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, August 21, 2009

Critic of the article: A Developmental Perspective on Bullying

Pepler, D. J., Craig, W. M., Connolly, J. A., Yuile, A., McMaster, L., Jiang, D., 2006. A Developmental Perspective on Bullying. Aggressive Behavior, Vol 32, pp 376-384

Pepler, Craig, Connolly, Yuile, McMaster, and Jiang (2006) conducted a study with the intent of researching the forms and relationship contexts of adolescent bullying. Their study was conducted using a cross-sectional data set that included grade and sex differences in self-reports of sexual harassing, bullying of peers, and dating aggression (Pepler, Craig, Connolly, Yuile, McMaster, and Jiang, 2006). The subjects were students from the 6th to 8th grade and 9th to 12th grade from schools located in a large Canadian city (Pepler, et al, 2006).

The group in the 6th to 8th grade range was comprised of 504 boys and 457 girls from seven elementary schools (Pepler, et al, 2006). Pepler, et al (2006) recruited 114 boys and 126 girls from the 6th grade, 169 boys and 130 girls from the 7th grade, in addition to 223 boys and 201 girls from the 8th grade. Pepler, et al (2006) report that the majority of the students were of Euro-Canadian decent, coming from two parent households (74.6 %), however, they authors were unable to provide the exact ethnic breakdowns due to the data not being captured for the 6th to 8th grade group. For the subjects who didn’t come from two parent households, the authors reported 4% living with both parents in joint custody, 4.7% lived in blended families (one biological parent and one step parent), 14.2% were being raised in a single parent household, and 2.4% were living in a different family configuration, such as legal guardians (Pepler, et al, 2006).

The 9th to 12th grade group was comprised of 456 boys and 479 girls attending four high schools (Pepler, et al, 2006). The study used 142 boys and 108 girls from the 9th grade, 117 boys and 129 girls from the 10th grade, 132 boys and 105 girls from the 11th grade, and 66 boys and 137 girls from the 12th grade (Pepler, et al, 2006). While the majority of the group participants were of Euro-Canadian, 5% were African Canadian, and 13.3% were Asian-Canadian (Pepler, et al, 2006). Like the 6th-8th grade group, the majority of the subjects came from households with both biological parents (72.6%). The remaining subjects came from blended families (5.5%), single-parents households (14.4%), or alternative family configurations (2.9%; Pepler, et al, 2006).

Pepler, et al, (2006) used two MANOVAs to analyze the data. Their results indicate a peak of bullying behavior around the transition from 8th grade to 9th grade and the lowest levels around the end of high school (12th grade); however boys reported more bullying and sexual harassment behavior than the girls (Pepler, et al, 2006). The authors did not find any statistically significant differences between sexes when it came to the prevalence of indirect or physical aggression with a dating partner (Pepler, et al, 2006). They did find that sexual harassment of same- and opposite-sex peers increased over the early adolescent years and then leveled off in later adolescents (Pepler, et al, 2006). Finally, Pepler, et al (2006) reported that adolescents who bullied were at elevated risk for conducting the other forms of relationship aggression.

Pepler, et al (2006) had a significantly large subject population, with n=1896; however there is no report of how the population was selected for inclusion in the study. It is unclear if these students were selected because it was the entire class for the grade or was there a different criteria used for inclusion (e.g. teacher/principle identified student as being a possible candidate). Additionally, since the population was limited to the schools in one city within Canada, it is questionable whether or not the results are applicable to other populations. A further limitation of the study is the lack of demographic data on the subject population of the 6th-8th grade group, and no indication if the family constellations for both groups (6th-8th and 9th -12th) is an appropriate representation of the family constellations for all of Canada. Another point that stands to be questioned is that Pepler, et al (2006) report that 73.8% of the fathers and 69.7% of the mothers have a college education. This seems high and the authors should have talked to this point, either explaining that it is representative to the average education level in Canada or discussing how it was higher than the average Canadian education level and why they believed this to be the case.

A different issue that stands out in the article is the fact that Pepler, et al (2006) report that for the 6th-8th grade and 9th-12th grade population, 75% and 65%, of the subjects, respectively, had parental consent. This brooks the question, did the remaining 25% and 35%, respectively, take part in the research without parental consent? The authors should have clarified this issue better.

While Pepler, et al indentify an area of research which will better help the clinical population head off possible future relationship aggression, the limitations of the study (e.g. the limited geography and ethnic data) hinder it’s applicability to other populations. Additionally, questions about the high percent of educated parents and lack of parental consent for a significant portion of the subjects, further limit the usefulness of this article.