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Bullying and victimization among adolescent girl athletes

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The goal of the present study was to examine the prevalence of bullying and victimization in adolescent girl athletes. The participants in this study were 69 girls of ages 12-15 who were members of off-school competitive athletic clubs. Participants completed a series of written questionnaires detailing their athletic participation, aspects of their sport and school, and their participation as a bully or victim within their sport and school. Prevalence rates of bullying and victimization at school were two to three times higher for the female athletes when compared to average prevalence rates of a separate national study of female bullying. Bullying and victimization were more prevalent at school than at sports. We suggest that "girl culture", learned aggression, and/or withdrawal from school may cause the high prevalence rates observed among the adolescent girl athletes in this study.
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... By contrast, Mishna et al. (2019) reported in a study of Canadian athletes corresponding rates of 48%, 31%, and 62% for traditional bullying, and 7%, 9%, and 15% for cyberbullying. Studies that have analyzed the same sample at school and in organized sports outside of school have reported a higher prevalence of bullying at school (Evans et al., 2016;Volk & Lagzdins, 2009). Studies have also found that some students are targeted in both places, known as double victimization (Collot & Dudink, 2010;Vveinhardt & Fominiene, 2019). ...
... The lack of a standardized, validated instrument makes it difficult to compare different aspects of bullying in sports across countries. Bullying was less common in sports than at school in our series, which is in line with previous findings (Collot & Dudink, 2010;Evans et al., 2016;Nery et al., 2019;Volk & Lagzdins, 2009). At school, children are more exposed to potential bullying situations due to the amount of time they spend there and the higher number of interactions they have with other children or adolescents (Nery et al., 2021). ...
... Drawing on Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems model (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and its subsequent adaptation to bullying in sports by Nery et al. (2020), we propose a series of general actions and specific guidelines for analyzing, preventing, and addressing bullying in sports at the micro-, meso-exo-, and macro-levels. It is essential to create a climate of trust to break the code of silence that often exists within teams and to foster proper communication between players and their coaches (Evans et al., 2016;Volk & Lagzdins, 2009). This can be done by designing programs that instill ethical and moral values in athletes (Gendron & Frenette, 2016) and equip coaches with the skills needed to detect and address bullying situations (Collot & Dudink, 2010;Mishna et al., 2019). ...
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Bullying is a social problem that has been studied most in schools but affects other social contexts. However, there is a general lack of studies on bullying in sports. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of bullying among youth soccer players. Participants were 1,980 soccer players (88.2% boys) aged 8 to 13 years (Mage = 10.5, SD = 1.68) from 25 clubs in Catalonia, Spain. An ad hoc questionnaire was administered to analyze the prevalence and characteristics of bullying from the perspective of victims, bullies, and bystanders. The overall bullying victimization rate was 8.9%, with higher rates observed in the younger categories (p < .001); 5.2% of victims experienced bullying in both their soccer club and at school. The bullying and bystander rates were 14.8% and 34.7%, respectively, with significant differences between boys and girls (15.5% of boys and 9% of girls were bullies [p < .05], while 36.4% of boys and 21.9% of girls were bystanders [p < .001]). Verbal bullying was the main type of bullying reported. The locker room and pitch were the most common locations, and victims were more likely to deal with bullying on their own than to ask for help. Bullying is present in grassroots soccer, and anti-bullying programs are needed to instill ethical and moral values in athletes and equip coaches with the necessary skills to prevent, detect, and address bullying situations.
... With large sample sizes, we are also able to test for heterogeneous effects by gender, which the literature suggests may be significant (Gorry, 2016;Humphreys et al., 2014;Popp and Peguero, 2011;Volk and Lagzdins, 2009;Vveinhardt and Fominiene, 2020). Despite that sports lead to increased risk of bullying victimization for both male and female students, the results are stronger for male students in interscholastic and intramural sports, particularly those that are "contact sports" (e.g., baseball, basketball, soccer). ...
... However, there is less evidence about heterogeneity in bullying by gender, specifically with respect to physical activities. 6 For girls, bullying victimization is more frequent within a general school setting compared to a sports-specific context (Volk and Lagzdins, 2009), while for boys, physical bullying is more frequent when participating in sports (Vveinhardt and Fominiene, 2020). Popp and Peguero (2011) find that girls are less likely to incur violent victimization than boys, but that for both, victimization rates differ by the type of activities the student is involved in. ...
... From these summary statistics, we find suggestive evidence that bullying rates differ between students who 13 Sample sizes in the ELS:2002 sample are rounded to the nearest 10 for confidentiality. engage in different physical activities (relative to those who do not), and also suggestive evidence that bullying rates differ by gender, which is consistent with the literature (Volk and Lagzdins, 2009;Vveinhardt and Fominiene, 2020). ...
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Using three nationally representative high school samples, we estimate the effect of physical activity in general, and sports specifically, on in-school student victimization (i.e., bullying), overall and by gender. Due to non-random selection, we instrument physical activity in a two-stage model using state-level sports participation rates and physical education requirements. We find that physical exercise may decrease, if not prevent, victimization, though competitive sports increase the likelihood of bullying for those on the margin, especially for male students. These results are relevant for administrators and policymakers, who can increase access to physical activities while simultaneously increasing oversight on and off-the-field.
... Longitudinal research on this topic would help to determine whether competitive motives of aggression increase as youth enter adolescence, consistent with adolescents' increasing involvement in bullying (see Volk et al., 2012) and emerging interest in, and competition over, status and dating (Ellis et al., 2012). Although this study differentiated between bullying and adversarial aggression by explicitly referring to power differences within the aggressorvictim dyad, consistent with previous behavioral approaches to measuring bullying and aggression with various power balances (Book et al., 2012;Felix et al., 2011;Thomas et al., 2015;Volk & Lagzdins, 2009;Ybarra et al., 2014), and with distinctions between bullying and non-bullying aggression made in definitional approaches to studying bullying (e.g., Solberg & Olweus, 2003), a methodological limitation lies in the inability to consider all sources of power that can contribute to power balance. Due to practical limitations in the length of behavior-based questions, we could not reference all possible sources of power, and therefore, physical strength and popularity were selected as exemplary sources of power because they have been consistently associated with bullying involvement (see Volk et al., 2014) and often referenced in measures of bullying (Book et al., 2012;Dane et al., 2017;Volk & Lagzdins, 2009;Volk et al., 2015). ...
... Although this study differentiated between bullying and adversarial aggression by explicitly referring to power differences within the aggressorvictim dyad, consistent with previous behavioral approaches to measuring bullying and aggression with various power balances (Book et al., 2012;Felix et al., 2011;Thomas et al., 2015;Volk & Lagzdins, 2009;Ybarra et al., 2014), and with distinctions between bullying and non-bullying aggression made in definitional approaches to studying bullying (e.g., Solberg & Olweus, 2003), a methodological limitation lies in the inability to consider all sources of power that can contribute to power balance. Due to practical limitations in the length of behavior-based questions, we could not reference all possible sources of power, and therefore, physical strength and popularity were selected as exemplary sources of power because they have been consistently associated with bullying involvement (see Volk et al., 2014) and often referenced in measures of bullying (Book et al., 2012;Dane et al., 2017;Volk & Lagzdins, 2009;Volk et al., 2015). However, to assess power balance more broadly, future research may benefit from also asking respondents to consider other sources of power within the aggressor-victim dyad, including social-cognitive power (Volk et al., 2014), or strength in numbers (Thomas et al., 2015). ...
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This study examined how cyber and traditional aggression and victimization were differentially related to adolescent reports of using aggression to pursue evolutionarily relevant functions. To consider variations in the power balance between perpetrators and victims, the study examined bullying, in which the power of the perpetrator exceeded that of the victim, and adversarial aggression, in which the perpetrator had equal or less power than the victim. Participants included 379 adolescents, ages 11–14 (M = 12.86; SD = .84). As expected, cyberbullying and traditional bullying were consistently associated with proactive functions, including dominance, aggression deterrence and intrasexual competition (competitive), seeking status and mates (impression management), and enjoyment (sadistic), in line with the goal-directed nature of bullying. In contrast, cyber and traditional forms of adversarial aggression and victimization were associated with competitive and reactive functions (for boys only in cyber form), consistent with expectations that adversarial aggression would occur in the context of intrasexual competition. Relations with functions differed by gender only for cyber aggression. Cyberbullying was more strongly linked to competitive functions for girls, whereas adversarial cyber aggression related to competitive functions only for boys, and linked more strongly with reactive functions for girls, suggesting that girls may be more risk averse in their use of cyber aggression. In addition, traditional bullying was associated with both proactive and reactive motives, whereas cyberbullying was related only to proactive functions. The implications of differentiating the evolutionarily relevant aggressive functions associated with adolescents’ experiences of bullying and adversarial aggression are discussed.
