Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Steve Baldwin

Abstract

A replication and extension of Rigby and Slee's (1991) study, was conducted in rural Western Australia to investigate age and gender differences in schoolchildren's attitudes and behaviour toward victims of bullying. One hundred and seventy two students (93 Females, 79 males) participated in the study, comprising of, Year 3, Year 7, Year 8, and Year 12 students. Three written, anonymous questionnaires were used: (i) The Peer Relations Questionnaire (Rigby & Slee, 1994) and (ii) the Pro-Victim Scale (Rigby & Slee, 1991) examined students peer interactions and attitudes toward victims; and a self-developed questionnaire, (iii) the Victim Questionnaire, was ased to assess schoolchildren's helping behaviour toward a victim of bullying. Four of the seven hypotheses were supported, these being: the majority of schoolchildren hold supportive attitudes toward victims, girls show more supportive attitudes than boys toward victims, the majority of students act in a pro-social manner toward their peers, and, boys show higher incidence than girls of being victims of direct bullying. The three hypotheses not supported were, Year 3 children show more supportive attitudes than Years 7, 8 and 12 students toward victims, girls show higher incidence than boys of being victims of indirect bullying, and, Year 3 children show more positive forms of helping behaviour toward victims of bullying than Years 7, 8 and 12 students. The results suggested differences between helping behaviour of primary and secondary students particularly, the transition between Year 7 and Year 8. Furthermore, a larger, more representative sample of rural children in the future, should provide more accurate comparisons between urban and rural centres. Such comparisons have implications for the appropriateness or inappropriateness of universal intervention strategies.

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