and Self-Esteem for Victims of Bullying Christine Kerres Malecki, Michelle Kilpatrick Demaray, Samantha Coyle, and Raymond

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1 Assessment of Victimization 1 Frequency, Power Differential, and Intentionality and the Relationship to Anxiety, Depression, and Self-Esteem for Victims of Bullying Christine Kerres Malecki, Michelle Kilpatrick Demaray, Samantha Coyle, and Raymond Geosling, Northern Illinois University Sandra Yu Rueger Wheaton College and Lisa Davidson Becker DeKalb Community Unit School District #428, DeKalb, IL

2 Assessment of Victimization 2 Abstract Background Bullying behavior is related to higher levels of internalizing distress and can be defined as including three aspects: frequency, intentionality, and power differential. However, bullying behavior is most often measured using only one aspect: frequency. Objective The current study investigated the relative importance of several important constructs associated with bullying and their relations to social-emotional outcomes. Specifically, three aspects of bullying behavior were assessed: frequency, intentionality, and power differential. Methods The relations between these aspects of victims of bullying and social emotional outcomes were investigated in a sample of th and 8 th grade students in a large suburban middle school. Results Results showed that power differential and intentionality meaningfully contributed to anxiety, depression, and self-esteem over and above frequency. Conclusions Our findings demonstrate strong support for the utility of assessing power differential and intentionality along with frequency of victimization experiences, as there was predictive power in intentionality and power differential above and beyond frequency in relation to concurrent levels of anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. Keywords: bullying, victimization, power, intention

3 Assessment of Victimization 3 Frequency, Power Differential, and Intentionality and the Relation to Internalizing Outcomes for Victims of Bullying Victimization by bullying has become an important focus of the child and adolescent psychology literature. There are strong and consistent findings that being a victim of bullying is associated with higher levels of internalizing distress (Bond, Carlin, Thomas, Rubin, & Patton, 2001; Hanish & Guerra, 2002; Kaltiala-Heino et al., 2000; Kumpulainen & Rasanen, 2000; Kumpulainen, Rasanen, & Puura, 2001; Rigby, 1998; Swearer, Song, Cary, Eagle, & Mickelson, 2001). One widely used definition of bullying purports that a victim of bullying experiences a repeated negative behavior (frequency), that is intentional, and involves a power differential between the bully and the victim (Olweus, 1997). However, little research has actually investigated the intentionality and power differential aspects of victimization. Although some initial work by Felix, Sharkey, Green, Furlong, & Tanigawa (2011) focused on developing a measure of bullying that assesses power imbalance and intention, victimization is typically assessed via frequency ratings only (Espelage & Holt, 2001; Furlong & Chung, 1995; Glover, Gough, Johnson, & Cartwright, 2000; Nansel et al., 2001; Seals & Young, 2003). Thus, there is often a mismatch between the definition of bullying and the assessment of bullying behaviors. Greater clarity is needed regarding how the various aspects of bullying (frequency, intention, and power differential) are related to negative outcomes for victims of bullying, specifically internalizing problems. Definition of bullying and measurement One potential problem with the measurement of victimization by bullying is the definition upon which the measurement theory is based. Greif and Furlong (2006) posit that perhaps the most important theoretical issue to consider when evaluating assessments of

4 Assessment of Victimization 4 bullying is how the measure defines the unique aspects of bullying (p. 35). There are many different definitions of bullying utilized in the research (Cornell, Sheras, & Cole, 2006). However, the most common definition (and the definition that guides the current study) is Olweus (1997) definition of bullying that incorporates three main components: the aggressive act must happen repeatedly over time (frequency), it must be done intentionally (intention), and it must involve a power imbalance between the perpetrator and the victim (power differential). Olweus definition has been described and used frequently in the literature (Davidson & Demaray, 2007; Espelage & Swearer, 2003, Greif & Furlong, 2006; Solberg & Olweus, 2003). Perhaps the most glaring problem with current self-report measures of victimization by bullying is the failure to distinguish between peer-victimization and bullying. As previously discussed, bullying involves aggressive acts that are repeated over time with intentionality and a power differential between the victim and the perpetrator. Peer-victimization involves repeated aggressive acts but does not require intentionality or a power differential. While these two constructs may seem interchangeable, research conducted by Hunter, Boyle, and Warden (2007) suggests that they are not. They found that children distinguish between bullying behavior and behavior classified as peer-victimization within their own experiences. Also, bullied youth and peer-victimized youth report different levels of depressive symptoms, use different coping strategies, and differ on their appraisals of threat. However, despite research suggesting bullying and peer victimization are separate, many assessment measures do not take all three parts of Olweus definition into account. Power differential and intention often go unmeasured (Espelage & Holt, 2001; Furlong & Chung, 1995; Glover et al., 2000; Nansel, et al., 2001; Seals & Young, 2003). In such situations, students are given a definition of bullying and are then asked to rate the frequency of the behaviors described in the definition (Seals & Young, 2003; Solberg & Olweus,

