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Factors associated with children’s defending against unkind behaviour: a mixed methods study

Ennis, Sorcha (2014) Factors associated with children’s defending against unkind behaviour: a mixed methods study. D.Ed.Psy thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Over the past forty years the topic of bullying has generated considerable research interest. Schools spend a large amount of their budgets on interventions designed to reduce the incidence of bullying and to promote prosocial behaviours (Viding, McCrory, Blakemore and Frederickson, 2011). Nationwide initiatives such as the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) curriculum (DfE, 2005) have been widely implemented across schools in the United Kingdom with a view to increasing social and emotional competence and reducing bullying. Despite this, bullying remains a prominent concern and anti-bullying interventions do not always seem to lead to a significant decrease in bullying behaviour (Salmivalli, Kaukiainen & Voeten, 2005). Although much of the bullying research has focused primarily on bullies and victims it seems more widely accepted now that bullying is a group process which happens within a social context. More recent studies have looked at the other roles that children can adopt in a bullying situation such as defender, reinforcer, assistant and outsider (Salmivalli, 1996), however research in this areas is relatively limited to date. Existing research is largely quantitative in design and is considerably reliant on fixed response questionnaires. The current study looks at defending in particular and explores the factors associated with children’s expressed intentions to defend. Due to complexities involved in operationalising bullying as a construct, the focus of this study is on unkind behaviour rather than bullying. A mixed methods approach is used incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. 113 upper Key Stage 2 children (66 boys and 47 girls) from two schools in the south east of England completed questionnaires designed to assess behavioural tendencies in relation to unkindness, friendship quality, social group structure and attitudes towards unkind behaviour. Paired interviews were conducted with 32 children (17 girls and 15 boys). Correlation, regression and thematic analyses were used to explore factors seemingly associated with defending. Results are discussed in light of existing literature on defending along with implications for the professional practice of Educational Psychologists (EPs).

Item Type: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy)
Subjects: Departments > Psychology and Human Development
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2015 14:05
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2015 15:12
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