Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Faye Z. Belgrave


This study used binary logistic regression analysis to examine the role of empathy,anger management, and normative beliefs about aggression on overt bullying, relational bullying, and prosocial behavior in urban African-American middle school children. Participants included 177 African-American sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from two public, urban middle schools in a large city in the Southeast United States. The results of this study indicated that binary logistic regression models including empathy, anger management, and normative beliefs about aggression predicted prosocial behavior, and marginally predicted relational bullying. Nonnative beliefs about aggression had a significant moderating effect, such that for participants who endorsed higher normative beliefs about aggression, low levels of empathy significantly increased the likelihood of being classified as a relational bully. Participants in this study reported highly aggressive behavior, with 24% of the sample being identified as overt bullies. Significant gender differences were also identified in this study. Boys reported more relational aggression than girls, and girls reported higher levels of empathy, and prosocial behavior. Implications for future research and intervention programs for bullying among middle school children are discussed.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons