The University of the West Indies Press
Caribbean Journal of Mixed Methods Research Volume 2 Issue 1 Article 3
Dr Loraine D. Cook
Caribbean Journal of Mixed Methods Research Volume 2 Issue 1 Article 3
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The Cloak and Dagger: A Mixed Methods Study of Covert Bullying in Jamaican High Schools
by Ingrid Elizabeth Hunt-Anderson

Despite its growing prevalence and adverse impact on students’ health and social welfare, covert bullying remains one of the most underestimated and underreported forms of abuse among adolescents. Hence, the purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine the nature and prevalence of covert bullying among adolescents within the context of Jamaican socio-cultural, historical and economic environs. Underlined by the transformational paradigm, an exploratory sequential model was employed. The initial qualitative phase was organized into four case studies to explore the experiences of twenty-seven students attending nine urban high schools. Primary data were collected through semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, doodling, informal observations, conversations and videoviewing, triangulated by secondary interviews with three adolescent experts. A subsequent quantitative survey of 279 students attending seven high schools was conducted. Qualitative findings produced four themes – Bullying Situations; Impact; Coping; and Profiles and Explanations. Quantitative findings revealed high prevalence rates of victimization and perpetration and a moderate relationship between them. The mixed integrated findings confirm that Bullying Situations in school communities are highly facilitated by “popularized” peer group structures that adopt the symbols and norms of the larger society to dictate peer status and differences. Integrated findings also establish that students are “often” excluded or rejected by a peer group that “often” results in outcomes of low self-esteem, depression and/or anxiety. Positive change in the school system will require whole school intervention and socio-cultural reform efforts that harness students’ voice and participation. Also critical are the reform of teacher recruitment, training and support and changes to the national curriculum that accentuate anti-bullying policies and aggression.

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