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Audrey Zakriski

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This research study examined the impact of bullying and victimization on treatment response within short-term residential treatment by analyzing data collected from both students and staff members at a therapeutic summer program. Participants were 255 children attending the Wediko Children’s Services therapeutic summer program during the summers of 2006 and 2007. The age of the participants ranged from 7-20 years old, with the mean age of 12.96. There were 177 male participants and 78 female participants. Each participant completed the Wediko Peer-Self Survey at two points during the summer, which assessed overt and relational bullying and victimization, as well as prosocial behaviors and experiences. Staff members completed the Teacher Report Form behavior checklist at three time points and provided hourly behavioral observations of participants’ aggression and prosocial behavior throughout the summer. Participants’ bullying, victimization, and prosocial experiences and behaviors were compared over time and across gender and age. Behavioral correlates of bullying, victimization, and prosocial behaviors were also examined. Finally, children’s end of summer behavior was predicted from victimization, bullying, and prosocial behaviors and experiences with peers while controlling for early summer behavior. Results showed that although bullying and victimization were not infrequent, prosocial experiences and behavior were more common, with age and gender explaining individual differences in these behaviors. When predicting treatment outcomes, being relationally victimized, as well as engaging in overt and relational bullying, predicted higher end of summer aggression than did prosocial experiences and behaviors. Prosocial experiences and behaviors predicted lower end of summer aggression and higher end of summer prosocial behaviors than did being relationally victimized or engaging in overt and relational bullying. Future research could examine how to reduce victimization and enhance prosocial peer relations in short-term residential treatment.



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