5 Assessment of Victimization ). It is not uncommon for researchers to define bullying according to Olweus classic threepart definition, yet assess bullying using only a frequency count of aggressive behaviors (e.g., Davidson & Demaray, 2007; Furlong & Chung, 1995). In essence, these researchers are measuring peer-victimization but reporting it as bullying (Hunter et al., 2007). Felix et al. (2011) have examined the bullying definition in its entirety using a measure that addresses all three components of Olweus (1997) definition of bullying. Using the California Bullying Victimization Scale (CBVS), they found that bullying rates decreased during the transition period from middle to high school and also found support for gender related differences in bullying, with boys reporting more physical and girls reporting more relational bullying behaviors; they also found that high scores on the CBVS were associated with lower life satisfaction, school connectedness, and hope. In order to tap into all of the components of Olweus three part definition, the CBVS includes the assessment of frequency in the rating format and also a statement with each behavior to indicate that the behavior was intentional. It then goes further to examine power differential by asking whether the student believed the perpetrator was more popular, smarter, or physically stronger. Using this definition of bullying in their study, they found that bullied youth had lower scores on positive measures than youth who were victimized, showing that students who report behaviors that meet the criteria of bullying had worse outcomes than students who reported victimization behaviors that did not meet that criterion. They also found that examining the perceived power differential in addition to frequency helped to identify bully victims better than frequency alone. While the CBVS assesses the intentionality of these experiences and the perceived power differential between the victim and the perpetrator broadly (Felix et al., 2011),

6 Assessment of Victimization 6 the current study looks to expand these components of bullying by examining them at the item level and having the student report this information for each behavior experienced. Victimization from bullying and internalizing outcomes Being a victim of bullying is associated with greater internalizing problems and peer relational problems than bullies or non-involved youth (Arseneault et al., 2006; Holt, Finkelhor, & Kantor, 2007; Marini, Dane, Bosacki, & YLC-CURA, 2006). Specifically, victims of bullying tend to have lower self-esteem esteem (O Moore & Kirkham, 2001; Swearer et al., 2001) as well as higher levels of depression (Kumpulainen et al., 2001; Swearer et al., 2001) and anxiety (Swearer et al., 2001). Although most of these measures have included only frequency, one study (You et al., 2008) found that students who were victims of bullying with a power imbalance had lower levels of school connectedness than students not-involved in bullying or those who did not report feeling less powerful than their perpetrators. Felix et al. (2011) argue that based on their findings, students who experience repeated victimization with a power differential (i.e., bullying ) have worse outcomes than students who experience repeated victimization without a power differential (i.e., which is not considered bullying ). They call for methods to assess and test the power differential aspect of bullying. The current study looks to build upon methods of assessment of power imbalance by asking about a power imbalance for each victimization item. In the current study, both intentionality and power differential were assessed from the perspective of the victim (i.e., an operational definition was not provided to the participants). Age and gender related differences A number of studies have reported an alarmingly high prevalence of bullying involvement, particularly in middle school students (Bosworth, Espelage, & Simon, 1999; Bond

7 Assessment of Victimization 7 et al., 2001). One study by Bosworth et al. (1999) explored bullying behaviors in middle school children and found that in a sample of 558 middle school students, 81% of participants reported engaging in some type of bullying behavior within the past 30 days, with over 7% reporting frequent involvement. When compared to high school students, Nansel et al. (2001) found that bullying behavior was more prevalent among middle school students in grades 6 through 8. Literature also suggests that middle school children who are involved in bullying are more likely to display impulsive aggressive behaviors than high school students. Furthermore, internalizing symptoms tend to increase with age, suggesting that middle school students may experience both negative internalizing and externalizing behaviors (O Brennan, Bradshaw, & Sawyer, 2009). Based on these statistics the current study focuses on middle school students. Gender differences will be considered as we explore these constructs and the measurement of bullying as gender has been found to be an important consideration in the experience of bullying (Crick, Bigbee, & Howes, 1996; Espelage, Mebane, Swearer, & Turner, 2003). It has been found to be influential in both who bullies and who is victimized (Camodeca, Goossens, Terwogt, & Schuengel, 2002; Cook, Williams, Guerra, Kim, & Sadek, 2010; Nansel et al., 2001; Pepler et al., 2006; Sontag & Graber, 2010; Wang, Iannotti, Luk, & Nansel, 2010). For example, Nansel et al. (2001) examined survey data from students in grades 6 through 10. They found that boys, when compared to girls, were more likely to both bully their peers and be bullied; suggesting bullying is more prevalent among boys. Furthermore, Nansel et al. (2001) found a difference in the types of bullying that boys and girls typically experience. Boys were more involved in physical and verbal bullying whereas girls were more likely to engage in verbal bullying and rumor spreading. In a recent meta-analysis, Cook et al. (2010) examined predictors of group membership in three bully status groups: bullies, victims, or bully victims. They found that boys were more likely

