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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Counseling and Human Development

First Advisor

Jay Trenhaile


Bullying is an important issue for kids today but it is not a new issue. One potential area to look into for a possible solution is the amount of social support a child receives. Obesity is a rapidly growing problem in the United States and worldwide. It is estimated that 75 million adults and 12 million children and adolescents are in the obese range in the United States (National Research Council, 2012). Bullying and obesity are not new problems but recently they have been gaining more media coverage from all different sides. Social support could be one factor that decreases incidents of bullying and weight-based bullying in schools. The aim of this study is to provide more clarity on the relationship of social support, bullying, and obesity in the middle school population in rural South Dakota. Bullying was measured using Reynolds’s Bully Victimization Scales for Schools (Reynolds, 2003). Social support was measured using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988). Height and weight will be taken of each student to be compared with their survey data. Bivariate correlations were run to explore the relationships between bullying, obesity, and social support. There were significant negative correlations found for the relationships of age, grade and the two bullying scales. As age increased the scores on the two bullying scale decreased, indicating less occurrences of bullying. More research needs to be done to establish clear links between the variables in this study. Future research could develop a prevention program to help kids understand the importance of social support for their wellbeing.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Middle school students -- Social networks
Middle school students -- Psychology
Bullying in schools
Obesity in children


Includes bibliographical references (pages 27-31)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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