Written by Bishop Noble
The experience of being bullied and its resulting side effects can be traumatic for victims. Victims of both traditional bullying (face to face) and cyber bullying (online) may suffer from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). Scholars have also found that both types of bullying are linked with delinquency in middle school and high school children (Hay, Meldrum, & Mann, 2010). However, there is a conversation regarding whether or not the effects of cyber bullying are more severe or just different in nature (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). The purpose of this blog is to examine the effects of cyber bullying on victims and how the unique features of cyber bullying can lead to increases in levels of delinquency in middle school and high school children.
What is Cyber Bullying, and How Does It Affect the Victim?
Cyber bullying is a newer type of bullying that involves harassing an individual online through a digital platform, such as social media. The act is typically done by sending intimidating or threatening messages to the ostracized student (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). These bullies can be classmates, or they may even be anonymous users online. However, most of the time the victims know the bully (McCuddy & Esbensen 2017). Studies have found that cyber bullying victimization can lead to delinquency (Hinduja & Patchin, 2007). Students who experience cyber bullying are more likely to engage in assault, substance abuse, skipping school, and other problematic behaviors than those students who have not experienced cyber bullying (Hinduja & Patchin, 2007). Hay and colleagues (2010) even found that victims of cyber bullying self-reported greater delinquency effects than victims of traditional bullying.
What are the Unique Features of Cyber Bullying?
One aspect of cyber bullying that may contribute to increased levels of delinquency is the disconnect and disinhibition that are associated with it (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). The ability for cyber bullies to remain disconnected from direct consequences while online may lead them to become more aggressive in the messages that they send to their victims. Additionally, the anonymity of the act can make the bully feel more in control and the victim feel less in control (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). Another unique feature of cyber bullying is a concept called tethering. Tethering is the idea that victim is unable to escape the cyber bully, regardless of where s/he goes (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). Due to the increased use of electronic devices, such as phones, the victims may feel as if they are carrying around the bullies in their pockets (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). With traditional bullying, victims can escape their bullies when they are not at school or social events. With tethering, the bully is always there online, and the victim feels as if s/he cannot escape (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017).
Findings from McCuddy and Esbensen’s (2017) Study
McCuddy and Esbensen (2017) examined the relationship between bullying victimization and delinquency using four waves of panel data to analyze the separate effects of traditional bullying, cyber bullying, and dual bullying victimization. Their data came from the second National Evaluation of the Gang Resistance Education and Training program that surveyed 31 middle schools across seven cities (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). Results revealed that those who experience cyber bullying show heightened substance abuse and nonviolent delinquency (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). Dual bullying appeared to be most strongly associated with general delinquency. Surprisingly, traditional bullying remained significantly weaker across all models and analyses (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017).
In conclusion, cyber bullying is associated with increased levels of delinquency, especially during the middle school and high school years. Cyber bullying can increase sadness, anxiety, fear, and depression in students and push them towards acts of delinquency that they may not have engaged in previously (McCuddy & Esbensen, 2017). Therefore, it is important that school administrators and mental health professionals understand cyber bullying and how to help students who are going through these harmful experiences. The responsibility to advocate for the victims falls on both the school system and the parents at home, who can recognize these forms of bullying and help students experiencing cyber bullying.
Hay, C., Meldrum R., & Mann K. (2010). Traditional bullying, cyber bullying, and deviance: A general strain theory approach. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 26, 130-47.
Hinduja, S. & Patchin J.W. (2007). Offline consequences of online victimization. Journal of School Violence, 6, 89-112.
McCuddy, T., & Esbensen, F. (2017). After the bell and into the night: The link between delinquency and traditional, cyber-, and dual-bullying victimization. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 54, 409-441.
Written by Areal Carter
With each passing year, the numbers of first-generation college students are increasing (Stephens et al., 2012) These are students who are the first in their families to attend institutes of higher education. These students tend to struggle more both academically and culturally than students who at least have one parent with a Bachelor’s degree (Stephens et al., 2012). The purpose of this blog is to shed light on the achievement gap and the cultural mismatch theory that affect first-generation students. First, the blog will present the achievement gap and how it can cause students to struggle. Second, the blog will present cultural mismatch theory and how it affects first-generation college students.
The Achievement Gap
The achievement gap refers to the observed disparity in academic performance between different groups of students (Warburton, Bugarin, & Nunez, 2001). Most first-generation college students come from lower middle or working class, whereas non-first-generation students tend to come from upper middle class or lower upper-class families. Many first-generation students attend high schools of poor academic standing that do not prepare them for transition into college; they often need additional tutoring, mentoring, and social support (Warburton et al., 2001). Findings suggest that the gap in academic performance between first-generation and non-first-generation students partially due to the middle class cultural norms of independence that are institutionalized in many U.S. university and colleges (Warburton et al., 2001). When the values and backgrounds of students and higher education settings match one another, students are better able to be served because they feel as though they have social support with the same goals and backgrounds.
