A new scholarly article co-authored by Professor of Sociology Wesley Perkins, Professor of Chemistry David Craig and Harvard University Health Policy doctoral student Jessica Perkins has been published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of School Health.
The article, “No Safe Haven: Locations of Harassment and Bullying Victimization in Middle Schools,” explores the various middle school settings in which a variety of bullying behaviors take place. The research was based on data they collected from more than 10,000 students attending 20 middle schools in New Jersey and New York.
For their study, seven types of bullying-related victimization (i.e. teased in an unfriendly way, called hurtful names, physically abused, excluded from a group to hurt feelings, belongings taken/damaged, threatened to be hurt, and negative rumors spread) were examined in seven different locations where each type of victimization could occur (i.e. classroom, lunchroom, hallways, gym, playground, bus, or bathroom).
The study showed that almost two thirds of students, or 66 percent, had in the last month been the victim of multiple incidents of victimization commonly associated with bullying. In addition, the study revealed that during the current year, 25 percent had skipped recess, had not gone to the bathroom or lunch, had pretended to be sick and went home, or had avoided a class, hallway, or some other place at school to avoid a bully.
The findings indicate that all types of bullying and harassment occur in all settings for both girls and boys and that the prevalence of overall victimization was equal or greater in classrooms compared with other school locations, regardless of school demographic characteristics. Victimization in classrooms compared with other school settings was most highly associated with feelings of being unsafe.
In early 2014, the three also co-authored an article, “Misperception of Peer Weight Norms and Its Association with Overweight and Underweight Status Among Adolescents,” which was published in Prevention Science. The study was based on data collected from more than 40,000 secondary school students attending 40 middle and high schools in diverse regions of the United States. At HWS, Wesley Perkins and Craig have frequently collaborated on research projects.
Wesley Perkins is a graduate of Purdue University, and he received his M.A., M. Div., M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and is editor of a book on the social norms approach to substance abuse prevention, and has been honored with national awards for his work in preventing alcohol and drug abuse in colleges and universities.
David Craig is a graduate of California State University at Chico and received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside. In addition to his teaching duties, Craig is principle investigator of a program of BAC research at HWS. He is a leader in interdisciplinary program development particularly in the integration of the sciences into programs focusing on health and wellness at both the college and secondary school levels and has published numerous publications and a recent film on this subject.
Jessica Perkins is a doctoral student at the Department of Health Policy, Harvard University. Her primary area of research concerns social networks in resource-limited settings. She also is involved in studies on social capital and HIV treatment adherence in urban Peru, and social norms, networks and perceived norms in relation to youth health outcomes. Her research has been funded by a T32 NIMH Training Grant and an Advanced Doctoral Research grant from the Harvard Global Health Institute.
Perkins and Craig direct the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Alcohol Education Project that has received multiple awards from the U.S. Department of Education.