UMD student explores the effects of bullying

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In May 2018, following the footsteps of a professor and his mentors, a student began conducting research on bullying and cyber-bullying in correlation with teenage delinquency.

Allie Dischinger, a senior criminology major, aspires to continue her education into graduate school and was curious about the steps she should take to reach her goals. Her professor, Charern Lee, suggested to conduct research and offered his help.

After speaking with Lee, Dischinger leaned toward the topic of research conducted by Lee and his mentors. She realized the topic of bullying was an interest of hers, especially since she saw the acts and effects of it throughout her previous schooling.

“Obviously, going to middle school and high school, it’s something that you kind of see a lot,” Dischinger said.

Dischinger wants bullying and cyber-bullying to be more recognized. As well, she hopes for an increased awareness of the negative effects it has on students. She describes how “there was nothing really done about it” when she was in middle and high school.

Photo courtesy of Allie Dischinger

Photo courtesy of Allie Dischinger

Dischinger began exploring the possible correlation between students who are bullied and acts of delinquency. More specifically, she wanted to analyze the link between the negative emotions a student would experience from being bullied and the likelihood of said student committing a deviant act because of the induced emotions.

“When you’re bullied, you feel angry, sad, frustrated,” Dischinger said, “and we were wondering if those kinds of negative emotions you would express from that would then turn you to more delinquent acts.”

In order to classify deviant acts, Dischinger explains, a series of questions about underage drinking, smoking, stealing, and other “things of that nature,” were given to students from ages 11 to 17. Dischinger used the questionnaire, as well as the data retrieved from the questionnaire, which was created by Lee’s mentor and his colleague for her own research.

At the end of September, Dischinger had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Chicago about the research she conducted. She presented to a panel of researchers at the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association in order to gain more experience.

Currently, she is in the process of writing her complete research and analysis paper. After completing a write-up, Dischinger’s paper will be reviewed and edited by her professor and his mentors.

“I’m hoping that it gets to a point where we can eventually publish it,” Dischinger said.

Dischinger is not only exploring and conducting her own research, but she is also a resident advisor, full-time student and on her way to graduation this spring.

NewsSkylar Neuber