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1 Running head: HIGH SCHOOL BULLYING 1 High School Bullying in Japan and America: Impact on Self-Esteem and Personal Growth Jessica Genaw and Leah McDiarmid Oakland University Dr. Kanako Taku Abstract Recent studies indicate high school students who experience bullying report lower levels of selfesteem (Sourander, Helstelä, Helenius, & Piha,2000). Relatively little research explores the relationship between those who are bullied and posttraumatic growth. Surveys from Japanese and American high school students who have experienced bullying or abuse in the past three years are analyzed to find if the duration of being bullied affects self-esteem. This study also assesses if bullying is considered a traumatic event and if so, whether someone can experience posttraumatic growth from being bullied. Two domains within the PTGI (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996) are analyzed to learn if high school students report being more self-reliant and being able to count on others as time since they were bullied increased. The study provides inconclusive results but limitations and suggestions for future research, regarding the impact of time on bullying, are discussed. Keywords: Bullying, duration, time, influence, cross-cultural, posttraumatic growth, self-esteem

2 HIGH SCHOOL BULLYING 2 High School Bullying in Japan and America: Impact on Self-Esteem and Personal Growth Researchers use terms such as repeated or persistent to define bullying. Using such terms defines bullying as an event that occurs over a duration of time. Researchers use these terms to intentionally separate the act of bullying from other forms of aggressive behavior. However, most studies on bullying are interested in the frequency of bullying from a designated time, not the entirety of all experienced events (Sharp, Thompson, & Arora, 2000). Because researchers stress duration in the mere definition of bullying; most research lacks the crucial time factor that separates bullying from other forms of aggression. Literature suggests there is a strong negative correlation between those who experience bullying and self-esteem (Sharp, Thompson, & Arora, 2000). Literature indicates people who are in the midst of bullying related trauma will report low levels of self-esteem (Hugh-Jones, & Smith, 1999). As time progresses and the person is not experiencing persistent acts of bullying, it is suggested that they can report higher levels of self-esteem and experience growth (Carlisle & Rofes, 2007). To our knowledge there is no literature assessing at what time a person is able to repair their self-esteem or at what time posttraumatic growth (PTG) is possible. Carlisle and Rofes (2007) found growth was possible among adults who were once bullied. Two out of their fifteen adults surveyed reported having gained strength from being bullied as a child. These two adults were not just resilient individuals but reported they would not have had the strength if they were not bullied, suggesting posttraumatic growth. Researchers have debated if growth was possible after one was bullied, some researchers argue that bullying is not a traumatic event but is actually a normal developmental process that all children undergo (Arseneault, Bowes & Shakoor, 2009). This paper introduces a study to help expand current researcher s knowledge on bullying. The study consists of Japanese and American high school students and will discuss what was found concerning times impact on self-esteem and possible growth among a population of bullied high school students. The following hypotheses will be analyzed: (H1) high school students who experienced bullying recently will report lower self-esteem on the Rosenberg Self- Esteem Scale and (H2) lower levels of being able to more clearly see that they can count on people in times of trouble and have a greater feeling of self-reliance on the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory than the students who experienced bullying longer ago. Method Participants. 520 Japanese and American high school students were administered two surveys with a three-week increment between the first and second survey. The survey asked about demographics and to disclose impactful life events they experienced within the past three years (i.e. natural disaster, family issues, and romantic relationship problems). For the purpose of this study those who did not report being bullied were excluded (N= 468). The remaining 52 students who reported bullying consisted of 36 American varying in age from (M=15.00, SD=1) and 16 Japanese students ranging in age from (M=16.00, SD= 1.14). The study consisted of 13 males (25.00%) and 39 females (75.00%). Racial demographics included, four African Americans (7.70%), 26 White (50.00%), and three American Indian/Alaska Native (5.80%). One participant reported they were unsure (1.90%) and 16 participants selected two or more races (30.80%). Measurements. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1969) and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996) were two likert scales analyzed. The RSES was used to assess global self-esteem and had an internal reliability of α=.90. This scale consists of 10 items answered on a four point scale ranging from strongly agree