8 Assessment of Victimization 8 than girls to belong to each of the three groups. Based on these findings, gender differences will be examined. Main study goals and hypotheses The main goal of the current study was to assess various constructs associated with the commonly accepted definitions of bullying: frequency, intentionality, and power differential, and determine their relationship to internalizing outcomes. Since bullying is often assessed using only frequency ratings, the current study is critical because it examines bullying in its entirety. Findings of this study will be important in informing effective interventions to be used to address bullying in schools. Findings will also better inform educators about how the social-emotional functioning of children may be related to a power differential between the victim and the bully and intentionality of mean behaviors. First, gender differences in frequency, intentionality, and power differential ratings were investigated. Due to a lack of prior data, no specific hypotheses were made concerning gender differences. Second, along with frequency ratings, the addition of intention and power differential ratings in the relation to social-emotional outcomes was investigated. Because of the importance of gender in bullying and victimization, gender differences were also examined. It was hypothesized that ratings of intention and power differential would be significantly related to social emotional outcomes for boys and girls over and above the relationship with frequency of victimization. Method Participants Data from a school-wide assessment in a large suburban middle school (7 th and 8 th grade) were included in the current study. As part of a school wide assessment, data were collected in the fall of the school year (October) and again in the spring of that same school year (April). The

9 Assessment of Victimization 9 current study examines data collected on the 612 students who participated in the spring assessment. See Table 1 for a detailed breakdown of participants by gender, grade, race, and socioeconomic status, as well as data from the entire school population for comparison to the current study sample. The students who did not participate include those who were absent, had multiple special education needs (i.e., teacher s aide assistance, non-verbal students, students in self-contained classrooms), were unable to complete the surveys independently, or did not participate in the first time-point of the school-wide assessment due to absence or parental request to exclude them. Only one parent requested that their student be excluded. Because these data were collected as part of a school wide assessment at the request of the school, the current study utilized a non-random sample. Measures A Victim Questionnaire. A 12-item survey was developed by the authors to assess students victimization from bullying. The specific items utilized on this survey were a revision of a previous measure that has been utilized and published in prior research (REMOVED) and was initially based on items from the Bully Survey (Swearer, 2001) and The National School Crime and Safety Survey - Revised Student Form 1 (Kingery, 2001). As in previous research, students were asked to rate each of these victimization behaviors in regards to the frequency they experienced them. Students were also asked to rate the intention of the perpetrator and the perceived power differential with the perpetrator for each item that the student endorsed as occurring at least once. Each aspect of this scale is described below. To measure frequency, students were given a list of the 12 behaviors on the scale and asked how often they had been a target of the behavior on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = Never; 2 = About once a month; 3 = 2 or 3 times per month; 4 = About once a week; 5 = Two or more times

10 Assessment of Victimization 10 a week). These 12 item ratings were summed to obtain the Total Victimization Frequency Score, with total scores ranging from 12 (no reported incidents of bullying) to 60 (each of the twelve behaviors was reported as occurring 2 or more times per week). If the student rated the frequency of a particular item as 1 = Never, they provided no additional ratings regarding that specific item. If a student rated an item more than the 1 = Never rating, they provided two additional ratings in regards to that specific behavior. These additional ratings were to gather information regarding the intention of the perpetrator and a power differential with the perpetrator. Note that in the current sample, every participant rated the frequency of at least one item as higher than Never. These additional ratings were in columns going across the page. Each of these additional ratings is described below. Intention was measured for each victimization behavior that students experienced (a frequency rating greater than 1 = Never). They were asked about the intention of the perpetrator regarding the specific behavior. Specifically, they were asked if the behavior was just joking (1) or meant to be mean (2). Other researchers have used the same or a similar method for assessing intention (e.g., Felix et al., 2011; Hunter et al., 2007). An intention score was obtained by summing all of the intention items for which there were ratings provided. A rating of just joking was scored as 0, and a rating of meant to be mean was scored as 1. Thus, the Intention Score could range from 0 to 12. Students who did not report experiencing victimization for the specific behaviors were scored as 0 for those items. Power differential was also measured for each victimization behavior that students experienced (a frequency rating greater than 1 = Never). They were asked about a possible power differential between them and the perpetrator of the behavior. Specifically, they were asked, was the person who was mean to you More popular? (1 = No and 2 = Yes) Stronger? (1 =

