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Psychological Effects of Bullying: Bullies, Targets and Bystanders Sandra Burkhardt, Ph.D., ABPP Saint Xavier University Chicago, IL

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Presentation on theme: "Psychological Effects of Bullying: Bullies, Targets and Bystanders Sandra Burkhardt, Ph.D., ABPP Saint Xavier University Chicago, IL"— Presentation transcript:

1 Psychological Effects of Bullying: Bullies, Targets and Bystanders Sandra Burkhardt, Ph.D., ABPP Saint Xavier University Chicago, IL

2 Session Objectives identify forms of bullying and relational aggression recognize characteristics of bullies, targets and bystanders discuss the psychological effects of bullying on bullies, targets and bystanders review strategies for bullying prevention efforts at home and school

3 What happens if… Bully Bystander Target

4 Bullying Defined Five features of bullying used for research purposes. Greene, The bully intends to inflict harm or fear upon the victim. 2.Aggression toward the victim occurs repeatedly. 3.The victim does not provoke bullying behavior by using verbal or physical aggression. 4.Bullying occurs in familiar social groups. 5.The bully is more powerful (either real or perceived power) than the victim.

5 Relational Aggression …includes behaviors that are designed to affect a child's inclusion in the peer group and damage friendships (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995).

6 Levels of Bullying Individual – one bully Group - clubs, cliques, crowds, clubs, teams, gangs Organizational/institutional –the school, the workplace, the family - mobbing

7 What we are learning about bullies. The successful bully The smart bully The thrill seeker The bully victim The violent bully The disturbed bully The socialized bully

8 Griffin & Gross (2006) “It was also noted that students tended to report higher rates of bullying as compared with parents and teachers.”

9 Veenstra, R., Lindenberg, S., Munniksma, A., & Dijkstra, J. K. (2010) The findings revealed that bullies were only rejected by those for whom they were a potential threat Bullies select victims who reduce the possibility of loss of affection by choosing victims who are not likely to be defended by significant others.

10 LeaderAlliesBystanders rivals victims defenders

11 What are defenders? Social competence Empathy Barchia and Bussey (2011)

12 Factors Affecting Male Social Patterns Newman, M., Woodcock, A., & Dunham, P. (2006). Faculty and Staff Staff attitudes, both male and female, play a critical role in creating school culture. This was found to be particularly the case when a male administrator emphasized the link between sporting achievement and being a ‘real’ guy. A Female Faculty’s Experience When I did voice my dismay at sexist and homophobic attitudes, this would be interpreted as being humorless and overly serious, conforming to a stereotypical view of feminists held by a surprising number of other female staff members as well males.

13 Female Influence Targets Bystanders Allies Leader rivals victims defenders

14 Relational Aggression The Bullies: Mean Girls You can’t sit there You can’t sit with us You can’t talk to her Behaviors that occur through a third party such as social exclusion, rumor spreading and unpleasant s or text messaging The Bystanders Mind your own business Don’t be a tattletale You’ll get yours Getting someone into trouble for something they have not done

15 Psychological Effects of Bullying

16 Duffy & Sperry, 2012 The student was the subject of a recent conversation in the faculty lounge, where some faculty members said the student needed to "toughen up," while others expressed concern for the student’s well- being.

17 Duffy & Sperry, 2012 The student's main strategy has been to try and keep away from the group of kids, but the student trusted fewer "friends," feeling both angry and sad, and having a hard time concentrating.

18 Risk Factors for Targets Depression Anxiety Injury Academic failure Drop-out PTSD Bully victims

19 Risk Factors for Bullies Oppositional Defiant Antisocial Personality traits Conduct problems Academic failure SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES????????

20 Are Bullies Popular? This study asks whether bullies have higher social status than their victims. Social status was measured by social preference, popularity, and physical competence as perceived by children and teachers Rodkin & Berger (2008)

21 Rodkin & Berger (2008) cont’d Male Bullies Powerful, popular, aggressive bullies targeted unpopular male victims Unpopular, aggressive boys targeted popular girls. There was an overlap of bullying, aggression and sexual harassment

22 LeaderAlliesBystanders

23 Gender Comparison Goals of Bullying Behavior Males Dominance Display of physical power Increased control Females Dominance Display of social power Increased influence

24 Age and Gender Findings Consistent with expectations, males were rated overall as engaging in more fighting and overt aggression than females. Griffin & Gross (2006)

25 Griffin & Gross (2006) cont’d  However, contrary to expectations, no support was found for the notion that bullying behavior would decrease with age.  Examination of gender differences suggested that in Grade 6, boys demonstrated higher levels of overt bullying behavior; in Grade 10 girls exhibited higher levels of relational bullying behavior.

