Bullying in the Same-Sex Friendships of Young Adolescent Girls: A Qualitative Study
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This qualitative, narrative study explored the bullying experiences of young adolescent girls within their same-sex dyadic and group friendships. The participants were 5 female students, ages 11 and 12 years old, from 1 private, religious school in southern Ontario. Each girl participated in an audiotaped, 30-minute, personal interview based on an unstructured interview protocol. Interview transcripts were analyzed for bullying behaviors using Marini and Dane's (2008) subtypes of bullying, including the form, function, and involvement in bullying. Interview transcripts were also analyzed for common and emerging themes using aspects of L. M., Brown and Gilligan's (1992) "Listener's Guide." The findings of this study suggested that within their same-sex friendships girls assume the roles of all participants in bullying, including bullies, victims, bystanders, and bully-victims. The findings also suggested that bullying behaviors within young adolescent girls' same-sex friendships are mainly indirect in their mode of attack and that they are both proactive and reactive. The bully behaviors identified in this study were used to inform the major themes or salient features within the dynamics of girls' same-sex friendships also identified. These themes included acceptance, intimacy, negotiation, inclusion/exclusion, moral character judgements, and power. The findings of this study will be used to inform current theory, personal and professional practice, as well as future research.