11 Assessment of Victimization 11 No and 2 = Yes) Smarter? (1 = No and 2 = Yes). Students could provide a no or a yes response on each of these questions. Thus, a bully could be rated as smarter, stronger, and more popular than a victim. A total Power Differential Score was obtained by summing up the ratings on all three of the dimensions. A rating of 1 = No was scored as 0, and a rating of 2 = Yes was scored as 1. Students who did not report experiencing victimization of each item were scored as 0 for those items. The Power Differential Score could range from 0 to 36. Preliminary data suggest that the Victim Survey and the additional ratings are adequate measures to be used for research purposes. On the current sample, internal consistency (alpha) for the Total Frequency Score was.84 and for the Intention Score it was.76. For the three power differential scores of popular, stronger, and smarter, the internal consistencies were.79,.77, and.79, suggesting that the use of this measure in the study was appropriate. Behavior Assessment Scale for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2004). The BASC-2 is a multimethod, multidimensional system used to evaluate the behavior and self-perceptions of children, adolescents, and young adults aged 2 through 25 years. The current study utilized the Self Report of Personality, Adolescent Version (SRP-A) a 176- item rating scale for children and adolescents aged Students respond to each statement on the SRP-A with either a True or False answer or a Never, Sometimes, Often, and Almost Always selection. The SRP-A consists of Adaptive Scales (i.e., Interpersonal Relations, Relations with Parents, Self-Concept, and Self-Reliance) and Clinical Scales (Anxiety, Attention Problems, Attitude to School, Attitude to Teachers, Atypicality, Depression, Hyperactivity, Locus of Control, Sensation Seeking, Sense of Inadequacy, Social Stress, and Somatization). From the SRP-A one can also obtain composite scores: Emotional Symptoms Index, Inattention/ Hyperactivity, Internalizing Problems, Personal Adjustment, and School Problems.

12 Assessment of Victimization 12 The SRP-A was normed on 1,900 adolescents representative of the 2001 U.S. Census information and stratified on sex, race/ethnicity, geographic region, SES/Parent education, and inclusion of special populations. The internal consistencies of the SRP-A composites are supported by a median coefficient of.90 for the age range and.89 for the year age range. For the scales, the median alphas were.82 and.79 for the and age ranges, respectively. The median test-retest reliability coefficient on the SRP-A was.82 for the composite scores and.75 for the scales. Interrater reliability was established via correlations with the Teacher Report Form (TRF) and Parent Report Form (PRF). The median correlation with the TRF composites was.57 and with the subscales it was.53. For the PRF the median correlation with the composites was.78 and with the subscales it was.77. In the current study, only three of the BASC-2 subscales were utilized: Anxiety, Depression, and Self-Esteem. The internal consistencies for these three subscales yield alpha coefficients of.86,.88 and.85 respectively for the SRP-A. Procedures Data utilized in the current study were part of a school-wide evaluation of bullying; thus, per the policy of the school district, a letter was sent home with each child notifying parents of the assessment. Parents were given the option to withdraw their child from participating in the assessment. One parent called to request that their teen be withdrawn. Students who were unable to complete the surveys independently due to multiple special education needs (e.g., selfcontained classrooms, nonverbal students) also did not participate. All other students in attendance on the dates of the assessment were surveyed. The data were collected in the spring near the end of the school year. Survey data were collected by research assistants in large groups in the student cafeteria (approximately 150 students per administration). Students were assured

13 Assessment of Victimization 13 of confidentiality before administration began, and all items were read aloud to control for possible reading level differences. Upon completion of the school evaluation all identifying information was removed from the database and an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application was approved to utilize the extant data for research purposes. In addition, there were no potential conflicts of interest in any form that would affect the publication of this paper and the lead author takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the analysis. Results Preliminary analyses See Table 2 for the means and standard deviations for all of the variables utilized in the study by total sample and gender. The average frequency of victimization for boys and for girls was (SD = 8.43) and (SD = 7.62), respectively. The mean intentionality score for boys and girls was 1.91 (SD = 2.33) and 3.15 (SD = 2.36), respectively. The average total power differential score for boys and girls was 3.58 (SD = 4.47) and 3.44 (SD = 4.42), respectively. In addition, please refer to Table 3 to view an intercorrelation table of all study variables by gender. All of the correlations were significant. Note that power differential and intentionality are highly correlated with frequency. In order to rate power differential and intentionality, students needed to rate the behavior as something that happened to them (at least a two on frequency). Thus, these three scores were strongly related. A preliminary analysis was conducted on the BASC subscale scores to determine any gender differences in the dependent variables. A MANOVA by gender was conducted on the Anxiety, Depression, and Self-Esteem subscales. The overall MANOVA was significant, Wilks Lambda =.875. The follow up univariate analyses revealed significant gender differences on all of the BASC subscales. Girls obtained higher scores on the Anxiety subscale, F (1,608) = 34.88,