26 Predisposing Factors Just like other models of abnormal child and adolescent behavior, child and teen bullies are themselves at risk.

27 Predisposing Risk Factors: Witnesses to Domestic Violence Relating to others is learned in childhood and becomes the blueprint for future relationships. Exposure to domestic violence increases the risk of involvement in coercive and hostile relationship. Wolfe, Crooks, Chiodo, & Jaffee, 2009

28 DV and Bullying Victims of child abuse may proceed to adulthood “perpetuating bullying and harassment with peers and dating partners”. Negative childhood experiences may predispose but do not determine later negative behaviors.

29 Effects of Child Maltreatment Teasing becomes bullying, and bullying transforms into forms of harassment and dating violence, such that abuse and coercive forms of control become the critical dynamic by which relationships are defined and maintained. Shields & Cicchetti, 2001

30 Effects of Maltreatment Children who have been exposed to the abuse of women in their home are at greater risk of distorted interactions with others. Potential source of relational aggression. Shields & Cicchetti, 2001

31 Bullying and ADHD ADHD has been associated with increased bullying and increased risk of being bullied. Students who reported taking medication for ADHD were at increased risk for bullying as well as victimization by bullies. The correlation between ADHD status and bullying could be explained by low self-control. In contrast, the correlation between ADHD status and bullying victimization was independent of self-control. Unnever & Cornell, 2003

32 Treatment of ADHD and Bullying Risk Self-control influenced bullying victimization through based on gender, physical size and strength. Bullies were most likely to have little self- control and be relatively heavy.

33 Gender Identity Increased risk of victimization was due to perceived or actual LGBT status There is an association between adolescent gender nonconformity and young adult psychosocial adjustment (i.e., life satisfaction and depression). Toomey, Ryan, Diaz, Card, & Russell, 2010

34 Suggestions for Assessing for Bullying Ask open-ended questions to generate conversation without provoking defensiveness. "Tell me about recess? How do the kids behave when they're not in the classroom? How do you feel when you're on your way to school in the morning?" Teachers need to consider bullying broadly, watch for both overt and subtle bullying, which the study found to be associated with gifted bullies. Intervene immediately. Peterson and Ray (2006 )

35 Bullying and Gender Identity Schools to implement policies and procedures to prevent harassment due to LGBT status and gender nonconformity (antiharassment). Procedures and other policies and programs should promote a safe school environment. Education should be provided about gender expression and LGBT issues to students, administrators, staff, and teachers. Schools should provide the opportunity for a support or social group for gender nonconforming and LGBT students, such as a Gay–Straight Alliance, Human Rights Watch, 2001

36 Gender Identity Risk Factors Sexual minority youth in schools with Gay– Straight Alliances reported fewer suicide attempts than students without Gay–Straight Alliances in their schools. School administrators, teachers, and staff members should examine the physical structure of their schools to find new opportunities to create safer environments for gender- nonconforming and LGBT students.

37 Goals for Bullying Prevention: Increasing Social Competence Transition times increase vulnerability to bullying

38 Vulnerable Time The move from elementary to middle school means new groups, cliques, crowds and clubs. A major change in social dynamics.

39 Vulnerable Time The lack of maturity to cope with social stress may lead to bullying. “This is also the age at which the peer group becomes such a strong influence, and excluding or humiliating someone in a social setting can be an effective, albeit occasionally cruel, tactic to gain social recognition”

40 Competence Factors Increase perceived popularity Improve physical competence Prohibit relational aggression Prohibit overt aggression Promote pro-social activities Identify and reduce shy behaviors

41 Ben Increased perceived popularity – Classroom honors and activities Improved physical competence – Demonstrated his skills Promoted pro-social activities – Mentored new student

42 Betty Increase perceived popularity – defender big sister figure Practice social skills to reduce shyness. Relied upon structured and supervised socialization as needed for security.

43 Bully in the making???? 12 year old male ADHD diagnosis, hyperactive and impulsive Precocious puberty, a big guy Poor academic performance Vincent

44 Competence Factors Vincent Increase perceived popularity – clubs, after school activities Improved self-monitoring – magician act Academic assistance – Honor Roll


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