Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Lis Pike


A replication and extension of Rigby and Slee's (1993) study and an investigation of Seligman, Reivich, Jaycox and Gillham's (1995) theory of self-esteem was conducted in one private primary school in Western Australia. The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between the age and gender of victims of bullying with self-esteem of the students and their attitudes towards attending school (Rigby & Slee, 1993), and their explanatory style (Seligman et al., I 995). Four anonymous questionnaires: Peer Relations Assessment Questionnaire (Rigby & Slee, 1997), Self-Esteem Inventory (Coopersmith, 1989), Children's Attributional Style Questionnaire (Seligman, Kaslow, Alloy, Peterson, Tanenbaum & Abramson, 1984) and Liking for School Scale (Rigby & Slee, 1993), were administered to 84 (38 male, 46 female) students in grades 5 (N= 14), 6 (N= 40) and 7 (N= 30). The results of three standard multiple regression analyses did not support the three hypotheses: That the victims of bullying will have low self-esteem, a pessimistic explanatory style and dislike for school. However, the patterns of scores for two groups of students suggests that: (i) children who are consistently bullied have low self-esteem and a pessimistic explanatory style; (ii) some children appear to be psychologically resilient to the effects of bullying. The implications from these findings suggests that intervention programmes encourage children to recognise and challenge their negative thoughts. It is suggested that future research endeavours to examine the type of behavioural response styles children use when bullied by peers at school.