14 Assessment of Victimization 14 p <.001, and the Depression subscale, F (1,608) = 4.15, p <.05. Boys obtained higher scores on the Self-Esteem subscale, F (1,608) = 55.89, p <.001. Cohen s d was utilized to calculate effect sizes. Effect sizes were considered small in magnitude if d was.20 or smaller and large in magnitude if d was.80 or larger; otherwise they were considered medium in magnitude (Cohen, 1988). The effect sizes of the significant gender differences were.48, moderate, for Anxiety;.16, small, for Depression; and.61, moderate, for Self-Esteem. An additional preliminary analysis provided some descriptive data on how boys and girls rated the intentionality and power differential of the bully in regards to specific bullying behaviors. See Table 4 for descriptive data. Note that students only rated intention and power differential for each item on the measure where they endorsed a frequency rating greater than 1 = Never. These preliminary descriptive analyses showed that across the 12 behaviors, an average of 21% of boys and an average of 21% of girls rated the behaviors as happening at least 2 or 3 times per month. Regarding the other constructs, if students reported that the behavior had happened to them at all, an average of 40% of boys rated the behaviors as intentional to be mean, whereas an average of 56% of girls rated the behaviors as intentional. An average of 30% of boys and 22% of girls said the person who did the behaviors was more popular, an average of 26% of boys and 24% of girls said the person was stronger, and an average of 18% of boys and 14% of girls said the person was smarter. Main analyses To examine whether there are gender differences in students ratings of the frequency, intentionality, and power differential of the bully, a MANOVA was conducted on all of the bully constructs measured via the Victim Survey by gender: Frequency, Intention, and Power Differential. The overall MANOVA was significant, Wilks Lambda =.891, F (3, 608) = 24.91,

15 Assessment of Victimization 15 p <.001. The follow up univariate ANOVAs revealed significant gender differences only on the construct of Intentionality. Boys and girls reported similar levels of the Frequency of victimization, F (1,610) =.23, p =.63 and Power Differential, F (1, 610) =.154, p=.695. However, girls scored significantly higher on Intention, F (1, 610) = 42.67, p <.001.The effect size of the significant gender difference for Intention was small,.07. To examine whether ratings of intention and power differential significantly add to the variance explained beyond frequency ratings and gender alone in the relationship to depression, anxiety, and self-esteem, a hierarchical regression was conducted (Aiken & West, 1991) for each social-emotional outcome. Given the higher correlations among the Frequency, Intention, and Power Differential scores, all of the scores used in the regression analyses were mean centered to account for any multicollinearity (Cohen, Cohen, West & Aiken, 2003). In addition, multicollinearity tolerance scores were investigated. Although there is some debate, generally, tolerance scores less than.20 are a cause for concern regarding multicollinearity (Menard, 1995; O Brien, 2007). The tolerance scores for all variables in the regression analyses ranged from.461 to 1; thus, above the cutoff of.20. A series of hierarchical regressions were completed to examine whether the addition of intentionality and power differential accounted for any additional variance above and beyond frequency and gender alone and if there were any gender differences in this relationship. Gender was added to the model first to determine if gender predicted the outcomes of interest. Results indicated that gender significantly predicted all three outcomes (see tables 5, 6 and 7). Next, frequency was added to the model in step two, followed by intention and power differential in step three. To examine whether gender differences existed in the relationship between frequency, intention, and power differential, interactions between gender and frequency, gender and

16 Assessment of Victimization 16 intentionality, and gender and power differential were added to the model in the final step. The addition of the interaction terms in the final step only significantly increased R 2 for depression, R 2 =.152, F(7, 602)=15.38, p=.002. For this model, both frequency and intention uniquely predicted depression, b=.417, t(3, 602)= 4.57, p <. 001 and b=.658, t(3, 602) = 2.37, p=.018, respectively. In addition, there was a frequency by gender interaction, b= -.359, t(3, 602)= -2.97, p=.003, indicating that the predictive ability of frequency on depression varies by gender. However, there were no significant interactions with power differential and gender, or intentionality and gender, suggesting that power differential and intentionality predict depression similarly for young men and young women (see table 6). For anxiety and self-esteem, the third model proved to be the best predictor of these outcomes, with the addition of power differential and intentionality significantly adding to the variance accounted for by gender and frequency alone, R 2 =.147, F(4,606)=26.12, p<.001 and R 2 =.154, F(4,607)=27.61, p=.017, respectively. Further examination of the results indicates that gender, frequency, power differential and intentionality were all significant unique predictors of anxiety (see table 5). Gender and frequency were significant unique predictors of self-esteem, with power differential being marginally significant (see table 7). In summary, adding the Intention Score and Power Differential Score in step three significantly increased R 2 for Anxiety, Depression and Self-Esteem, suggesting that Intentionality and Power Differential explain additional variance above and beyond the frequency of the behaviors and the gender of the individual alone. Discussion The current study was an initial attempt to investigate the relative importance of several important constructs associated with bullying, and their relationship to anxiety, depression, and