... Recently, a number of sports-related scientific works which have independently explored women or men athletes has grown, at the expense of work considering both genders. For instance, several scholars explored only men sport participants (Nery et al., 2019;Vveinhardt et al., 2017), whereas others focused solely on a particular group of women competitors in their studies (Volk & Lagzdins, 2009;Jewett et al., 2019). Only few authors have aimed to investigate both genders (Evans et al., 2016;Vveinhardt & Fominiene, 2018;Vveinhardt & Fominiene, 2020). ...
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This study explores the influence of individual and relational predictors on bullying perpetration/victimization among semi-professional team sport players in North Cyprus. Three variables reflect on an individual's level characteristics (e.g., gender, age, and nationality), and another one, representing the relational level factor (e.g., negative coaching behavior). The current paper obtained data from athletes through convenient sampling technique and online survey utilization. A total of 190 sports players with an average age of 24.77 (SD = 4.52) participated. All participants were club athletes from 16 diverse nations, competing in four different sports disciplines: football, volleyball, handball, and basketball. Hierarchical regression analysis was implemented to evaluate the above underlying linkages. It was found that age, nationality, and the coach's negative personal rapport significantly predicted bullying victimization dynamics among athletes. Bullying perpetration was only predicted by negative personal rapport with the coach but not by any of the individual level predictors. The moderation analysis showed that negative personal rapport with the coach significantly predicted the level of bullying victimization, the age and the nationality of the athlete moderated the relationship between the negative personal rapport and bullying victimization. In other words, the negative personal rapport had a higher effect on bullying victimization for the younger athletes and for international ones. Such findings have the potential to shape the base for further ongoing works, which could underline the critical demand for more emphasis and analysis of nationality, gender, age, and coach's negative rapport on bullying perpetration or victimization. The significance of the study's findings, its limits, and potential paths for further interpersonal violence research are addressed.
... Bascón-Seda and Ramírez-Macías (2020) observed that victims of bullying in physical education did not enter the toilets and changing rooms precisely to avoid these situations. The athletes themselves defined this space as a place where they spent time with their equals, where there was no presence nor supervision by the coach, which explains the perception of danger due to the development of bullying episodes in this space (Volk and Lagzdins, 2009;Kerr et al., 2016;Nery et al., 2019). For this reason, it is necessary to develop a control plan for the situations that may arise in the changing room, either directly by adults, or indirectly, by the collaboration and participation of any member of the team that the coach trusts, such as the captain (Nery et al., 2020). ...
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Bullying is a global issue that, beyond school, is present in different social contexts, such as sport environments. The main objective of this study was to get to know the experiences of victims of bullying in sport throughout their youth sport training. Semi-structured interviews to four Spanish women and seven Spanish men were carried out, within an age range of 17-27 (M age = 21 years, SD = 3.69). The following main themes were established by means of a hierarchical content analysis: (a) "bullying characterization," (b) "dealing with bullying," and (c) "consequences of bullying." The results show the presence of physical, verbal and social bullying in the sport context, with the changing room being the space where this type of behavior is most frequently developed. Most victims show an internal attribution (self-blame) for the bullying event, related to their motor skills and their personal physical and psychological characteristics. Double victimization can be observed, at the sport club and at the educational center. Passive strategies are used to deal with the situation, while little support is shown by sport agents (teammates and coaches). The victims, as a consequence of the bullying experience, suffer from short and long-term negative effects on a psychosocial level. The study highlights the necessity to design and implement programs focused on the prevention, detection and intervention of bullying for sport organizations, bearing in mind all the agents that make them up (coaches, management teams, families, and players). Furthermore, the importance of promoting the creation of safe sport environments, free from any kind of violence, is emphasized.
... It was verified that the frequency of victimization according to sports (team, individual, and combat) is occasional in 91.4% of the cases and verbal in 84.2%, similar to the results of Volk and Lagzdins (2009), a study that involved 69 adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years. Regarding emotions, it was possible to verify that victimization transmits negative feelings to athletes (81%) and also observed by Kentel and McHugh (2015). ...
