Title

Middle School Victimization, Social Support, and Feelings of Acceptance: A Phenomenological Analysis of Missoula Respect Club Members

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

School-based victimization has been linked to poorer health outcomes for youth (Bontempo & D’Augelli, 2002; Saewyc et al., 2006). Current research has documented the positive impacts of high school clubs that focus on inclusion and school safety, such as high school gay-straight-alliances, but very little research has been done on similar clubs for middle school – aged children (Heck, Flentje, & Cochran, 2011). This study analyzes the experiences of middle school members of Respect Club in Missoula, Montana, a school program which focuses on violence prevention, prejudice reduction, and leadership development. Members were interviewed about their experiences with Respect Club and their impressions of their school environments. Their responses were coded using phenomenological methodology and commonalities were recorded. The coding process involved a thorough examination of the interview data and determination of the general themes present in the participants' accounts of their experiences. The results of this study highlight the participants' perceptions of victimization or bullying within their schools, the social support they experience as members of Respect Club, and their general feelings of acceptance while participating in Respect Club. The positive outcomes indicated by Respect Club members and the potential for school groups to reduce the negative impact of victimization on student health calls for further investigation into the influence inclusion-focused and violence preventing clubs can have on middle school-aged students.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 17th, 3:00 PM Apr 17th, 4:00 PM

Middle School Victimization, Social Support, and Feelings of Acceptance: A Phenomenological Analysis of Missoula Respect Club Members

South UC Ballroom

School-based victimization has been linked to poorer health outcomes for youth (Bontempo & D’Augelli, 2002; Saewyc et al., 2006). Current research has documented the positive impacts of high school clubs that focus on inclusion and school safety, such as high school gay-straight-alliances, but very little research has been done on similar clubs for middle school – aged children (Heck, Flentje, & Cochran, 2011). This study analyzes the experiences of middle school members of Respect Club in Missoula, Montana, a school program which focuses on violence prevention, prejudice reduction, and leadership development. Members were interviewed about their experiences with Respect Club and their impressions of their school environments. Their responses were coded using phenomenological methodology and commonalities were recorded. The coding process involved a thorough examination of the interview data and determination of the general themes present in the participants' accounts of their experiences. The results of this study highlight the participants' perceptions of victimization or bullying within their schools, the social support they experience as members of Respect Club, and their general feelings of acceptance while participating in Respect Club. The positive outcomes indicated by Respect Club members and the potential for school groups to reduce the negative impact of victimization on student health calls for further investigation into the influence inclusion-focused and violence preventing clubs can have on middle school-aged students.