Cultural Mismatch Theory
The cultural mismatch theory, according to Stephens and colleagues (2012), is the theory that the U.S. university culture reflects the pervasive middle-class norms of independence that are foundational to U.S. society. In short, most universities follow the motto of paving one’s own way in life (Stephens et al., 2012). Universities stresses the values of independence and interdependence within the college system. Many first-generation college students are more prone to interdependence than independence, whereas universities often stress independence over interdependence (Stephens et al., 2012). and values that students bring to college are influenced by their social classes, and more first-generation students focus on interdependence than they do independence when they come to college (Stephens et al., 2012). They are more concerned with community outreach than becoming independent thinkers. When a student’s motives match the university’s cultural norms which is being more interdependence this has a positive effect on the student’s academic performance (Stephens et al., 2012). Students perform better academically if they feel as though they fit into a system that reflects their values (Stephens et al., 2012). Students may also feel as though they better fit into universities based on the social support that is provided therein, such as student counseling services, bridge programs for transitioning students, and multicultural diversity centers. These programs help provide a conducive environment for first-generation college students to perform well academically and help them to feel as though they are supported by and connected to their universities (Warburton et al., 2001).
In conclusion, the key to helping first-generation college students adjust to life in higher education is by implementing programs to aid in their involvement in the university and feelings of inclusion and by providing them with academic, emotional, and financial support (Warburton et al., 2001). Implementing these types of programs may positively impact the students by making them feel as though they have sources of mentorship, motivation, and encouragement. These types of qualities can majorly impact a student’s grades, social environment and desire to stay in school and earn a degree.
Stephens, N. M., Fryberg, S. A., Markus, H. R., Johnson, C. S., & Covarrubias, R. (2012). Unseen disadvantage: How American universities' focus on independence undermines the academic performance of first-generation college students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 1178-1197. doi: 10.1037/a0027143
Warburton, E., Bugarin, R., & Nunez, A. (2001). Bridging the gap: Academic preparation and postsecondary success of first-generation students (Report No. NCES 2001–153). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Government Printing Office.
Written by Hal Bronson
Low Self-Esteem’s Involvement in Relationships
While in relationships, individuals often find themselves desiring to be closer to their partners. Behaviors, such as sharing emotions, engaging in intimacy, and providing support to one another, provide opportunities for partners to increase the closeness of their relationship, but these behaviors are risky because partners may react undesirably. Due to the risk involved in disclosing and forming such closeness in romantic relationships, individuals tend to avoid these behaviors when they feel as if they are likely to result in rejection (Baker & McNulty, 2013). Regarding the risk regulation model, individuals with low self-esteem (LSE) are more likely to expect rejection, so they often avoid behaviors that increase interdependence, while the opposite can be said of individuals with high self-esteem (HSE; Murray, Holmes, & Collins, 2006). However, according to Leary and colleagues’ (1995) sociometer theory, individuals with LSE are more likely to participate in behaviors that heighten their interdependence in relationships due to the goal of increasing relational value. Is self-esteem the key in relational intimacy, or does a different factor carry more weight in this process?
Relational Self-Construal’s Involvement in Relationships
Relational self-construal is the extent to which the self is defined independently of others or interdependently with others (Baker & McNulty, 2013). Individuals high in relational self-construal define themselves by their close relationships, while individuals low in relational self-construal define themselves by their independent qualities (Baker & McNulty, 2013). While LSE can be an indicator of interdependence, relational self-construal must be considered as well. It is possible that individuals with LSE who are lower in relational self-construal may be likely to avoid risky behaviors that increase interdependence in favor of self-protection. Meanwhile, individuals with LSE who are higher in relational self-construal may look to increase their connections in relationships. Baker and McNulty (2013) conducted six studies and discovered that individuals with LSE are dependent on relational self-construal to determine if they value self-protection or connection goals more.
In conclusion, HSE is frequently associated with positive traits, and LSE is shown to be associated with numerous psychological disorders and a factor in lowering romantic relationship satisfaction by instilling fear in individuals with LSE that they are undeserving of love (Branden, 1995). However, this does not necessarily mean that the only way that individuals with LSE can increase intimacy and satisfaction within their romantic relationships is by increasing their self-worth. While having HSE may seem incredibly beneficial, this research (Baker & McNulty, 2013) shows that relational self-construal may carry more weight as a factor in determining relational quality and leading to an increase in interdependence in relationships.
Baker, L. R., & Mcnulty, J. K. (2013). When low self-esteem encourages behaviors that risk rejection to increase interdependence: The role of relational self-construal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 995-1018. doi: 10.1037/a0032137
Branden, N. (1995). The six pillars of self-esteem: The definitive work on self-esteem by the leading pioneer in the field. New York, NY: Bantam.