3 HIGH SCHOOL BULLYING 3 to strongly disagree, where item 3,5,8,9 are reversed coded. The scale ranges from 0-30; 30 is the highest score possible. The PTG consists of a 21-item likert scale assessing positive psychological growth of participants who experienced a traumatic event. This inventory is used to measure the five domains of posttraumatic growth including new possibilities, relating to others, personal strength, spiritual change and appreciation of life. The two items tested belonged to the relating to others and the personal strength domains and were scored through using a number scale. Students were asked various personal statements that fell into one of the five PTG domains. Students then scored each statement according to how it applied to them; the scale ranged from 0 Not at all to 5 Very great degree. Data Analysis. An independent sample t-test was ran to test the first hypothesis by inquiring into how the students reported when asked How long ago did the event happen? in regards to their overall scores on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. A one-way ANOVA was then ran to test the students who experienced bullying report on more clearly see that they can count on people in times of trouble and have a greater feeling of self-reliance. This study is also interested in assessing the impact of time on being bullied. For both hypothesis one and hypothesis two those who reported being bullied were split into two different groups for two different time periods. Time period one consisted of a cut-off period of 6 months creating group one of people who experienced bulling 6 months and group two of people who experienced bullying 7 months. The same process was done for time period two consisting of a cut-off period of 12 months. Results Inconclusive results were found among the sample when comparing duration to the students overall self-esteem (Figure 1), along with comparing duration to those who reported more clearly see that they can count on people in times of trouble (Figure 2) and have a greater feeling of self-reliance (Figure 3). When comparing the 52 students who reported bullying to the original studies population of 520 students found no variation among self-esteem of those who reported being bullied (M= 15.80, SD= 7.58) to entire population (M=15.64, SD=6.076). No significant difference was discovered among the 52 reported bullied students (M=2.73,SD=1.838) when asked if they more clearly see that I can count on people in times of trouble compared to the overall population (M=2.74,SD=1.63). A very slight increase among the 52 students who reported bullying (M=3.04,SD=1.81) when asked I have a greater feeling of self-reliance compared to the original population (M=2.21,SD=1.61). To test hypothesis one (H1) high school students who experienced bullying recently will report lower self-esteem on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale an independent-sample t-test was conducted over two different time periods: six months, and one year. Both time periods indicated inconclusive results, for six months, t (37) = -1.85, p=.07 followed by one year t (37) = -1.39, p=.17 This study found no difference between duration and self-esteem. A one-way ANOVA was conducted to test (H2) high school students who experienced bullying recently will report lower levels of being able to more clearly see that they can count on people in times of trouble and have a greater feeling of self-reliance on the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory than the students who experienced bullying longer ago. Inconclusive results were found for both six months after the bullying event and their likelihood to report having a greater feeling of self-reliance, F (1, 43) =.891, p=.35 and six month and their likelihood to report being able to more clearly see that they can count on people in times of trouble, F (1, 43) =.017, p=.89. The one year groups found no difference between duration and reporting having a greater feeling of self-reliance, F (1, 43) =.001, p=.98. One year after being bullied

4 HIGH SCHOOL BULLYING 4 and being able to more clearly see that they can count on people in times of trouble also reported inconclusive results, F (1, 43) =.79, p=.38. Discussion Even though inconclusive results were found among this sample of Japanese and American high school students, published literature suggests otherwise. In regards to self-esteem increasing over time, current literature supports this idea by suggesting that low levels of selfesteem are predominately associated with short-term effects of being bullied. However studies also indicate that low levels of self-esteem can be present among the long-term effects of being bullied. Sharp et al. (2000) suggests the type of bullying encountered may also have an effect on self-esteem and if the bullying persists, which is something that was not taken in account in this study. Contributing factors that could have caused inconclusive results. First, the sample size was relatively small with only 52 students reporting being bullied. Out of those 52 students who reported bullying we were only able to use 39 of them to test hypothesis one and inquire into understand the correlation between duration of bullying and self-esteem. Only 43 students were used out of the 52 to test the second hypothesis. Along with the sample size being relatively small, the original survey was not designed for testing solely bullying, and focused on more traumatic events such as death of someone close to you or family issues. This study also lacked critical information about the bullying such as details of the specific event, and if this was a recurring event or not. If specific details were collected about the actual bullying event(s) then researchers could classify the event reported as bullying or abuse using their given definition. Secondly, specific information assessing the type of bullying and not only how long since the last event, but how long they have been bullied continuously, could help researchers acknowledge what factors could lead to low self-esteem and even PTG. Future research is necessary to determine the impact of time on bullying. Literature suggests there is a negative correlation between the time in which someone experiences bullying and self-esteem levels. Hugh-Jones and Smith study (2007) reported 63% of their participants reported having short-term personal effects from being bullied. Literature also suggests that bullying is a traumatic event in which growth is possible. Even though literature suggests this outcome, there still needs to be research to understand the effects of time on being bullied and assess if growth is possible from bullying. Through analyzing published studies, a longitudinal study is necessary to examine bullying over time. Research also consistently lacks in sample sizes. In order to generalize results of time and bullying, a larger sample size is needed along with collecting information from participants who are not white males. Such an ideal sample may be hard to acquire, however by accomplishing to get the greatest diversity and largest sample size possible the results will then be more generalizable to the entire population. We must also take into account the possibility that time may not impact bullying, but however, the type of bullying may impact how long someone may be bullied. In depth questions concerning the event of being bullied need to be assessed. People who have been physically bullied experience different traumas along with duration than people who have been verbally bullied. Thus when furthering studies in bullying, there needs to be a clear definition of bullying along with possibly categorizing types of bullying that may occur to assess the different impacts of different types of bullying on ones self-esteem and personal growth. To further research a longitudinal study should be performed. Consent forms and survey should be administered among a middle school population, high school population and again

