Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kelly M. Benson


This nonexperimental study was conducted to determine differences that exist between PreK to 4th grade preservice teachers' beliefs about the severity of bullying, their empathy with victims of bullying, beliefs about their ability to cope with bullying in the classroom, and their ability to intervene in bullying issues. Bandura's self-efficacy theory and Ajzen's theory of planned behavior provided the study's theoretical base and demonstrated a connection between participants perceived ability to cope with bullying behavior and willingness to intervene. The participants (N = 112) were students in a 2-year community college PreK to 4th grade education transfer degree program. Data were collected from self-reported student surveys. Current research in the field of bullying showed a correlation between preservice teachers' self-efficacy and their willingness to act in a bullying situation. This study was undertaken to extend that research to preservice teachers at the community college level. Repeated measures of analyses of variance were conducted to evaluate the significance of the survey responses. Participants did not express a high level of confidence in coping with the bullying scenarios presented (p <.001), but did report a high likelihood of intervention for all types of bullying (p <.001). The lack of confidence in coping with bullying scenarios was related to lower self-efficacy to manage bullying situations and indicated the need for increased preparation. Implications for positive social change included benefits to school districts as well as other community college and university teacher education programs because of increased awareness and preparation for preservice teachers. This preparation will promote proactive behavior on the part of the preservice teacher to prevent bullying behavior and the resulting physical, emotional, and psychological damage to children.