlights participants’ sense of confinement to the dominating heterosexual norms and life as a repetitive victim. Participants’ ‘ turning points’ marked their embarked journey of escape, yet their lingering struggles from A qualitative exploration into the experiences of childhood homophobic victimisation for sexual minority young adults. their victimised past continue on. The clinical implications and need for further research are discussed.

Factors that affect the success of women administrators in higher education
Farley, Penelope Gillian
University of Exeter

Since the 1970s women have clearly made great advances toward equality in education and in the resultant employment opportunities afforded by an excellent education. Today women are graduating from universities at a rate unparalleled in history (Mitchell 2012:56; Townsend & Twombly 2007:208), and are also entering management positions at a greater rate than we have ever seen (Cejda 2008:172). While the rate of women university graduates taking up entry level management positions is almost on a par with men (Bosak & Sczesny 2011:254), the rate of women professionals who move into senior management positions decreases as the position becomes more senior until, at the highest level management positions, women hold only between 3% and 5% of the top posts. (Mitchell 2012:56). Through the analysis of in depth interviews of women holding higher level management positions (including President, Chancellor, or Vice Chancellor,) at universities in four different English speaking countries, the study sought to investigate the reasons why there are so few women found in top management positions in universities. The results of the study indicate that the factors having the greatest effect on the success of women managers at university are those of identity; being able to overcome academic bullying in the workplace; having key support at critical times, especially from a spouse or from family; and developing the strategies to overcome career obstacles through the use of metacognition. The study also found that informal, multiple, mixed gender mentoring was the most effective type of mentoring for women. As a result of the study findings, new theory is proposed for advancement of women managers that offers the concept of identity as a lynchpin factor. Identity develops concurrently with sets of personal and management skills that are interwoven into the experiences of women as they work in management.

Homophobic bullying and school leadership: an associated view
Farrelly, Gerard
St. Patrick's College/Dublin City University