17 Assessment of Victimization 17 self-esteem. This was done by examining (1) potential gender differences in the frequency, intentionality, and power differential, and (2) the variance accounted for by intentionality and power differential, above and beyond that of frequency and gender, in relationship to anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. A measure of bullying previously used in the literature (REMOVED) was modified to include assessments of intention and power differential in addition to frequency for each of 12 bullying behaviors. Intention and power differential were chosen based on the widely cited definition of bullying (Olweus, 1997). The results demonstrated no significant gender differences in the frequency of victimization experienced by youth in early adolescence or in the victims perceptions of a power differential between the perpetrator and the victim. However, there were significant gender differences in the victims perceptions of the intentionality of victimization. On all analyses, girls reported a higher percentage of victimization experiences that were considered intentionally mean. In addition, Results of this study demonstrate support for the additional predictive power of intentionality and power differential above and beyond that of the frequency of victimization experiences and gender in relation to anxiety, depression and self-esteem. For all of the outcomes of interest, the addition of power differential and intentionality significantly added to the variance explained in the overall model. Oftentimes, bullying is assessed only by the frequency of victimization experiences. However, these findings suggest that it may be important to consider the additional impact of intentional acts of aggression and a perceived power differential between the victim and the perpetrator in the assessment of bullying. These findings warrant more research on methods of integrating the bullying definition in its entirety into bullying assessment tools. Implications for practical application and future research

18 Assessment of Victimization 18 The most commonly cited definition of bullying (Olweus, 1997) incorporates intention and power differential as necessary components of bullying, and has been used in increasingly more studies (e.g., Davidson & Demaray, 2007; Espelage & Swearer, 2003, Greif & Furlong, 2006; Solberg & Olweus, 2003). However, there has been no direct test of these various aspects of this classic bully definition at an individual behavior or item level. The current study attempted an initial effort to empirically test these aspects, and the results raise an important question related to the utility of assessing intentionality and power differential. How much is a child harmed if they do not indicate that their experienced victimization behavior was intentional or perpetrated by someone more powerful than them? Answers to this difficult question could change our current definition of bullying and victimization, as well as how practitioners consider these issues in the assessment of bullying in real-world settings, such as schools. One practical implication of the current findings is that the assessment methods that are traditionally used to assess bullying may be missing out on important aspects of bullying that contribute to negative outcomes in students. Assessment techniques that utilize the classic definition of bullying but only assess the frequency of behaviors may be limiting our ability to help struggling students by focusing on peer victimization despite the greater risk for internalizing problems associated with power differential and intentionality. Implications from this study could also guide how future researchers or practitioners assess bullying. Should a formal definition be provided that incorporates Olweus' definition prior to asking students if they have experienced bullying behaviors? Should researchers and schools only focus on frequency ratings? There are also implications for future researchers in the area of bullying and victimization in schools, as continued investigation of these questions would help guide future assessment for research and future definitions of bullying.

19 Assessment of Victimization 19 It is evident that frequency measures are important for the relationship between social emotional outcomes and bullying. In order to make use of bullying data, educators need to know what types of behaviors their students are engaging in. For example, behaviors such as namecalling, rumor-spreading, or physical harm would understandably lead to emotional distress, whether they involve mean intentions or a power differential. Assessing the frequency of bullying could be viewed as a first step when examining the prevalence of bullying in schools, as knowing what behaviors their students are engaging in can help educators determine the best possible interventions to match the needs of their student population. Despite the practical usage of understanding frequency of victimization alone, the current study suggests that the addition of intentionality and power differential in the bullying relationship puts students at an even greater risk for internalizing problems and should also be investigated. Issues related to intentionality and power differential may impact children or older adolescents differently. In addition, issues related to intentionality and power differential may be associated with outcomes not included in the current study, such as anger, feelings of revenge, and violence. There have been horrific examples of school violence which have been associated with relentless and intentionally mean acts of bullying by more popular students. It is possible that bullying as defined by this more comprehensive definition would be important in predicting more extreme outcomes or externalizing responses, whereas frequency of bullying may be helpful in assessing school-wide prevalence rates or screening for potential areas to target for school-wide prevention programs. Assessing frequency of victimization through universal screening can also provide useful information about which students are at risk for internalizing problems, and can help flag certain students who can be followed up with more comprehensive bullying assessment tools that take into account intentionality and power differential. In

20 Assessment of Victimization 20 addition, the current study only examines the relationship between frequency, intentionality and power differential in relation to internalizing symptoms. More research needs to be done to examine how these constructs uniquely relate to other important outcomes, such as externalizing problems and academic performance. Furthermore, it is unknown whether intentionality and power differential lead to internalizing issues or if internalizing issues predispose children to perceive peer aggression as intentional and with a power differential (Hunter et al., 2007). Future research should empirically address the generalizability of these findings by investigating these questions with different samples and different outcomes. Limitations and future directions There are a number of important limitations to this study that should be noted. The current study was based on an assessment prepared for a specific school with specific needs. The use of extant data is a limitation of the study. For example, one of the 12 items in the Victim Survey inquired about internet bullying because of an interest of the school administration. However, additional items could be needed in future versions to more fully address online bullying. In addition, because this was an initial attempt to assess the various components of bullying at the item level, more work replicating these findings on other samples is needed to have confidence in the results. Also, when compared to the overall school population, the study sample reported an underrepresentation of African American students and an overrepresentation of Multiracial students. This study is also specific to internalizing symptomology, and more research should be done to expand these findings to other outcomes. The current study is also limited by the lack of an established measure to assess the various aspects of bullying at the item level. Although the bully measure in the current study showed evidence of strong internal consistency of all bully constructs (frequency, intention, and

