Welcome to my blog.

I am currently a graduate student working on a dissertation that will research the long term effects of bullying on the victims. Who do the victims become in adulthood and what impact did the victimization have on the choices made in adulthood. Most people can point to anecdotal examples, i.e. the skinny/obese child who became a bodybuilder/martial arts expert or the “ugly duckling” who underwent plastic surgery to become the beautiful swan, but is that the norm or outliers?

At this point in my search I haven’t found much research covering this topic or information about support for adults who were victimized as children.

It is my hope that out of my research I will be able to not only open doors to further research in this area, but also uncover replicateable interventions that can be used to help those children currently suffering from victimization and hopefully to launch support group and treatment methods for those adults who were victimized.

As I read through the different journal articles, Masters thesis’s, Doctoral dissertations, published books, and intervention programs I will post my thoughts, comments, and critiques. I welcome any constructive input from the readers, as well as any stories of your personal experiences that you don’t mind sharing. I do want to note, that while it is my hope that anyone reading this site will benefit from it, this site is in no way a replacement for therapy, is not a formal support group or therapy group, and I am in no way your therapist.

This forum offers NO CONFIDENTILITY.

If you would like further information on finding support in your area, I would be more than happy to help you look, though at this point my searches haven’t turned up a whole lot.

That all being said, it is now time for me to begin.

Thank you sincerely,

R. Brian Salinas, MA
Psy.D. (candidate)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Review of the Article: A Longitudinal Confirmatory Factor Analysis of Indirect and Physical Aggression: Evidence of Two factors Over time?

Vaillancourt, T।, Brendgen, M., Boivin, M., and Tremblay, R. E. (2003)

Vaillancourt, Brendgen, Boivin, Tremblay (2003) conducted a study to examine whether physical aggression was distinct from indirect aggression across the developmental periods। The study also examined the longitudinal predictive links between direct physical aggression and indirect aggression (Vaillancourt, Brendgen, Boivin, Tremblay, 2003). Vaillancourt, et al (2003) looked at 3,089 children over three different age groups (4-7 years old, 6-9 years old, and 8-11 years old); with 1540 of the participants being boys and 1549 being girls. The information about the children was obtained from the child’s mother and gathered using five questions about indirect aggressive behavior and three questions covering aggressive behavior (Vaillancourt, et al, 2003). The mothers were asked to rate the questions on a 3-point Likert scale: often/very true; sometimes/somewhat true; and never/not true Vaillancourt, et al, 2003). Vaillaincourt, et al (2003) reported that the stability rates suggested the use of aggression was persistent for both boys and girls, despite increases in social cognitive skills. This means, physically aggressive children tended to remain physically aggressive where as children engaging in indirect aggression tended to remain indirectly aggressive (Vaillancourt, et al, 2003).

The study was conducted with a strong sample size of 3,084; however, the study was only done on students in Canada and the authors provide no information concerning the ethnic or socioeconomic breakdown of the participants। The geographic limitations and the lack of ethnic and socioeconomic disclosure limits the studies applicability to the general population. Additionally, the rating of the children’s behaviors was done by the mothers, whom may not have actual knowledge of the child’s true behaviors at school. The study’s results would have been strengthened had Vailliancourt, et al (2003) included reports from school personnel, thus providing a more 360 degree of the child. A further weakness of the study is the fact that while the researchers covered a significant span, ranging from 4-11 years old, the study only covers the elementary school years and does not include children in adolescents. As such the results aren’t indicative of what can be expected when the child enters middle school.

While the study has strong heuristic value and includes a significantly large sample population, the weakness (i।e. lack of geographic diversity, reporting ethnic or socioeconomic breakdown, collecting data only from mothers, and limited time span coverage) hinder the studies usefulness. If the study were re-conducted with these weaknesses addressed, then the results would be more significant and helpful in the planning of anti-bullying intervention programs.

