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Alexandra Hayley Quinn is a 2015 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Patricia Linn, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Mark Russell, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D., Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Bully victimization is linked to poor psychological adjustment, low self-esteem, and social withdrawal in children and teens. However, little research to date has examined the unique experiences of adolescent girls, the specific contributions of various subtypes of bullying, and the utilization of comprehensive instruments to examine the constructs of psychological adjustment and bully victimization. Further, researchers studying these issues have called for more studies to examine buffering factors that may protect teen girls from the psychological insults associated with peer victimization. This study advances research in the field by utilizing standardized self-report measures to examine the relationship between bully victimization and the psychological adjustment of American adolescent girls, and the moderating effect of resilience factors on that relationship. One hundred and two 14 to 16 year-old girls from two schools—one public and one private—completed self-report measures querying basic demographics, internal and external resilience factors, psychological adjustment problems, and experience with bully victimization within the past school year. Results indicated that Resilience Vulnerability—the discrepancy between internal resilience factors and emotional reactivity—significantly moderated the relationship between bully victimization and psychological adjustment problems after controlling for grade level, race/ethnicity, and school attended, supporting the main hypothesis. Participants’ experiences with Bully Victimization in both samples was significantly higher than reported in the body of literature, with verbal attacks and social manipulation cited as the most common types of victimization. Approximately one quarter of the public school participants and nearly one half of the private school participants endorsed a clinically significantly level of Psychological Adjustment Problems. Higher levels of Internal Resilience and lower levels of Resilience Vulnerability predicted fewer Psychological Adjustment Problems. Both Internal Resilience and Resilience Vulnerability were moderately correlated with Bully Victimization. Older ages and higher grade levels were related to more Psychological Adjustment Problems as well as lower levels of Internal Resilience and more Resilience Vulnerability. External Resilience was not significantly related to Psychological Adjustment Problems, Internal or External Resilience Factors, or Bully Victimization. This study demonstrated the important contributions of resilience as a protective factor in the development of psychological adjustment problems stemming from bully victimization. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center, www.ohiolink.edu/etd

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ORCID Scholar ID #: orcid.org/0000-0001-7682-6333