262579 Bullying in Secondary School as a Determinant in Psychological Development of Young Adults

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Justin Dickerson, MBA , Department of Health Policy & Management, Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Jamilia Blake, PhD , Department of Educational Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Diane Dowdy, PhD , Social and Behavioral Health Department, Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Matthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES , Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, The University of Georgia, College of Public Health, Athens, GA
Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH , Social & Behavioral Health, Texas A&M HSC School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Objectives – To understand whether bullying in secondary school can influence the natural progression of psychological development between adolescence and young adulthood.

Methods – A retrospective bullying survey was administered to students of a large four-year university. The survey asked students to recall their past bullying experiences in high school and also asked them a series of questions to assess their scores on the psychosocial development stages of “identity” and “intimacy” as postulated by the psychologist Erik Erikson, and measured by Rosenthal and colleagues. The resulting “identity” and “intimacy” constructs were validated with factor analysis and measured for reliability with Cronbach's alpha. The constructs were then included in a structural equation model with an indicator variable of whether a participant stated they were bullied in secondary school.

Results – The “identity” construct had a Cronbach's alpha of 0.882. The “intimacy” construct had a Cronbach's alpha of 0.807. Being bullied in secondary school was negatively associated (β = -0.30, p <0.001) with scores on the “identity” construct, and explained r2 = 0.09 of the variation in the “identity” construct. Scores on the “identity” construct were positively associated (β = 0.50, p <0.001) with scores on the “intimacy” construct, and explained r2 = 0.25 of the variation in the “intimacy” construct Conclusion – Bullying in secondary school is associated with a diminished sense of “identity” which is important to the development of “intimacy.” This finding suggests psychological development in later stages of life is effected by experiences of bullying in secondary school.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the relationship between being bullied in secondary school and consequences for psychosocial development across the lifecourse 2. Describe the critical pathways between bullying victimization and psychological development of adolescents.

Keywords: Youth Violence, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted this primary research as the principal investigator. I have published several peer-reviewed journal articles on adolescent health topics and have also presented such findings at national meetings such as APHA. I am a doctoral student at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.