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“Mean Mugging”: Exploring Young Aboriginal Women’s Experiences of Bullying in Team Sport Open Access


Other title
Qualitative research
Young women
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kentel, Jennifer L
Supervisor and department
McHugh, Tara-Leigh (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
McHugh, Tara-Leigh (Physical Education and Recreation)
Janice Causgrove Dunn (Physical Education and Recreation)
Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere (Physical Education and Recreation)
Christina Rinaldi (Educational Psychology)
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Youth bullying is a global epidemic that has garnered recent interest among researchers (Dukes, Stein, & Zane, 2009; Espelage & Swearer, 2003; Murray-Harvey, Slee & Taki, 2010). Research (e.g., Carlyle & Steinman, 2007; Lemstra, Rogers, Redgate, Garner, & Moraros, 2011) suggests that Aboriginal youth are more likely to be bullied, and at a rate higher than that of the Canadian national average. Sport has been identified as a possible mechanism for decreasing the probability of bullying victimization (Collot D’Escury & Dudink, 2010), but few researchers have explored the experiences of bullying in sports, and therefore there is limited in-depth data to support such claims. Research suggests that Aboriginal youth stop participating in youth sport between junior high and high school (Schinke et al., 2010). Given the well-documented benefits of sport, it is critical to engage in sport research that has the potential to contribute to a body of literature that can enhance sport opportunities for Aboriginal youth. The purpose of this qualitative description study was to explore young Aboriginal women’s experiences of bullying in team sport. Eight young Aboriginal women, between fourteen and eighteen years old, were purposefully selected to participate. At the time of the study, they all had played a team sport within the last two years within a major urban centre in Alberta. Each participant engaged in an individual semi-structured interview, which was subsequently transcribed and analyzed by a content analysis. Participants then engaged in one-on-one interviews to confirm the research findings. The participants’ experiences of bullying are represented by five main themes: (1)“Mean Mugging,” (2) “No Passing”, (3) “Happens All the Time”, (4) “Stronger Together”, and (5) “Active Coaches”. The experiences shared by participants suggest that bullying occurs frequently within team sports, and their detailed descriptions shed light on a broad range of bullying experiences. Participants also described how team bonding and active coaches can serve as potential solutions to team bullying. Findings from this research highlight the voices of young Aboriginal women and subsequently contribute to the emerging bullying literature.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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