Leary, M. R., Tambor, E. S., Terdal, S. K., & Downs, D. L. (1995). Self-esteem as an interpersonal monitor: The sociometer hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 518–530. doi: 10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1688
Murray, S. L., Holmes, J. G., & Collins, N. L. (2006). Optimizing assurance: The risk regulation system in relationships. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 641–666. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.5.641
Written by Madison Shidler
Adolescent and young adult relationships present interesting dynamics as young individuals grow in maturity and experience. Relationships from the teen years are often seen as doomed to end in break-ups, with young adults seen as having a better chance at finding their life partners. However, research such as Lantagne and Furman (2017) regarding the characteristics of these relationships and the impact of teenage relationships on later romances is relatively new. The current research studying the dynamics of young adults’ and adolescents’ relationships and the differences in adolescent relationships and young adult relationships is fairly consistent.
Young Adults’ and Adolescents’ Support Providers
Supportive roles from romantic partners increase in importance over the course of adolescence (Furman & Buhrmester, 1992). For middle school adolescents, friends and parents equally share in supportive roles (Furman & Buhrmester, 1992). By tenth grade, friends provide the most important supportive roles, but in college, romantic partners make an appearance as one of the three main sources of support, sharing it with friends and mothers (Furman & Buhrmester, 1992). This increase in importance of romantic partners regarding support mirrors the average length of the relationships; in the early teenage years, relationships tend to be short, gradually increasing in length into young adulthood, with longer relationships being seen as more supportive (Connolly & Johnson, 1996; Lantagne & Furman, 2017; Seiffge-Krenke, 2003).
Long- and Short-Term Relationship Comparisons
Relationship characteristics appear to be dependent on the couple’s age and the length of the relationship, with older aged individuals tending to have longer relationships (Lantagne & Furman, 2017). Despite the average length of relationships being short for young teenagers, long relationships do exist. These relationships are significantly different from their young adult counterparts; namely, they seem to be inherently more turbulent, strongly characterized by negative qualities, such as jealousy and controlling behaviors (Lantagne & Furman, 2017). Oddly, however, these same relationships tend to be more supportive than their young adult relationship counterparts (Lantagne & Furman, 2017). Conversely, short term relationships appear to follow the opposite trend in regard to age. Young adults’ short term relationships tended to be characterized by more conflict, more controlling behaviors, and less jealousy than their younger counterparts’ relationships (Lantagne & Furman, 2017). However, all types of relationships in the oldest participants in the study (approximately 25 years of age) tend to be fairly similar in regard to support, conflict, jealousy, and control issues, indicating a more consistent relationship characterization, regardless of length, with the youngest (approximately 15 years of age) having large gaps in the comparisons between short, medium, and long relationships (Latagne & Furman, 2017).
The Practice Effect of Relationships
Despite the turbulence of adolescent romances, having many of them seems to contribute to better quality relationships in young adulthood, potentially due to having more practice at conflict resolution and other important aspects of relationships (Seiffge-Krenke, 2003). The benefits of being in a relationship throughout the teenage years appear regardless of whether or not the teenager stays with the same partner or has multiple partners during this time (Seiffge-Krenke, 2003). These romantically experienced adolescents are more likely to marry or cohabit in early adulthood, indicating their better abilities to maintain stable relationships (Meier & Allen, 2009).
Overall, teenage relationships have purpose beyond making teenagers feel important or giving them status. These early relationships give them practice at being in romantic relationships, which leads to more stable and longer relationships in young adulthood (Seiffge-Krenke, 2003). These same relationships may be more chaotic and fraught with issues, but they provide support and are important transitions into young adulthood romances, which leads to better stability and quality in later romantic involvements.
Connolly, J. A., & Johnson, A. M. (1996). Adolescents’ romantic relationships and the structure and quality of their close interpersonal ties. Personal Relationships, 3(2), 185-195. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.1996.tb00111.x
Furman, W., & Buhrmester, D. (1992). Age and sex differences in perceptions of networks of personal relationships. Child Development, 63(1), 103-115. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1130905
Lantangne, A., & Furman, W. (2017). Romantic relationship development: The interplay between age and relationship length. Developmental Psychology, 53(9), 1738-1749. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000067
Meier, A., & Allen, G. (2009). Romantic relationships from adolescence to young adulthood: Evidence from the National Longtidutinal Study of Adolescent Health. The Sociological Quarterly, 50(2), 308-335. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1533-8525.2009.01142.x
Seiffge-Krenke, I. (2003). Testing theories of romantic development from adolescence to young adulthood: Evidence of a developmental sequence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27(6), 519-513. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01650250344000145
Written by Jess Brink
When individuals find themselves in troubled times, counseling can be a much-needed resource to get them through these obstacles. Individuals seek counseling for many reasons, such as needing help in their relationships, dealing with mental illness, or learning new coping strategies to handle difficult events. Individuals also avoid counseling for many reasons, including fear of ridicule from others and social pressures to handle one’s own problems. Mental health and counseling have long been stigmatized; that stops many from seeking help, and some individuals simply just do not feel that therapy will benefit them. For men, counseling may be viewed as something that goes against the ideas of and expectations for masculinity (Vogel & Heath, 2016). Men are often expected to have limited emotions, or at least not show these emotions. Many men are taught that masculinity depends on their ability to handle their problems on their own and without outside help. Masculinity norms also demand that a man be silent and stoic rather than compassionate and caring. This ideal type of masculinity may impact men’s ability to be compassionate towards themselves. Men who adhere more to masculinity norms express more negative attitudes toward counseling and are far less likely to go to counseling in times of need than men who adhere less to masculinity norms (Hammer, Vogel, & Heimerdinger-Edwards, 2013). For counseling methods to succeed, one must look at other factors that affect the willingness of men to seek help.
