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Title:Ritual insults among middle school students: causing harm or passing time?
Author(s):Rivers, Tyrone
Advisor(s):Espelage, Dorothy L.
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Black ritual insults
African American
Middle school
Abstract:A significant gap in the bullying literature includes the lack of scholarship surrounding ethnically diverse populations (Espelage & Horne, 2008). This multistudy investigation examined the Black oral tradition of roasting and its relation with bullying behavior. Study 1 included data collected through survey and focus group responses of middle school students. Thematic analysis revealed that students roast others for fun, for revenge, to protect and to defend themselves. Though roasting has benefits, it can also lower students’ self-esteem, hurt student’s feelings, and disrupt classroom learning. To avoid further victimization, some students conceal the negative psychosocial effects of roasting from their peers. Study 2 involved the development of an instrument to measure roasting attitudes, behaviors, and motivation, and also the relationship between roasting, depression, and student school sense of belonging. Items were written based on the student survey and semi-structured focus group responses of Study 1, and a review of the roasting literature. The purpose of these items was to examine the contemporary dynamics of roasting and assess its possible relation to bullying. Exploratory factor analysis yielded three factors: (a) Pro-Roasting (α = .88; students in this category hold a positive attitude towards roasting); (b) Uneasy (α = .81; students in this category are inclined to feel socially anxious around others who roast); and (c) Lowered Self-confidence (α = .86; roasting victimization produces a negative psychological affect for these students). The convergent and divergent validity of this instrument support the notion that there is a relationship between roasting and bullying. Therefore, this research adds to the multiculturally-sensitive literature on bullying and can influence the development of intervention programs.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Tyrone Rivers
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12

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