Date of Award

Fall 12-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Carla Mueller

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan K. Isenberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Audrey Wittenauer


Relational aggression acted out through social media or cyber bullying is an evergrowing limitedly researched issue that is impacting students and parents alike. A mixedmethod study was conducted using existing older and aspiring younger social workers and counselors to investigate attitudes (focus groups and text box comments) and relationships (surveys) between variables. The research questions asked how attitudes toward cyber bullying based on gender, type of social media, parent versus nonparent status, and involved parent versus not involved parent status. Hypotheses tested correlations between the same elements. Participants were 75 existing social workers and counselors working at a Midwestern school district, and 137 aspiring social workers and counselors enrolled in a Midwestern university undergraduate social worker program and a graduate counselor program. The participant age varied—the youngest group was the undergraduate social worker students and graduate counseling students the oldest group was the existing social workers and counselors. Gender varied, but the majority of participants were female. All participants were surveyed with an instrument designed to measure attitude that included three scenarios of relational aggression. Among those surveyed, some also participated in a video recorded focus group to measure attitude. Survey results were analyzed using t tests and F tests that found minimal significance between participant responses. Focus group results were first analyzed using axial coding for three key elements: parent involvement, relational aggression, and social media, and found that by far, the majority of responses aligned with the element, parent involvement. Next, open coding of just the parent involvement responses resulted in the following emerging iii themes: general parent involvement, parent monitoring, parent involvement as a resolution, parent involvement as a prevention, and parental advisement. There was more female representation that took the survey than males. Lack of familiarity with social media websites made it difficult for honest responses and if they were used to cyber bully. Most respondents felt parent involvement is important in preventing cyber bullying despite parental status. Involved parental monitoring of their child’s social media are aware of their online behavior. Cyber bullying is a prevalent topic that provided strong reactions from all data sets.


Copyright 2015