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Social Norms Approach to Bullying Noted

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Social norms research on bullying conducted by Wesley Perkins, professor of sociology, and David Craig, professor of chemistry, was recently featured in an article in The independent Florida alligator about the University of Florida.

The study shows, according to the article, "that the more bullies think their peers are harassing others, the more likely they are to tease others."

It quotes Craig, "We've been looking at the frequency between behavior and the perceived behavior for two years," he said. "The higher the grade level, the less influenced students are to becoming bullies."

Craig and Perkins are co-directors of HWS' Alcohol Education Project, a collection of education and research initiatives. Their work has been presented internationally to inform people about social norms and abuse problems related to alcohol and other drugs, bullying and weight norms.

In addition to his teaching duties, Craig is the director of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Alcohol Education Project and is principle investigator of a program of BAC research at HWS. He is a leader in interdisciplinary program development particularly in the integration of the sciences into programs focusing on health and wellness at both the college and secondary school levels and has published numerous publications and a recent film on this subject.

Perkins is a graduate of Purdue University, and he received his M.A., M. Div., M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the author of dozens of journal articles about substance abuse prevention and has been honored with national awards for his work in preventing alcohol and drug abuse in colleges and universities.

They are also the developers of Campus FactoidsTM electronic media resources for social norms prevention campaigns, as well as the Social Norm Surveys Online from HWS, and have promoted these strategies nationally at workshops for secondary schools and higher education nationwide.

Their Alcohol Education Project has received two "Model Program" grant recognition awards from the U. S. Department of Education for success in preventing alcohol abuse in a college-wide population and for one focusing on intercollegiate athletes. Their work is also recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a premiere model for substance abuse prevention.


The full article follows.


The Independent Florida Alligator
UF study shows that bullies act on assumptions

Jimmie Paul •Alligator Writer • November 23, 2009

Bully see, bully do.

A study shows that the more bullies think their peers are harassing others, the more likely they are to tease others.

The experiment, which surveyed nearly 10,700 anonymous middle school students from 2006 to 2008, was designed to monitor bullying behaviors. About 20 middle schools from New Jersey and New York participated in the study.
The research found that 66 percent of students said they've been the victim of bullying more than once in the last month.

Twenty-five percent of those surveyed avoided recess, class and lunch to keep clear of trouble. Eight percent of the teenagers also reported that they skipped school for the same reason.

Jason Grindstaff, who works at UF's counseling center and deals with student depression and anxiety, said menacing students were often ridiculed and ostracized, so they tend to join "jock" groups to appear popular and exert power, he said.

David W. Craig, one of the researchers, said easily influenced students usually become quarrelsome and troubled, which is why they tend to pick on others. He said people think bullying happens much more than it actually does.

"We've been looking at the frequency between behavior and the perceived behavior for two years," he said. "The higher the grade level, the less influenced students are to becoming bullies."

The study also found that the classroom, lunchroom and hallways at schools were the places where victimization was most prevalent. Craig also said bullying is down about 15 percent since the study at the schools where students were surveyed.
Researchers from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Harvard University also participated in the study.

 

 


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