Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Clinical Psychology, PhD



Faculty Advisor

Gary Fireman


Background: Studies on framing demonstrate that the way ideas are presented influence the way individuals feel emotionally, conceptualize risk, and make decisions. Few studies have examined framing in social contexts, particularly within bullying. Many bullying interventions involve competing frames, with some discussing bullying in terms of negative effects and others in terms of resiliency from the experience. Gender is closely related to frames about bullying, as culturally communicated expectations and past experiences contribute to differences in individuals’ internalized frames about bullying. To explore this gender by frame effect within the context of bullying, the current study examines how creating either a resiliency or negative effects frame impacts emotions and social decision making across males and females. Methods: Participants (N = 92) were randomized to one of two groups. Participants answered self-report questionnaires around self-construal, internalized beliefs about bullying, and current bullying experiences. Next, participants wrote about a previous bullying experience in which they demonstrated either resilience (Resiliency Group) or negative effects (Negative Effects Group) and were further divided by self-identified gender. Lastly, participants answered self report questionnaires around predictions of future bullying, current emotions, and social decision-making. Results: First, the four groups (Negative Effects female, Negative Effects male, Resiliency female, Resiliency male) were entered in a MANOVA and compared across dependent measures. The overall model was significant (Wilks Lamda = .51, F = 1.94, p = 0.004, ηp2 = .20). Second, MANOVA results demonstrated significant differences between male and female participants (Wilks Lamda, F = 3.41, p = 0.00) across self-construal, beliefs about bullying, and current levels of bullying. Third, these variables that differed significantly across gender (self- construal, prior bullying beliefs, current bullying) were then entered into the MANCOVA model as covariates to better understand the gender by frame relationship. The overall model was significant (Wilks Lamda = 0.57, F(30,228) = 1.81, p = 0.009, ηp2= 0.20) as well as significant at each level, demonstrating that the effect of group remained significant after controlling for self-construal, bullying beliefs, and current bullying. Each of these covariates partially accounted for the gender by frame variance. Qualitative and exploratory mixed methods results were also investigated. Conclusions: Results demonstrate that frames around bullying influence emotions and social decision making and that this impact differs across gender. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

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