Covert Bullying: When Do Teachers Recognize It?

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Summer 2012


Classroom bullying is a worldwide problem. The present study examined female classroom teachers' perceptions of covert or indirect bullying. The present study also examined the possibility of gender bias in these perceptions. The participants were 56 female teachers of grades 4-6 who responded to a vignette about either a 10-year-old boy or girl, rated the child according to a list of descriptors, then completed the Reactive/Proactive Aggression-Fast Track Teacher Checklist developed by Dodge and Coie (1987). Results suggested that teachers might identify bullying behavior in boys more rapidly than bullying behavior in girls. Results also showed a significant difference in teachers' perceptions of covert bullying behavior based on gender. Finally, results showed that teachers with less experience in the field were better able to recognize bullying behavior than their more experienced colleagues. Professional development suggested by this research could focus on teacher observation and perception in relation to covert bullying.


Gail Johnson

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology