Attachment Histories of Reception Class Children and Roles in Bullying Situations

Potter, Amanda (2006) Attachment Histories of Reception Class Children and Roles in Bullying Situations. Doctoral thesis, University of Cenral Lancashire.

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Bullying research has provided a wealth of information and a depth of understanding that has led to the development of intervention strategies in schools. However, despite this extensive research, bullying continues to be a significant problem. It has been suggested that working with children or with schools may not be enough to solve the problem and that it may be necessary to include parents as part of the solution, especially if the antecedents originate and are consistently reinforced at home. Research that has considered factors relating to family functioning and the relationship between the caregivers and their children provide support for this argument, but research in this area is scarce. The main aim of the present research was to investigate family backgrounds, parenting styles and the personal characteristics of parents and children involved in bullying situations in order to identify effective routes for intervention. More specifically, it focused children's attachment styles and the roles they adopted in bullying situations at school. A longitudinal design with mixed methods was adopted involving 28 pre-school children and theft caregivers. The children were 'new starters' at one of three schools and at the start of the investigation they were aged 4 years - 4 years and 11 months and their primary caregiver's ages ranged between 29 and 53 years. Primary caregivers participated in interviews and exercises about themselves and theft families and observations of the children occurred in different settings at school during their first year. It was predicted that a link between the childrens' attachment type and the roles they adopted in bullying situations would be found. However, no evidence was found to suggest a link between childrens' attachment style and bullying. Despite this, interesting trends were found. These are considered and the difficulties and limitations of the investigation are discussed.

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