Date of Award

5-7-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Monica Swahn

Second Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Strasser

Abstract

While researchers have assessed the prevalence and health impact of bullying, there are still relatively few successful interventions and strategies implemented to reduce and prevent bullying. A particular promising area is to know more about students who may be willing to intervene in a bullying situation, which is the focus of this thesis. Using the data from the Georgia Student Health Survey II (GSHS 2006) (n=175,311) an empirical analyses of students who state that they are willing to intervene in a bullying situation, their demographic characteristics and psychosocial attributes will be examined. The survey administered to students across Georgia in grades 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th measured the number of students who reported being a bully-victim, bully or a victim of bullying, and their likelihood to engage in risky behaviors.

The results demonstrated students who were white and were girls were most likely to intervene in bullying situations. Grade level was not significant when it involved intervening, but was an important marker for the co-occurrence of bully-victims. One compelling finding is that the bully subgroup was most likely to always intervene. School climate factors such as success in school, clear expectations and liking school were significant indicators of willingness to intervene.

These findings assist researchers and schools to better understand the characteristics of students who are willing to intervene and school factors that may promote students likelihood of intervening. These findings may guide how bullying is addressed in Georgia schools, and underscore the importance of providing safe school climates.

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