Masculinity Expectations and Their Relationship to Men Seeking Counseling
In a study consisting of college-age males, participants were asked to complete scales measuring their self-compassion, self-stigma, and risk of self-disclosure (Heath et al., 2017). All of these scales were used to measure the likelihood of male participants attending counseling. The self-stigma scale was used to measure the stigma that men felt towards their own decision to seek out counseling (Vogel et al., 2006). If men felt stigma towards themselves, this suggests that they felt ashamed or embarrassed about seeking counseling. Because men are often told by society that asking for help goes against their masculinity, men who conform to this idea would most likely feel self-stigma and may be less likely to ask for help in the future (Vogel et al., 2006). The risk of self-disclosure model was used to measure the personal risk felt by the men seeking help or opening themselves up emotionally (Vogel & Wester, 2003). Men were asked if they felt that asking for help made them feel uncomfortable personally or if it made them feel at risk for scrutiny from their friends or acquaintances. After completing these surveys, results were then analyzed to see if there was any connection between the three factors mentioned and the unwillingness of men to seek counseling. Results revealed that the more men followed masculine gender norms, the more barriers were in their way when they considered seeking help (Heath et al., 2017). Men with a higher regard for gender norms scored higher on self-disclosure risk and self-stigma (Heath et al., 2017). This study focused on trying to find a way to break through these barriers. Self-compassion was also analyzed and appeared to be the trait that was needed to aid men in their ability to seek help. Higher scores on self-compassion were correlated with lower scores on barriers, such as self-stigma and self-disclosure risk (Heath et al., 2017). Self-compassion may be the factor that aids men in their ability to treat themselves with kindness and understanding in times of struggle (Neff, 2003).
Seeking Out Help Can Be Hard, but it Doesn’t Make a Man Any Less of a Man
Men may feel uncomfortable when seeking out counseling due to the fear that seeking help possibly goes against their expected traits of being strong, independent, and able to provide. Seeking counseling can be an extremely difficult step for many people, not only men; however, men may the task particularly troubling. The ability for men to feel kindness and express understanding towards themselves can increase the likelihood of their ability to seek counseling when it is needed. It is always okay to seek help, and it is important to remember that men who do are not lesser men because of it.
Hammer, J. H., Vogel, D. L., & Heimerdinger-Edwards, S. R. (2013). Men’s help seeking: Examination of differences across community size, education, and income. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 14, 65–75.
Heath, P. J., Brenner, R. E., Vogel, D. L., Lannin, D. G., & Strass, H. A. (2017). Masculinity and barriers to seeking counseling: The buffering role of self-compassion. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64, 94-103.
Neff, K. D. (2003). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2, 223–250.
Vogel, D. L., & Heath, P. J. (2016). Men, masculinities, and help-seeking patterns. In S. R. Wester & J. Wong (Eds.), APA handbook for the psychology of men and masculinities (pp. 685–707). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Vogel, D. L., Wade, N. G., & Haake, S. (2006). Measuring the self-stigma associated with seeking psychological help. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 325–337.
Vogel, D. L., & Wester, S. R. (2003). To seek help or not to seek help: The risks of self-disclosure. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50, 351–361.
Written by Bishop Noble
Adolescent bullying in schools is a complex problem that is coming more and more into public consciousness. As a result, many adults have pressured school officials to increase both the penalties for adolescent bullying in schools, as well as the police presence in schools across the nation (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016). However, will the increased punishment and police presence decrease the bullying epidemic? According to Patchin and Hinduja (2016), students are, in fact, deterred more by their parents and school officials, such as teachers and principals, than they are by a police presence. Deterrence theory and the perceived punishment of students should be considered when looking at the nation’s bullying dilemma.
What is Deterrence Theory, and How Does it Affect Adolescents?
Deterrence theory posits that individuals are rational and will avoid criminal behaviors if the punishments are greater than the perceived benefits (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016). The root of this theory comes from the pleasure/pain principle (i.e., individuals want to maximize their pleasure and minimize their pain; Nagin, 1998). Deterrence theory relates to adolescent bullying because students may weigh the pleasures of engaging in bullying at school against the expected pains associated with the threats of punishment by parents, school officials, or police officers; the decision (whether or not to transgress) is dependent upon the student and his/her relationship with these authority figures (Nagin, 1998). However, adolescents view punishments that are administered by parents or school officials as the least favorable, and these sources of punishment are the best at deterring adolescents from engaging in school bullying behaviors (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016).
How Does Perceived Punishment Influence Students’ Bullying Behaviors?
