Volume 37, Issue 2 (2008)
'You're So Gay!': Do Different Forms of Bullying Matter for Adolescents Males?
Susan M. Swearer, Rhonda K. Turner, Jami E. Givens, William S. Pollack
Abstract. This study examined effects of adolescent males’ perceptions of being bullied because of verbal taunts related to gender nonconformity (i.e., “They say I’m gay”). Participants included 251 ninth- (n = 77), tenth- (n = 96), and eleventh- (n = 78) grade students in a private, all-male college preparatory school. Participants were divided into two groups based on whether they were bullied by being called gay. Out of the 251 participants, 121 (48%) reported having been bullied and 127 (50%) stated that they had not been bullied during the past year (2% did not report). Of the 121 participants who had been bullied, 32 (26%) reported that they had been bullied because others called them gay (Group 1) and 89 (74%) reported that they had been bullied for other reasons, exclusive of being called gay (Group 2). Consistent with predictions, the boys who were bullied because they were called gay experienced greater psychological distress, greater verbal and physical bullying, and more negative perceptions of their school experiences than boys who were bullied for other reasons. Implications for school-based intervention services for bullying are discussed.
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