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A creative arts approach to learning with youth about bullying

Rak, Kimberly (2012) A creative arts approach to learning with youth about bullying. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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Bullying is a common experience for youth in the United States with 70-75% of youth reporting any experience of bullying. There are negative psychological, social, and health outcomes for all involved in bullying (victims, bullies, and victim-bullies) with implications that may last into adulthood. This research explored how youth who attended an after-school program in Pittsburgh, PA, artistically depicted their experiences and perceptions of bullying. Findings include descriptions of bullying, when and where bullying occurs, and strategies for addressing and preventing bullying. Contradictions embedded in youths’ constructions of bullying highlight the difficulties of current efforts to prevent bullying and suggest ways to productively reorient interventions and policies. Girls and boys described gender-specific differences in experiences with bullying, social influences, and intervention opportunities. Ten youth participated in six arts-based sessions that took place over the course of two months. Two small discussion groups, with a sub sample of the original participants, were held three months following the conclusion of the art sessions. The arts-based sessions involved the youth participants painting, writing, and drawing about different dimensions of bulling such as where bullying takes place and ideas for addressing bullying. At the end of each session the youth collectively shared their art and discussed the messages and meanings depicted. The textual and material data were analyzed for thematic codes. Bullying is fundamentally about social relations and power, through the marking of “insider” and “outsider” social status is generated and maintained. However, power and social relations are shifting and hence framing bullying as static and bounded produces inconsistencies in youths’ articulations of bullying. Foregrounding the social and power dynamics of bullying would translate into policies and interventions that foster a culture of cooperation, inclusiveness, respect for diversity, and diffusing authoritarianism and competitiveness. The public health significance includes the value of incorporating youth perspectives in research and interventions, use of an innovative participatory approach that is developmentally appropriate for working with youths, a youth centered understanding of bullying and the effectiveness of current prevention efforts, and suggestions for future research and practice related to bullying.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master's Thesis)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rak, Kimberly
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRYUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberYonas, Michaelmay24@pitt.eduMAY24UNSPECIFIED
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Asian Studies Center
Date: 10 April 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: April 2013
Submission Date: 3 April 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: CBPR, Youth, Visual, Voices, Bullying
Date Deposited: 06 May 2015 14:48
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2023 10:56


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