SPUR 2019: Bullying, Peer groups, and Music Participation: The Socialization of Bullying Behavior in Adolescence


School violence has emerged in the last ten years as a significant public health crisis that include behaviors ranging from bullying, hate-based language, sexual harassment, and physical assaults (Robers, Kemp, & Truman, 2013). A recent study found that almost one-third of students in grades 6-12 reported they had been victimized by peers, and 5% to 13% admitted to bullying others (Hymel & Swearer, 2015).

Researchers in music education acknowledge peer victimization and bullying is also a serious concern for music students (Elpus & Carter, 2016; Silveira & Hudson, 2015; Rawlings, 2015, 2016). Elpus and Carter (2016) examined data from the 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 datasets of the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to determine the prevalence of reported school victimization through physical, verbal, and relational aggression among US performing arts students. Elpus and Carter found that male music and theater students are at a 69% greater risk than non-arts students when experiencing face-to-face bully victimization and male music and theatre students were confronted with a 63% greater risk of being cyber bullied than non-arts participants. Therefore, if school music students may be more likely to be targets of victimization and feel unsafe at school when compared to their non-music peers, then research is needed to determine the prevalence of these behaviors and document detailed instances of this phenomenon. To date, there has been no published research examining the the prosocial and anti-social behavior development of school-based music ensemble performers.

Student Role

The current study aims to examine the individual-level benefits of adolescent music participation within one high school. Using previously collected questionnaire data, undergraduate researchers may be assigned to one or more research tasks. Research assistants are only responsible to work the number of hours per week stipulated by their contracts. There may be some weeks that the number of hours necessary to complete assistant tasks (for example, for support for a conference) may exceed the stated number of hours; these must be balanced by reduced hours on other weeks. Research assistants are generally not expected to be present during U of U holidays or breaks.

Typical Research Assistant Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Assists with academic research.
  • Assists with the editing and preparation of manuscripts.
  • Meets regularly with supervisor to discuss research assignments.
  • Prepares literature reviews.
  • Analyzes data.
  • Prepares materials for submission to agencies and foundations that fund research.
  • Prepares materials for HSRB (Human Research Subjects Board) review.
  • Manages and replies to project-related correspondence.
  • Organizes, maintains, and updates website content.
  • Attends project meetings.
  • Assists in the acquisition of research materials from campus facilities.
  • Prepares other articles, reports, and presentations.
  • Performs routine clerical duties as instructed, if essential to the research activities of the supervisor or project to which the research assistant is assigned.
  • Assists in administrative duties such as completing reports.

Student Learning Outcomes & Benefits

At the completion of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research, undergraduate researchers in music education will be able to:

  • Prepare literature reviews.
  • Conduct descriptive data analysis using SPSS 24.0.
  • Prepare and collate materials for submission to agencies and foundations that fund research.
  • Prepare and collate materials for HSRB (Human Research Subjects Board) review.
  • Locate and assist in the acquisition of research materials from campus facilities. These skills are necessary for a career in research or field that requires systematic research.

Jared Rawlings
Assistant Professor

School of Music
College of Fine Arts

Before planning a project utilizing undergraduate researchers, I consider: How do I serve students? I offer an authentic learning opportunity for students by attempting to structure experiences as a laboratory for professional interactions. I honor the learner’s time and prior educative experiences, which allows for a mutual exchange of trust and respect so that a strong relationship for learning may exist. I have had experiences in designing and developing innovative techniques for research method courses and will leave no stone unturned to help undergraduate researchers achieve their musical goals.