Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Bullying in schools, Bullying in schools-Prevention, Cyberbullying, Middle school students-Psychology, Urban schools, Student counselors, School social work, Counselors, Middle school, School counseling


This qualitative study examined middle school counselors' perspectives of bullying behavior as it occurred in their respective school environments. This exploratory study was conducted with 12 respondents who are current middle school counselors with at least three years of experience working in their school settings. Respondents were recruited from a variety of middle school settings including public, private, and charter school environments in the New York City area using a snowball sampling method. Participation in the study included answering a demographic questionnaire and engaging in a face-to-face taped interview that included questions about definitions of bullying, school setting, bullying incidents, characteristics of students labeled as bullies and victims, and counselors' experience and training. The study's findings demonstrated that bullying behavior not only presents itself differently in different school environments, but that there were great variations in the ways counselors described how their schools responded to bullying behavior. Significantly, respondents discussed the changing nature of bullying behavior due to technological advances, that allow for youth to interact in ways that were not available to them in previous generations. Implications suggest that there is a need for further research that continues to focus on the perspective of middle school counselors and the multiple environmental contexts in which bullying occurs. Implications for social work practice include acknowledging the instrumental role that social workers can play in creating and implementing effective anti-bullying interventions in schools by planning and coordinating the involvement of representatives from multiple environmental contexts. Key representatives include parents/guardians, teachers, school administrators, community leaders, and policy makers.




iv, 107 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 97-102)