Date of Conferral
Bullying is a pervasive event that affects individuals in a variety of ways. For example, bullied individuals display an array of psychological and related psychosocial problems associated with victimization. There is a push for a transformation in the bullying paradigm to include the psychological and psychosocial symptomologies of both the perpetrator and victim. This study addressed the lack of qualitative research on coping mechanisms for adult victims of bullying. Due to the pervasive nature of the phenomena, the following was explored: (a) descriptions of bullying as expressed by adult victims, (b) adult victims' coping processes and methods, and (c) adult victims' emotional responses to being bullied. A qualitative phenomenological research approach was applied to understand the lived experiences of this population. The theoretical framework was based on Folkman and Lazarus's transactional model of stress and coping. Eight individuals participated in the study and face-to-face interviews were conducted with each participant. Based on the results of interviews and thematic analysis, the majority of participants (34%) reported that job-related demands and coercion such as social exclusion, cyberthreats, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, job-related intimidation, and physical harm were the main forms of bullying experienced. The coping process adopted by 62% of the participants was to remain calm during the bullying incident. However, 62% used retaliatory confrontation as their main coping method. Mental stress was the main emotional response to bullying. The findings of this study can inform the adoption of positive social change policy actions that promote resiliency among bullied adults at the community level and within organizational settings.