First Advisor

O'Halloran, Mary S

Document Type


Date Created



College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology and Counselor Education, APCE Student Work


This qualitative study compared the perceptions of self-identified victims and school authority figures in regards to adolescent relational aggression among female middle school students. Six significant aspects of this issue were explored, including causal conditions; contextual factors; definitions and descriptions of relationally aggressive interactions; intervening conditions, such as recognition of the victims and their decision to report; intervention and prevention strategies within the school setting; and the negative consequences of relational aggression upon the victims. The data were developed into a grounded theory with the purpose of discovering effective aspects of anti-bullying intervention and prevention programs in U.S. schools. Findings included obstacles in reporting, ways victims preferred to be approached by educators, and foundational aspects of intervention based on student and educator experiences with bullying, including victim empowerment. The implications for schools in applying these findings were described, including a significant shift from a punishment-based approach to a learning-based approach in resolving peer bullying situations.

Abstract Format



Psychology; Bullying; Relational aggression; School violence; Education


331 pages

Local Identifiers



Fall 2011 Graduate Dean's Citation for Outstanding Thesis, Dissertation, and Capstone

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by author.