The punishment that an adolescent perceives as severe largely determines what s/he will do in any given situation: if the perceived punishment is lenient, s/he may opt to engage in bullying behavior; if the perceived punishment is harsh, s/he will likely decide against using bullying behaviors (Jackson, 2002). A study has shown that an increased police presence on campuses or in schools may lead to a distrust of officers and induce more delinquent behavior (Theriot, 2009). The reason behind this distrust may be because the increased police presence fosters an adversarial relationship in which the students see the officers as rivals, and this may lead to increased disorder in schools (Theriot, 2009). Parents and school officials who convey to the students that deviant behavior, such as bullying, will not be tolerated and that the behaviors will be punished seem to play a stronger role in deterring students from bullying behaviors. Additionally, it is noteworthy to mention that punishment by parents and school officials must be supportive and nurturing, as well as punitive, in nature (Hoeve et al., 2009). These elements are important because the child must feel love and support from the individuals s/he loves and looks up to even though s/he is being punished for his/her behavior.
Findings from Patchin and Hinduja’s (2016) Study
Patchin and Hinduja (2016) examined the amount of bullying that students experienced in their schools; bullying at school was experienced by 26.6% of the students, compared to online bullying, which was experienced by 5.8% of the students. They also examined how perceived punishment from different sources would affect deterrence from bullying (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016). The sample included 1,096 students in grades 5-8 attending public schools located in the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. Results revealed that even informal efforts, such as discussing the problems of bullying, by parents and school officials have the potential for greater impact in deterring students from bullying than the utilization of police officers (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016). Additionally, school punishment appears to have greater impact in deterring school bullying, while parental punishment is more effective in deterring cyberbullying (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016). Punishment by the police for both school bullying and cyberbullying were perceived less often than punishment by parents or schools (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016).
In conclusion, deterrence theory has been shown to have some relevance to students and their perceptions of punishment regarding bullying. The increased police presence in many schools may not be the best way for our nation to decrease bullying behavior within schools. Having parents and school officials become more involved in students’ lives may be the factor that is missing in reducing bullying. It is important that parents, teachers, principals, and counselors all understand how their students’ perceptions operate so that they will be able to reduce this persistent bullying problem that is present across the nation.
Hoeve, M., Dubas, J. S., Eichelsheim, V. I., Van der Laan, P. H., Smeenk, W., & Gerris, J. R. (2009). The relationship between parenting and delinquency: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychology, 37, 749-775.
Jackson, A. (2002). Police-school resource officers’ and students’ perception of the police and offending. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 25, 631-650.
Nagin, D. S. (1998). Criminal deterrence research at the outset of the Twenty-First Century. Crime and Justice, 23, 1-42.
Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2016). Deterring teen bullying: Assessing the impact of perceived Punishment from police, schools, and parents. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 1-18.
Theriot, M. T. (2009). School resource officers and the criminalization of student behavior. Journal of Criminal Justice, 37, 280-287.
Written by Makeela J. Wells
In today’s society, more adolescents are opening up about their sexual orientation and identity. However, an unfortunate consequence of this action has been resulting experiences of homophobic and transphobic bullying. The purpose of this blog is to help the reader understand instances of homophobic and transphobic bullying in K-12 educational institutions. First, we define homophobic and transphobic bullying. Second, we will discuss the consequences of homophobic and transphobic bullying. Lastly, we will explore how school-based strategies can help adolescents cope with and combat homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
What is homophobic and transphobic bullying?
Homophobic and transphobic bullying is a form of bias-based victimization against individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). It can include derogatory language, verbal harassment, and physical violence (Day, Snapp, & Russell, 2016). Additionally, homophobic and transphobic bullying can occur through electronic means, including text messages, e-mails, and social media sites (Schneider, O’Donnell, Stueve, & Coulter, 2012). Research on homophobic and transphobic bullying has received little attention; however, it is not just a regional phenomenon. Homophobic and transphobic bullying is being experienced all over the world. For example, in 2010, a South African study revealed that close to 70% of gay men and roughly 40% of lesbians reported that they experienced hate speech at school (Cornu, 2016). In the same year, a U.S. study showed that 84% of students who identified as either gay, lesbian, or bisexual were called names or threatened by other students (Kosciw, Greytak, Diaz, & Bartkiewicz, 2010). Additionally, close to 20% reported experiencing physical assaults (Kosciw et al., 2010). Among transgender students, 90% stated that they experienced name-calling or threats, and about 50% experienced physical assaults (Kosciw et al., 2010).
Consequences of homophobic and transphobic bullying
Several negative consequences associated with homophobic and transphobic bullying have been identified. Adolescents who experience homophobic and transphobic bullying are more likely to miss classes, have lower academic performances, and have difficulty concentrating (Antonio & Moleiro, 2015; Day et al., 2016). Those who experience these negative effects often leave school before completion. Failing to complete school influences future employment prospects of adolescents who are subjected to homophobic and transphobic bullying.
