Date of Award
Thesis and Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of Psychology: School Psychology
Eric D. Wesselmann
The purpose of this study was purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of the dynamics of hurtful teasing in middle-school-aged boys and how it relates to child victimization. Specifically, this study: (1) examined how victim responses to hurtful teasing influenced participants' perceptions of, and behaviors towards the victims of a hurtful teasing episode; and (2) assessed the moderating effects of participants' individual differences in socio-cognitive functioning on the influence of victim response to hurtful teasing. Participants included 169 middle school boys enrolled in 5th through 8th grade. Participants completed self-report measures to assess individual differences in socio-cognitive functioning, after which participants viewed one of three videos depicting a boy's response to hurtful teasing. Victim response was manipulated in three ways: a verbally hostile response, a humorous response, and an ignore response. Following the teasing video, participants' perceptions of the teasing episode were assessed via self-report measures and participant' behavioral reactions were measured by resource allocation activity to determine the amount of help they would provide the victim. This is the first known study to behaviorally measures participants' reactions to hurtful teasing. Results indicated significant main effects of victim response, main effects of individual differences in socio-cognitive functioning, and interactions between victim response and individual difference variables that influenced participants' perceptions of the victim and willingness to allocate resources to the victim of hurtful teasing. Implications of this study inform relevant directions for future research regarding the study of hurtful teasing and peer victimization. Practical implications include suggestions for improving targets of individual and school wide interventions in the movement to reduce the prevalence of hurtful teasing and increase the likelihood that peer support will occur.
Mockus, Edward, "Victim Response to Hurtful Teasing Episodes: Perceptual and Behavioral Responses of Middle School Boys" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 264.