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This study aims at describing and comparing the prevalence of bullying behaviours and the perspective of victims, bystanders, and aggressors in team, individual, and combat sports. The survey involved 664 athletes of both genders (13-18 years old) from sports school and federated of several sports (team n= 451, individual n= 173, combat n= 40), who filled in the Prevention of Violence in Sport Questionnaire. The prevalence of bullying (victims, bullies, and bystanders) was 26.7% in team sports; 19.1% in individual sports, and 23.1% in combat. Through the Chi-square test, it was verified that there were no significant differences between different sports in what concerns the prevalence of bullying behaviours; neither was there a difference in the perspective of victims, bystanders, and aggressors. The percentage was bigger in victims (7.7%) and bystanders (17.4%) in combat sports, and aggressors (3.3%) in team sports. There are not aggressors in combat sports. Further studies are needed in order to achieve a deeper knowledge of the problem and plan strategies to prevent this sort of behaviour.
... Results also show that strong mentorship inhibits or helps female athletes navigate, problematic gendered behaviors such as relational aggression or bullying (Bell and Wilfert 2014;Dellasega and Adamshick 2005). Sports could become a "safe haven" for athletes with the mentoring of their coaches (Volk and Lagzdins 2009). Female athletes who navigated the traditional male-centric realm of sport, displayed Du Bois's concept of "double consciousness" (1903). ...
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Mentors for adolescents are widely believed to improve life chances and reduce problem behavior. Using 42 retrospective qualitative interviews with undergraduate former high school athletes and social learning theory as a framework, we investigate what it means to adolescents to matter to their school‐based natural mentors. Findings indicate that natural mentors represent a fundamental social connection that helped participants feel like they mattered. We identify three structural domains of social identity in which mattering operates: relationship, gender, and athletic. Natural mentoring led to connecting with non‐kin, feeling important, and creating accountability to significant others. Mentorship and mattering were deeply gendered; in reinforcing attributes of athletic success and physical or mental growth, mentor relationships both contributed to and helped subvert the structure of traditional gender roles and provide insight into the ways men and women navigate the contested and gendered space of sport. Finally, these mentoring relationships demonstrated the intersectional nature of sport and its physicality by linking the body and soul. Mattering is the mechanism for social learning that facilitates these crucial relationships. The implications of these findings are discussed, along with suggestions for future research.
... Bullying. In both Studies 1 and 2, participants completed five items assessing bullying perpetration in a variety of behaviors, including physical, verbal, and relational bullying (Volk & Lagzdins, 2009). Participants rated items on a five-point scale (1 = that hasn't happened, and 5 = several times a week). ...
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Recent strides in research have led to the identification of personality correlates of antisocial behavior in adults (Book et al., 2016; Dinić & Wertag, 2018). Still, there remain significant gaps, particularly regarding adolescent personality, which likely serve as precursors to adult antisociality. One area of debate is the utility of broad measures of personality versus more narrowly focused measures. The former is more generalizable, whereas the latter may offer specific predictions. We examined relationships between a general measure of personality and two specific measures of psychopathic traits along with a range of antisocial outcomes among two community-samples of adolescents. Canonical correlation analyses revealed that broad personality traits (HEXACO) share quite a large degree of overlap with psychopathic traits (ICU, APSD-YV; Study 1 = 60%; Study 2 = 55%). This common variance was associated with adolescent classroom incivility, aggression, and bullying in both samples. However, after accounting for general personality using the HEXACO, specific psychopathy measures predicted additional variance in the antisocial outcomes. Results suggest that the congruence among one's research objectives, the diversity or type of sample, and the measures' capabilities best inform measures selected to assess adolescent antisociality. Findings lend support to the idea that general measures of antisociality can be used to reliably assess a spectrum of antisocial behavior in community samples of adolescents.
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The designation of an act as aggressive involves an implicit or explicit moral judgment. Consequently, research on aggression must address the value issues involved. The present article suggests that Haan’s theory of interactional morality can be used to provide a framework for social scientific research into moral issues. Haan’s model, however, must be adapted to the unique context of sport. This study applies the concept of frame analysis as a procedure for clarifying the moral reasoning associated with athletic aggression. In contrast to similar acts in everyday life, moral ambiguity characterizes some sport acts intended to deliver minor noxious stimuli. The label of aggression must be used with caution when designating such acts.
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