Socially, homophobic and transphobic bullying victims are more likely to report feeling left out or isolated while attending school (Antonio & Moleiro, 2015). They also are more likely to have difficulties establishing and maintaining friendships and other interpersonal relationships (Antonio & Moleiro, 2015). Negative emotional and psychological consequences of homophobic and transphobic bullying include low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Victims of homophobic and transphobic bullying are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and greater rates of attempted and actual suicides (Antonio & Moleiro, 2015; Day et al., 2016).
Strategies for combating homophobic and transphobic bullying in K-12 educational institutions
Two types of school-based practices have been implemented in schools in an attempt to prevent and eliminate homophobic and transphobic bullying. Supportive practices are initiatives taken by school officials to facilitate both school connectedness and bullying prevention. Examples of supportive practices include adequate counseling and support services for students, providing confidential support and referral services to students, and identifying sanctions for bullying violations on a case-by-case basis (Day et al., 2016). Punitive practices refer to strict, zero-tolerance approaches to dissuade future bullying and include suspension and even expulsion for participation in bullying behaviors (Day et al., 2016). Research by Day and colleagues (2016) revealed that supportive practices were more beneficial in reducing homophobic and transphobic bullying than punitive practices. Schools utilizing supportive practices reported that students were less likely to experience homophobic bullying. Furthermore, supportive practices promoted school connectedness through which adolescents develop positive relationships in school.
Sexual and gender diversity are no longer taboo. Adolescents now, more than ever, are willing to express their true identities. It is imperative that these adolescents feel comfortable with themselves, especially within schools. Schools serve as a place where adolescents are provided with educational opportunities that greatly impact their future life chances (e.g., employment). When adolescents are bullied for their perceived or actual sexual identity, it makes it more difficult for them to obtain a sufficient education. In the end, parents, school officials, and other educational stakeholders must work to prevent and, eventually, eliminate homophobic and transphobic bullying.
For more information of homophobic and transphobic bullying, visit the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Education sector responses to homophobic bullying.
Antonio, R., & Moleiro, C. (2015). Social and parental support as moderators of the effects of homophobic bullying on psychological distress in youth. Psychology in the Schools, 52(8), 729-742. doi: 10.1002/pits.21856.
Cornu, C. (2016). Preventing and addressing homophobic and transphobic bullying in education: A human rights-based approach using the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Journal of LGBT Youth, 13(1), 6-17. doi: 10.1080/19361653.2015.1087932
Day, J.K., Snapp, S.D., & Russell, S.T. (2016). Supportive, not punitive, practices reduce homophobic bullying and improve school connectedness. Journal of Social Orientation and Gender Diversity, 3(4), 416-425. doi: 10.1037/sgd0000195
Kosciw, J.G., Greytak, E.A., Diaz, E.M., & Bartkiewicz, M.J. (2010). The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York, NY: GLSEN. Retrieved from https://www.glsen.org/download/file/NDIyMw==.
Schneider, S.K., O’Donnell, L., Stueve, A., Coulter, R.W.S. (2012). Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students. American Journal of Public Health, 102(1), 171-177. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011
Written by Luke Herald
Music is an art form that reaches infinite numbers of people. It can transcend cultural barriers and interpersonal connections, influence an individual’s mood, and even influence individuals' ways of thinking (e.g., North & Hargreaves, 2008). Music affects individuals differently and has the potential to promote and regulate relationships (Hargreaves & North, 1999). The music that we listen to often can influence our thoughts about the world around us. Music is persistent in our culture and affects and regulates interpersonal relationships to the extent that the music to which we listen can bring people together or drive them apart (North & Hargreaves, 2008). While music is very personal to many people, it has an undeniable social function that impacts nearly everyone. The three main social functions of music include its ability to regulate and create are our moods, its role in our interpersonal relationships, and its impact on our self-identity management (Hargreaves & North, 1999).
Music and Interpersonal Relationships
Music has a profound effect on people’s interpersonal relationships, regardless of whether the people are actively playing instruments or only listening to the music. Extra-curricular practices of music groups, such as a high school band, have been shown to have a positive effect on the participating band members, including the creation of friendships with like-minded people, increased confidence, and a sense of belonging. While this effect is not as strong for people who do not play instruments, music's tendency to bring us together with like-minded people and to provide us with a sense of group belonging is still evident when we listen to music (Hallam, 2010). Different kinds of music are used to influence social interaction or invoke particular feelings, including the praise of music in a church to the aggressive, head-banging rock at certain concerts (Hargreaves & North, 1999). The use of music in certain settings can change our perception of what is socially acceptable, such as loud music playing in the background while people dance, whether this be at a prom or a club. Music allows a couple to feel more private when talking and permits for a more socially acceptable way of maintaining physical contact by dancing (Hargreaves & North, 1999). Furthermore, if music is interpreted differently based on how an individual thinks and what s/he has experienced, then one's taste in music serves as an effective way for one to find other individuals who are like-minded. Researchers, such as North and Hargreaves, have referred to one's taste in music as closely resembling a badge that someone would wear to show their similarity and to learn about the personalities of others with badges (Miranda, 2013). This research lends credibility to the idea that music plays a large role in conformity, group identity, and group formation (North & Hargreaves, 2008).
