Publication Date

2017-07-29

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2019-07-29

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense

2017-05-02

First Committee Member

Diane M. Millette

Second Committee Member

Michael J. Beatty

Third Committee Member

Anthony T. Allegro

Fourth Committee Member

Michelle I. Seelig

Abstract

Bullying is recognized as a destructive phenomenon by most people who encounter this type of behavior. Bullying attracts public attention because of its negative impact on the victims in various settings. Although bullying is widely associated with interpersonal and social issues among children, this problem also occurs in universities and the workplace. Victims of different ages, whether they are schoolchildren, college students, or professionals experience mental and physiological problems, including stress, depression, and anxiety. In some extreme cases, the targets of bullying commit suicide, or vent their stress and frustration through public violence. Therefore, it was important to gain a greater understanding of how different strategies used by bullies impacted victims. Previous research addressed the negative impact of bullying on physiological health of victims. However, little attention has been focused on the impact of bullying on the physical health of victims. In addition, few studies discussed the communication aspect of this problem such as verbal aggressiveness. The purpose of this study was to examine whether bullying had a negative impact on the physical health of college students, and how verbal aggressiveness related to the bullying process. Participants of this study included 419 undergraduate students at a southeastern university in the United States. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was conducted in order to evaluate how types of traditional bullying, cyberbullying, and verbal aggressiveness associated with physical health issues (i.e., sleep disturbance, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and respiratory infections). The results of this study indicated that traditional bullying in the form of verbal and social victimization, cyberbullying in form of visual victimization, and verbal aggressiveness correlated with the examined physical health issues of victims. Implications of this study are discussed, along with limitations and direction for future research.

Keywords

Bullying; traditional bullying; cyberbullying; verbal aggressiveness; physical health

Available for download on Monday, July 29, 2019

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