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Title:Peer-group Predictors of Homophobic Harassment Among Middle School Students
Author(s):Birkett, Michelle A.
Director of Research:Espelage, Dorothy L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Espelage, Dorothy L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Rounds, James; Ryan, Allison M.; Rivers, Ian
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
social networks
Abstract:Homophobic victimization in schools is prevalent and has been linked to numerous negative outcomes such as depression, suicidality, and feeling unsafe in schools (Cochran & Mays, 2000; D'Augelli & Hershberger, 1993; Hershberger & D’Augelli, 1995; Kosciw & Diaz, 2006; Rivers, 2000; Rivers, 2004). Little however is known about the formation of homophobic bullying behaviors. The current study uses an ecological framework to study the formation of homophobic name-calling behavior in adolescents. Specifically, it examines homophobic name-calling behavior and peer group contextual and socialization effects, as well as the influence of masculinity attitudes, general bullying perpetration, and victimization in the transmission of these behaviors. This study examined these research questions by utilizing hierarchical linear modeling and social network analysis. Participants include 493 5th through 8th grade students from two Midwestern middle schools (45.2% White, 36.7% Black, and 18.1% Other). Results indicate that peer groups play an important role in the formation of homophobic name-calling behaviors. Additionally, students who were victims of homophobic name-calling over time increased their own perpetration of homophobic name-calling. Non-homophobic bullying was also related to homophobic name-calling, but only for male peer groups. And finally, the role of masculinity attitudes was shown to be complex, as peer group masculinity attitudes were significantly predictive of an individual’s homophobic perpetration, however this effect did not remain significant over time. Results suggest that homophobic name-calling is a behavior strongly influenced by peers and has ties to masculinity attitudes. Implications for school interventions are also discussed.
Issue Date:2010-08-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Michelle A. Birkett
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-08-20
Date Deposited:2010-08

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