Self-identity and Mood Regulation
Music is an art form that is shaped and created by individuals’ skills and imaginations. A song is influenced by an artist’s view of himself/herself and the world around him/her. Research suggests that individuals can use music to escape their perceived gender roles (Hargreaves & North, 1999). For example, a man’s gender stereotype is to remain macho and not show his emotions; however, once he picks up a guitar and sings about the tough things that have happened to him in his life, people begin applauding, and he is seen as even more macho (Hargreaves & North, 1999). There is a very distinct use of music for day to day mood management (Hargreaves & North, 1999). Individuals use music to influence their own moods and the moods of others around them. If an individual is stressed, s/he may choose to listen to some classical or slow music to calm himself/herself down, or if s/he needs to build energy for an activity, s/he may listen to an energizing mix. Music is also heavily used in marketing; stores will play music that they believe is going to raise the chances of customers coming back and spending more money at those particular stores (Areni & Kim, 1993). Spas, for example, may play soothing or tranquil music to make clients feel and become more relaxed.
Music is a powerful tool that can be used for self-expression, building an individual’s self-image, or even influencing his/her mood. Music is used by most cultures, whether it be for entertainment, mood regulation, religious purposes, or national pride. Because nearly everyone is impacted by music, we should continue researching and gaining awareness on the extent that music influences us and the world around us. The more that we understand the full extent of music’s persuasive power, the more that we will be able to utilize it.
Hargreaves, D. J., & North, A. C. (1999). The functions of music in everyday life: Redefining the social in music psychology. Psychology of Music, 27, 71-83.
North, A. C., & Hargreaves, D. J. (2008). The social and applied psychology of music / Adrian C. North and David J. Hargreaves. New York : Oxford University Press, c2008.
Hallam, S. (2010). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. International Journal Of Music Education, 28(3), 269-289. doi:10.1177/0255761410370658
Miranda, D. (2013). The role of music in adolescent development: Much more than the same old song. International Journal Of Adolescence And Youth, 18(1), 5-22. doi:10.1080/02673843.2011.650182
Charles S. Areni and David Kim (1993) ,"The Influence of Background Music on Shopping Behavior: Classical Versus Top-Forty Music in a Wine Store", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, eds. Leigh McAlister and Michael L. Rothschild, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 336-340.
Written by Jamal Tillman
Victims of Bullying
Bullying (the act of intimidating others) has been a hot topic issue for the past two decades (Wang, Iannotti, Nansel, 2009). It appears in our current society, we are playing catch-up with mitigating an uncontrollable fire within the social parameters of our K-12 schools. Bullying is a problem. However, there seems to be another branch on the proverbial tree: sexual violence. Discussions are occurring regarding a potential connection between bullying and sexual violence; researchers are attempting to find a link between bullying behavior (i.e., relational, cyber, or physical) and increased perpetuation of sexual violence (Basile, Espelage, Rivers, McMahon, & Simon, 2009). Regarding the bullying problem, one can see that certain elements can be overtly sexist and/or homophobic in nature (Daley, Solomon, Newman, & Mishna, 2007). Bullying, in this regard, may be connected to sexual violence (Basile et al., 2009).
Prevalence of Bullying and Sexual Harassment
Basile and colleagues (2009) state that bullying perpetration by both girls and boys occurs more frequently than sexual harassment perpetration; additionally, no significant difference exists between girls and boys regarding sexual harassment perpetration in the form of bullying (i.e., inappropriate verbal abuse, derogatory terms or slander, or forced inappropriate contact; Basile et al., 2009). However, students who identify as gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgender report higher instances of sexual harassment and bullying victimization (Basile et al., 2009). The study by Basile and colleagues (2009) mentions that there are several factors that bullying and sexual violence perpetration have in common: avoidant attachment styles, rape myth beliefs, gender biases and conformity to gender-based roles/stereotype. However, the article (Basile et al., 2009) also points out that even though these factors are shared by both bullying and sexual violence perpetration, this does not mean that the factors are congruent regarding both bullying and sexual violence perpetration.
Some of those factors previously mentioned can be related to sexism and toxic masculinity (i.e., a critique of the way society has created men to be dominant, aggressive (sexually and otherwise), and unemotional, both collectively and as individuals); toxic masculinity can create unhealthy societal standards for boys and men, as well as plant the seeds of misogyny and overtly sexist ideals (Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005). If we believe that bullying can lead to sexual violence in males, then can we also assume that the root behavior itself (bullying) has connections to perceived masculinity? It is no secret that the victims of bullying are often those who are seen to be at the lower ends of the social hierarchy. The usual targets are often racial and ethnic minorities, females, “unpopular” kids, and those who fail to conform to society’s ideals of sexuality (Vervoort, Scholte, & Overbeek, 2010) and gender conformity. Bullying behavior is a unified combination of negative attitudes and the power that the bully has over the victims. Further inquiries could bring eye-opening results and provide the general population with additional insight into the bullying epidemic, as well as provide possible solutions that could help us mitigate such behavior and potentially create safer environments in our schools.