Vaillancourt, T., Brendgen, M., Boivin, M., and Tremblay, R. E. (2003). A Longitudinal Confirmatory Factor Analysis of Indirect and Physical Aggression: Evidence of Two factors Over time? Child Development, Vol 74, Num 1, pp 1628-1638

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Review of the article: Adult recognition of school bullying situations.

Hazler, R। J., Miller, D. L., Carney, J. V., and Green, S. (2001)

Halzer, Miller, Carney, and Green (2001) conducted an empirical study of a professional’s ability to differentiate between normal conflict and bullying। The study involved 251 teachers and counselors, who were asked to judge the severity of 21 scenarios (Halzer, et al, 2001). The scenarios depicted situations that included bullying and non-bullying conflict, in addition to different scenario combinations (Halzer, et al 2001). The results of study indicate that adults view physical conflicts as bullying, even when it’s not (Halzer, et al, 2001). Additionally, Hazler, et al (2001) found that the participants in their study saw physical conflict or the threat of physical conflict as more severe than emotional/social or verbal abuse (Halzer, et al, 2001).

The 251 participants of the study were professional teachers (N=209) and counselors (N=42) who work with youth on a daily basis (Halzer, et al 2001)। The population of the study was comprised of 63 males and 188 females who were Caucasians (92%), African-American (6%), and Hispanic (2%) professionals ranging in age from 20 to 67, with a mean age of 40 (Hazler, et al, 2001). For this study, Hazler, et al (2001) created the Bullying Situations Identifications Instruments, which is comprised of 21 brief scenarios with situations ranging from repeated bullying, harm done to other, and unfair match.

The results were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science or a hand calculator (Hazler, et al 2001)। Hazler, et al (2001) used item difficulty and item discrimination as the means of statistically evaluating the results. The calculation of item difficulty was based off the basic percentage of how many participants correctly identified specific scenarios as bullying or not bullying (Hazler, et al, 2001). Hazler, et al (2001) stated, “Item discrimination was accomplished by commonly accepted statistical procedures.” Unfortunately there is no indication of which procedures they are talking about.

Based upon their findings, Hazler, et al (2001) reported that when physical threat or abuse was present the professionals were more likely to identify the situation as bullying, even thought it might not truly bullying based conflicts or non-bullying based conflicts (i।e. a conflicted between two people of equal status). It was noted in the article that physical characteristics made it harder for the professionals to judge an encounter as anything other than a bullying based scenario (Hazler, et al, 2001). When it came to identifying verbal and social/emotional abuse, the professionals were less likely to properly identify the scenario as a bullying based encounter (Hazler, et al, 2001).

While the study had a strong sample size, its lack of ethnic and gender diversity make it difficult to extrapolate the results out to the general population। Further complicating the applicability of the study is the lack of information concerning the geographic local. Additionally, no information is presented on the socioeconomic of the school districts the professionals were recruited from. As Twemlow & Sacco (2008) point out, socioeconomics can impact how the professional staff view and understand bullying behaviors.

The authors of the study created a testing tool with 21 scenarios to test the participants’ ability to recognize bullying situations। The fact that they conducted several pilot studies of the testing tool strengths the potential validity of the tool. Unfortunately, in the interpretation of the data, it is difficult to interpret or trust their results since the authors neglected to include a definitive explanation of which statistical tool they used. Without knowing which static procedures used it is impossible to establish whether or not any errors were made or if the data was appropriately interpreted.

Hazler, et al (2001) provide a heuristically interesting article, one that provides possible insight into areas of weakness in the battle against school based bullying। Unfortunately, the lack of ethnic and gender variability, lack of geographic and socioeconomic information, and the neglected information on the statistics procedures used limit the overall applicability of this article to the general populations.

Hazler, R. J., Miller, D. L., Carney, J. V., and Green, S. (2001). Adult recognition of school bullying situations. Educational Research Vol 4 No 2 pp. 133-146.