Date of Degree

9-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Educational Psychology

Advisor

Georgiana Shick Tryon

Committee Members

Marian C Fish

David Rindskopf

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology | Multicultural Psychology | School Psychology

Keywords

LGBTQ, Bullying, Victimization, Depression, Social Support, College-Age

Abstract

This study examined the prevalence and impact (or intensity) of four different bullying-victimization forms (physical, verbal, relational, cyber) as experienced by the LGBTQ college-age population. In addition, this study also investigated LGBTQ college students’ bully victimization experiences and their links to depressive symptomatology. The relationship between self-rated victimization and its impact and depression was also explored. Furthermore, given the potential for protective factors of various types to mitigate the negative impact of bullying, this study investigated social supports from family, friends, and campus to determine the strength of their moderating effects, individually and in combination, for each of the sexual minority subgroups (L-G-B-T-Q).

The overall sample comprised 410 LGBTQ college-age participants. All members of each of the five sexual minority subgroups reported experiencing all forms of victimization (physical, verbal, relational, cyber), but at different rates. More specifically, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender participants each reported experiencing verbal victimization significantly more frequently than each of the other forms of victimization (i.e., physical, relational, and cyber). These participants also experienced significantly less physical victimization than either relational or cyber forms. For the questioning subgroup however, they reported experiencing similar amounts of verbal, cyber, and relational victimization.

For the total sample, all four forms of bully-victimization (physical, verbal, relational, cyber) were significantly and positively correlated with depressive symptoms. When the relationship between self-reported victimization and depressive symptoms was investigated based on participants’ sexual minority subgroup, significant correlations were found between victimization and depressive symptoms for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender subgroups but not for the questioning subgroup.

For the total sample, all four impact of bullying types (physical impact, verbal impact, relational impact, cyber impact) and their relationship to depressive symptoms were investigated.

Participants’ ratings of verbal and relational impact of victimization significantly correlated with their endorsement of depression symptoms. Furthermore, significant correlations emerged between total impact of victimization and depressive symptoms for lesbian, gay, and transgender subgroups but not for the bisexual and questioning subgroups.

Lastly, regression analyses indicated that family and friend supports did not moderate the relationship between total bully victimization and depressive symptoms for each of the five sexual minority groups (L, G, B, T, Q). Campus support, however, did moderate the relationship between bully victimization and depressive symptoms for the lesbian subgroup. When all sources of support (family, friend, campus) were combined, total social support did not moderate the relationship between bully victimization and depressive symptoms for any of the sexual minority subgroups.

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