5 HIGH SCHOOL BULLYING 5 while participants are in adulthood. The survey should ask specific questions about impactful bullying events, as to when it happened, what type of bullying occurred, feelings prior and after the event, and also specific personality questions. The questions would hope to assess the impact of time on being bullied, self-esteem before and after being bullied, if PTG is possible among those who are bullied, if different types of bullying lead to higher or lower self-esteem and personal growth and maybe even look into relationships between personality types and ones likelihood to both be bullied and experience growth. There is an abundance of research that focuses on frequency of being bullied, and most participants are elementary students. However, research lacks focus on the mere definition of bullying, which states that it happens over a period of time. Previous research that seeks to explore duration shows there can be a negative correlation between people who experience bullying and self-esteem. Yet, research also suggests the type of bullying that occurs can influence time and in return influence self-esteem. Besides looking into duration of bullying over different populations, there is a need to be more research among those who are bullied in high school. There is a gap in literature among those who are bullied, showing copious amounts of literature among elementary school students and even among middle school students. Literature looking into bullying in high school is scarce, but research among work place bullying is also common. Research does not suggest a hiatus in bullying when students enter high school but rather a change in the type of bullying that occurs, which may suggest that bullying still occurs among the population but is harder to recognize due to a lack in understanding bullying among a high school population. Future research should inquire into why there is a change and continue research among the effects of duration on self-esteem and personal growth. Even though the study among Japanese and American high school students showed inconclusive results when comparing duration of bullying to self-esteem and possible growth, published literature suggests significant results. More research needs to be done among those who experience bulling. Once more research is conducted among people who experience bulling and the duration of being bullied, counselors, teachers, family member and other professionals can take proper steps to help those experiencing a traumatic event, such a bullying.

6 HIGH SCHOOL BULLYING 6 Appendix Figure 1.The effect of time on self-esteem among individuals who were bullied. Self-esteem is ranked by what was reported on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1969), while the x-axis is categorized by when they experienced bullying with 6 month intervals (Group one, 6 months, group two, 7-12 months etc.) Figure 2. The effect of time on students who were bullied and reporting I have a greater feeling of self-relienace. The y-axis is measured by what the students reported on a scale from 0-4 on if they have a greater feeling of self-relienace since the event of being bullied. The x-axis is categorized by when they experienced bullying with 6 month intervals (Group one, 6 months, group two, 7-12 months etc.) Figure 3. The effect of time on students who were bullied and reported I can more clearly see that I can count on people in times of trouble. The y-axis is measured by what the students reported on a scale from 0-4 on if they can more clearly see that I can count on people in times of trouble since the event of being bullied. The x-axis is categorized by when they experienced bullying with 6 month intervals (Group one, 6 months, group two, 7-12 months etc.)

7 HIGH SCHOOL BULLYING 7 References Arseneault, L., Bowes, L., & Shakoor, S. (2009). Bullying victimization in youths and mental health problems: Much ado about nothing? Psychological Medicine, 40, doi: /s Carlisle, N., & Rofes, E. (2007). School Bullying: Do adult survivors perceive long-term effects? Traumatology, 13, doi: / Hugh-Jones, S., & Smith, P. (1999). Self-reports of short- and long-term effects of bullying on children who stammer. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 69, doi: / Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Sharp, S., Thompson, D., & Arora, T. (2000). How long before it hurts? An investigation into long-term bullying. School Psychology International, 21(1), doi: / Sourander, A., Helstelä, L., Helenius, H., & Piha, J. (2000). Persistence of bullying from childhood to adolescence a longitudinal 8-year follow-up study. Child Abuse & Neglect 7, doi: /s (00) Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L.G. (1996). The posttraumatic growth inventory: Measuring the positive legacy of trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, doi: /bf

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