Is Drama the New Bullying? Differentiating Bullying and Drama Among College Students

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Magner, Katherine




Compared to research on bullying in schools and in the workplace, little is known about the prevalence and typology of bullying among college age-students. Recent research suggests that young adults may be less in favour of the term "bullying", but more open to the notion of "drama". The concept of drama has existed for some time, and is common vernacular in both media and entertainment, as well as among students and teachers. Though drama has been conceptually linked to bullying, researchers have only just begun to explore this behaviour. The goal of this dissertation was to better understand this construct of drama, and explore it in the context of bullying amongst college students. A total of five studies were conducted using first- and second- year college students exploring conceptualizations of bullying and drama, associations with common forms of aggression, personality profiles of those who engage in bullying and drama, social-cognitive predictors of behavioural decision-making, and the consequences of these behaviours on mental health and well-being. Results indicated that while there is conceptual overlap between bullying and drama, the behaviours are measurably distinct, particularly in terms of the forms of aggression they are associated with, and the traits of those who engage in these behaviours. That being said, the decision-making precursors to engagement in drama appear similar to those involved in bullying: attitudes and norms predict intent and willingness to engage in both behaviours. Finally, bullying seems to remain a salient behaviour among college students, with continued concerns for mental health and well-being, and more importantly, drama appears also to have harmful effects on the psychological adjustment of those who engage in it. The results are discussed in terms of the implications for theory, intervention, and practice in clinical and educational settings.


Psychology - Developmental
Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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