Retrospective accounts of having been bullied in school: A narrative analysis

Date of Completion

January 2008


Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies




In this study, I used narrative inquiry to examine retrospective accounts of adults who had been bullied in school. The results presented the ways in which participants storied these past events and the content of participants' bullying experiences strongly mirrored the research literature. Participants storied the social support that they did or did not receive from parents, teachers, peers, and friends. Their stories of social support highlighted the complexity of the ways that social environments impact bullying experiences. The results showed that participants believe that their bullying experiences had myriad short- and long-term negative effects. In addition, participants storied these experiences as having some positive effects, which has been undocumented in the bullying literature. Participants detailed numerous interpersonal and intrapersonal coping skills that they used to survive their bullying experiences. I detailed issues raised by this study such as limitations of the current typologies of bullying, the need for defining what is considered short- and long-term in relation to bullying experiences and impact, and the importance of examining multiple victimizations. I concluded the dissertation with a discussion of the limitations of this research, directions for future research, implications for marriage and family therapists, prevention, and intervention, and the study's impact on the researcher and participants. ^