21 Assessment of Victimization 21 power differential), more work is needed on this measurement technique, and more evidence of reliability and validity of this measure should be demonstrated in order to increase the confidence with which interpretations can be made. Lack of variability in ratings due to the dichotomous choices used to assess intention and power could have impacted the findings. Future revisions of the measure may benefit from a wider Likert-type scale for these constructs. For example, there was no reporting or scoring option for the case in which a friend says that he/she is just teasing when calling a fellow student names but the student believes that it is really meant to be intentionally mean. In addition, the scale asked if the perpetrator was more popular, stronger, and smarter; however, there are many other characteristics that could make someone more powerful such as the clothes students wear, socioeconomic status, weight or other physical characteristics. These same characteristics could create an imbalance in power between peers that constitute the necessary power differential. Furthermore, if students experienced multiple episodes of bullying, the measure used in the current study did not allow them to indicate if this came from a single or multiple perpetrator(s). Subsequent ratings of power differential and intentionality could vary depending on the student s perception of the episode. Finally, it is noted that the intercorrelations of the aspects of bullying were strong. Although this may be seen as a limitation, because a certain level of frequency (it had to happen at least once) was necessary in order for students to respond to the other aspects (intention and power differential), the constructs will be interrelated. The study is also limited by the use of concurrent data, which limit interpretations of causal relationships. Conclusions The results of the current study suggest a need for serious consideration of the various operational definitions of bullying in the literature to guide in the interpretation of the extant

22 Assessment of Victimization 22 literature as a whole, as well as in planning and implementing interventions. Results demonstrate strong support for the utility of assessing the bullying definition in its entirety, as the addition of intentionality and power differential significantly predicted concurrent levels of anxiety, depression and self-esteem above and beyond gender and frequency alone.

23 Assessment of Victimization 23 References Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Arseneault, L., Walsh, E., Trzesniewski, K., Newcombe, R., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2006). Bullying victimization uniquely contributes to adjustment problems in young children: A nationally representative cohort study. Pediatrics, 118, doi: /peds Bond, L., Carlin, J. B., Thomas, L., Rubin, K., & Patton, G. (2001). Does bullying cause emotional problems? A prospective study of young teenagers. British Medical Journal, 323, doi: /bmj Bosworth, K., Espelage, D. L., & Simon, T.R. (1999). Factors associated with bullying behavior in middle school students. Journal of Early Adolescence, 19(3), doi: / Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences, third edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Camodeca, M., Goossens, F. A., Terwogt, M. M., & Schuengel, C. (2002). Bullying and victimization among school-age children: Stability and links to proactive and reactive aggression. Social Development, 11(3), doi: / Cook, C. R., Williams, K. R., Guerra, N. G., Kim, T. E., & Sadek, S. (2010). Predictors of bulling and victimization in childhood and adolescence: A meta-analytic investigation. School Psychology Quarterly, 25(2), doi: /a

24 Assessment of Victimization 24 Cornell, D. G., Sheras, P. L., & Cole, J. C. M. (2006). Assessment of bullying. In S. R. Jimerson & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of School Violence and School Safety: From Research to Practice (pp ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Crick, N.R., Bigbee, M. A., & Howes, C. (1996). Gender differences in children s normative beliefs about aggression: How do I hurt thee? Let me count the ways. Child Development, 67, doi: / ep Davidson, L. M., & Demaray, M. K. (2007). Social support as a moderator between victimization and internalizing/externalizing distress from bullying. School Psychology Review, 36, Demaray, M. K., & Malecki, C. K. (2003). Perceptions of the frequency and importance of social support by students classified as victims, bullies, and bully/victims in an urban middle school. School Psychology Review, 32, Espelage, D. L., & Holt, M. K. (2001). Bullying and victimization during early adolescence: Peer influences and psychosocial correlates. In R. A. Geffner, M. Loring, & C. Young (Eds.), Bullying Behavior: Current issues, research, and interventions (pp ). New York: The Hawthorne Press. Espelage, D. L., Mebane, S., Swearer, S. M., & Turner, R. (2003). Gender differences in bullying: Moving beyond mean level differences. In D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (Eds.), Bullying in American schools: A social ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Espelage, D. L., & Swearer, S. M. (2003). Research on school bullying and victimization: What have we learned and where do we go from here? School Psychology Review, 32,

