The BRAVE Man Project A Mentorship Program for Bullies and Bullied Boys
Date of Award
Graduate School of Professional Psychology
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Bullying, middle school aged boys, psychological effects, peer victimization
Bullying, also known as peer victimization, has become an epidemic in the last 20 years, affecting youth on multiple levels including physical, emotional, psychological and social consequences. Mediatized for decades as interactions between aggressive students victimizing timid students, bullying has subliminally solidified itself as a way to gain power and status in youth. Observance of this behavior fosters academic cultures of fearfulness and hierarchy, creating more distance between the victim and his peers. Outside of school, victims internalize feelings of shame and may engage in behaviors like withdrawing, not attending classes, and more seriously, self-harm and suicide. Boys specifically are more vulnerable to peer victimization, both as the perpetrator and the victim. According to StopBullying.gov, a federal government website managed by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, boys are 1.7 times as likely to bully and 2.5 times as likely to bully as well be bullied than girls (www.stopbullying.gov). Perhaps this means that bullying is no longer simply boys being boys. To address this epidemic, anti-bullying programs and zero tolerance policies have been created with the intention to reduce peer victimization in academic settings. Depending on the target age group, programs will either take a preventative or a reactive approach in responding to bullying behaviors. And while there is evidence that suggests that these programs help reduce aggressive behaviors in schools, there continues to be many questions left unanswered about why they may be successful, and what about the program specifically helps lead to change.
This project aims to respond to these unanswered questions in a sophisticated and innovative way. The BRAVE Man Project is a 10-week mentorship program for middle school aged boys who are affected by bullying. Because boys, specifically who are middle school aged, are most vulnerable to engage in and be impacted by bullying, this program was created to challenge the ingrained messages of masculinity and re-create what it means to be a brave man. In addition, to understand bullying behaviors and the psychological effects it may have on a young man, two interpersonally based theories were chosen to inform the structure of the program and conceptualize how change (i.e. reduction in bullying behaviors) occurs.
Poon, Matthew, "The BRAVE Man Project A Mentorship Program for Bullies and Bullied Boys" (2016). Graduate School of Professional Psychology: Doctoral Papers and Masters Projects. 216.
Theoretical Analysis and Synthesis