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Title:An examination of bullying within middle school physical education
Author(s):O'connor, Jamie
Director of Research:Graber, Kim C.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Graber, Kim C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Woods, Amy; Chodzko-Zajko, Wojtek; Espelage, Dorothy L.
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
middle school
physical education
Abstract:Although bullying is recognized as a serious problem among adolescents (Spriggs, Iannotti, Nansel, & Haynie, 2007), little is known about bullying within the context of physical education. Utilizing Ecological Systems Theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1977, 1979) as a grounding framework, this investigation sought to explore the social-ecological factors that impact bullying within middle school physical education. Specifically, the purpose was to discover the perceptions students and teachers have about bullying in physical education, and the perceptions students have about peer and adult support pertaining to bullying. After obtaining IRB approval and participant consent, the researcher conducted direct observations of sixth grade physical education classes in one Midwestern middle school, documenting teacher and student behaviors, physical spaces, and class activities. Each physical education teacher participated in formal and informal interviews designed to explore perceptions of bullying in physical education and overall class climate. In addition, 24 students representing various dimensions of the bullying spectrum were formally and informally interviewed about their perceptions of bullying in physical education and perceived support they received from teachers, family members, and peers. Interview transcripts and field notes were analyzed using open and axial coding techniques (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Triangulation, prolonged engagement, member checks, peer debriefing, and negative case searches were employed. The results indicate that while physical educators perceive they promote a safe class environment, students report that bullying is a common occurrence in physical education. Student participants also indicated that reporting bullying to family members, teachers, and other adults places them at risk for further harassment. Although this study provided an initial step toward understanding the social-ecological factors affecting peer harassment in physical education, additional research is warranted.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Jamie O'connor
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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