25 Assessment of Victimization 25 Felix, E. D., Sharkey, J. D., Green, J. G., Furlong, M. J., & Tanigawa, D. (2011). Getting precise and pragmatic about the assessment of bullying: The development of the California Bullying Victimization Scale. Aggressive Behavior, 37(3), doi: /ab Furlong, M. J. & Chung, A. (1995). Who are the victims of school violence? A comparison of student non-victims and multi-victims. Education & Treatment of Children, 18(3), Glover, D., Gough, G., Johnson, M., & Cartwright, N. (2000). Bullying in 25 secondary schools: Incidence, impact and intervention. Educational Research, 42, doi: / Greif, J. L., & Furlong, M. J. (2006). The assessment of school bullying: Using theory to inform practice. Journal of School Violence, 5, doi: /J202v05n03_04 Hanish, L. D., & Guerra, N. G. (2002). A longitudinal analysis of patterns of adjustment following peer victimization. Development and Psychopathology, 14, doi: /S Holt, M. K., Finkelhor, D., & Kantor, G. K. (2007). Multiple victimization experiences of urban elementary school students: Associations with psychosocial functioning and academic performance. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(5), doi: /j.chiabu Hunter, S. C., Boyle, J. M. E., & Warden, D. (2007). Perceptions and correlates of peervictimization and bullying. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77, doi: / X Kaltiala-Heino, R., Rimpela, M., Rantanen, P., & Rimpela, A. (2000). Bullying at school: An indicator of adolescents at risk for mental disorders. Journal of Adolescence, 23,

26 Assessment of Victimization 26 Kingery, P. (2001). The National School Crime and Safety Survey - Revised Student Form 1. The Hamilton-Fish Institute: Washington D. C. Kumpulainen, K., & Rasanen, E. (2000). Children involved in bullying at elementary school age: Their psychiatric symptoms and deviance in adolescence: An epidemiological sample. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24, doi: /S %2800% Kumpulainen, K., Rasanen, E., & Puura, K. (2001). Psychiatric disorders and the use of mental health services among children involved in bullying. Aggressive Behavior, 27, doi: /ab.3 Marini, Z. A., Dane, A. V., Bosacki, S. L., & YLC-CURA (2006). Direct and indirect bullyvictims: Differential psychosocial risk factors associated with adolescents involved in bullying and victimization. Aggressive Behavior, 32, doi: /ab Menard, S. (1995). Applied logistical regression analysis: Sage University Series no quantitative applications in the social sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Rualn, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, doi: /jama O Brennan, L. M., Bradshaw, C. P., & Sawyer, A. L. (2009). Examining developmental differences in the social-emotional problems among frequent bullies, victims, and bully/victims. Psychology in the Schools, 46(2), doi: /pits O Brien, R. M. (2007). A caution regarding rules of thumb for variance inflation factors. Quality & Quantity, 41, doi: /s

27 Assessment of Victimization 27 Olweus, D. (1997). Bully/victim problems in school: Knowledge base and an effective intervention program. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 18, doi: / O Moore, M., & Kirkham, C. (2001). Self-esteem and its relationship to bulling behavior. Aggressive Behavior, 27(4), doi: /ab.1010 Pepler, D. J., Craig, W. M., Connolly, J. A., Yuile, A., McMaster, L., & Jiang, D. (2006). A developmental perspective in bullying. Aggressive Behavior, 32, doi: /ab Reynolds, C. R., & Kamphaus, R. W. (2004). The Behavioral Assessment System for Children- Second Edition. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service, Inc. Rigby, K. (1998). The relationship between reported health and involvement in bully/victim problems among male and female secondary school students. Journal of Health Psychology, 3(4), doi: / Seals, D. & Young, J. (2003). Bullying and victimization: Prevalence and relationship to gender, grade level, ethnicity, self-esteem, and depression. Adolescence, 38, Solberg, M. E., & Olweus, D. (2003). Prevalence estimation of school bullying with the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire. Aggressive Behavior, 29, doi: /ab Sontag, L. M., & Graber, J. A. (2010). Coping with perceived peer stress: Gender-specific and common pathways to symptoms of psychopathology. Developmental Psychology, 46(6), doi: /a Swearer, S.M. (2001). Bully survey. Unpublished survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Swearer, S. M., Song, S. Y., Cary, P. T., Eagle, J. W., & Mickelson, W. T. (2001). Psychosocial correlates in bullying and victimization: The relationship between depression, anxiety,

28 Assessment of Victimization 28 and bully/victim status. In R. A. Geffner, M. Loring, & C. Young (Eds.), Bullying Behavior: Current issues, research, and interventions (pp ). New York: The Hawthorne Press. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Wang, J., Iannotti, R. J., Luk, J. W., & Nansel, T. R. (2010). Co-occurrence of victimization from five subtypes of bullying: Physical, verbal, social exclusion, spreading rumors, and cyber. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(10), doi: /jpepsy/jsq048 You, S., Furlong, M. J., Felix, E., Sharkey, J. D., Tanigawa, D., & Green, J. G. (2008). Relations among school connectedness, hope, life satisfaction, and bully victimization. Psychology in the Schools, 45(5), doi: /pits.20308

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