Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Dr. Kris Varjas

Second Advisor

Dr. Joel Meyers

Third Advisor

Dr. Christopher Henrich

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gregory Brack

Abstract

The Multidimensional Model for Coping with Bullying (MMCB; Parris, in development) was conceptualized based on a literature review of coping with bullying and by combining relevant aspects of previous models. Strategies were described based on their focus (problem-focused vs. emotion-focused) and orientation (avoidance, approach – self, approach – situation). The MMCB provided the framework for the development of the Coping with Bullying Scale for Children (CBSC; Parris et al., 2011), which was administered as part of a research project in an urban, southeastern school district. The Student Survey of Bullying Behaviors – Revised 2 (SSBB-R2; Varjas et al., 2008) and the Behavior Assessment System for Children, 2nd Edition (BASC-2; Kamphaus & Reynolds, 2004) also were completed. The first research aim was to examine the factor structure of the CBSC in relation to the MMCB and investigate the relationship between coping style and student outcomes of depression, anxiety, and social stress. This study also examined the relationships between coping, victimization, and student engagement in bullying behavior, as well as the moderating effect of age, gender, and ethnicity on these relationships. The fourth research question was is there a relationship between student coping with bullying and their perceptions of control or self-reliance? Data analysis resulted in a four factor coping structure: constructive, externalizing, cognitive distancing, and self-blame. Externalizing coping was found to be a predictor of depression while constructive and self-blame coping was associated with more social stress. Self-blame also predicted higher rates of anxiety. Results indicated that more frequent victimization predicted the use of constructive and self-blame strategies, while students more often engaged in bullying behaviors indicated a higher use of externalizing and self-blame. Gender, age, and ethnicity were not found to be associated with levels of victimization, bullying behaviors, or the use of any of the four types of coping. Further, these demographic variables did not moderate the relationship between victimization and coping or bullying and coping. Finally, feelings of control were not associated with student coping; however, more self-reliance was predictive of constructive coping, cognitive distancing, and self-blame. Implications for future research and interventions for students involved in bullying are discussed.

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