Basile, K. C., Espelage, D. L., Rivers, I., McMahon, P. M., & Simon, T. R. (2009). The theoretical and empirical links between bullying behavior and male sexual violence perpetration. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14, 336-347. doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2009.06.001
Daley, A., Solomon, S., Newman, P., & Mishna, F. (2007). Traversing the Margins: Intersectionalities in the Bullying of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 19(3-4), 9-29.
Wang, J., Iannotti, R. J., & Nansel, T. R. (2009). School Bullying Among Adolescents in the United States: Physical, Verbal, Relational, and Cyber. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 368–375.
Connell, R. W., & Messerschmidt, J. W. (2005). Hegemonic masculinity rethinking the concept. Gender & society, 19(6), 829-859.
Vervoort, M. H., Scholte, R. H., & Overbeek, G. (2010). Bullying and victimization among adolescents: The role of ethnicity and ethnic composition of school class. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(1), 1-11.
Written by Mandi Ryan
Early childhood years are a fundamental time in an individual’s formative development. Between the ages of 3 and 6, gender stereotypes become more abundant and strict (Coyne, Linder, Rasmussen, Nelson, & Birbeck, 2016). For example, boys are taught to be tough, and girls are taught to be nice. The media that children are exposed to during this time, including books, television programs, and social media, may affect how they internalize gender stereotypes. The Disney Princess line, which consists of clothing, toys, movies and more, is among some of the most popular children’s media today and has been popular for quite some time. As the years go by, should we be questioning the messages these materials could be sending to children?
Disney Princesses and Female Stereotypes
Today, it is not uncommon to see female engineers and doctors or male makeup artists and nannies. Yet, the Disney Princess line typically portrays women as damsels in distress and men as heroes. These movies make implications that women are to uphold certain beauty standards. The characters in these movies often are young and attractive with large eyes, small noses and chins, moderately large breasts, prominent cheekbones, and lustrous hair (Coyne et al., 2016). This combination of physical characteristics would be considered quite unrealistic and may be harmful to a girl’s self-image (Coyne et al., 2016). Furthermore, the princesses in Disney movies portray female characters as unrealistically thin, similar to the impossible beauty expectations in real life. This portrayal can have negative effects on young children who find themselves admiring these characters. One study surveying 969 third graders revealed that 35% of girls and 25% of boys wanted to lose weight (Robinson, 2001). This early exposure to a thin ideal and a high standard of beauty may teach kids that attractiveness is essential to one’s identity (Coyne et al., 2016).
Long Term Effects on Children
Female stereotypes, such as those concerning careers, abilities, and roles in the home, conveyed through the media influence both male and female attitudes about gender (Coyne et al., 2016). Coyne and colleagues (2016) examined the longitudinal associations between exposure to Disney Princess media and gender-stereotypical behavior, body esteem, and prosocial behavior. They found that higher Disney Princess engagement through media and toys was related to an increase in female stereotypical behavior in both boys and girls, even one year later (Coyne et al., 2016). This behavior included their characteristics, toy preferences, and activities. While there is nothing wrong with expressing femininity and gendered behavior, it is potentially harmful if girls believe they are limited in their opportunities due to preconceived assumptions concerning gender.
In conclusion, today, both men and women can be either strong or weak, thick or thin, and affectionate or emotionless. They do not have to be tied to their gender stereotypes. Some children’s media and the way its portrayal separates genders may impact boys’ and girls’ behavior and self-esteem. Although Disney Princess movies are becoming more progressive over time, many of the classics, such as Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, are still popular with children today. It may be important to consider the messages these movies may potentially send to children and make sure they are balanced with explanations that children are not obligated to adhere to a predetermined role in life. Girls should not be afraid of getting dirty from playing outside, as exploring the world is an integral part of development (Coyne et al., 2016). Boys should also feel free to show their emotions without being criticized. Children simply should not be limited by the world’s expectations of who they should or shouldn’t be.
Coyne, S. M., Linder, J. R., Rasmussen, E. E., Nelson, D. A., & Birkbeck, V. (2016). Pretty as a princess: Longitudinal effects of engagement with Disney princesses on gender stereotypes, body esteem, and prosocial behavior in children. Child Development, 87, 1909-1925. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12569
Robinson, T. N., Chang, J. Y., Haydel, K., & Killen, J. D. (2001). Overweight concerns and body dissatisfaction among third-grade children: The impacts of ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The Journal of Pediatrics, 138(2), 181-187. doi:10.1067/mpd.2001.110526
Dr. H. Colleen Sinclair
Social Psychologist, Relationships Researcher,
Ms. Chelsea Ellithorpe
Lab Manager of the Social Relations Collaborative and Blog Editor
Ms. Areal Carter
Undergraduate Student in Psychology
Mr. Hal Bronson
Undergraduate Student in Psychology