Date of Award

7-24-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Frank Corbett, Jr., Ed.D.

Third Advisor

DeAnna M. Laverick, D.Ed.

Fourth Advisor

Becky Knickelbein, Ed.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which university students report having been weight-teased by basic education teachers and how that has affected their social, physical, and academic well-being in the university. Bandura's (1999) theory of triadic reciprocal causation served as a framework for developing this research. An explanatory mixed methods approach was used to examine university students' perceptions. The data collection consisted of a 22-question survey, which was electronically administered to 6,000 university students in the quantitative phase, followed by interviews that were conducted with four university students in the qualitative phase. The results from the quantitative portion of the study indicated that 23% of university students recalled having been weight-teased by basic education teachers during their youth. Among those university students who recalled having been weight-teased by basic education teachers, 96% indicated that they were bothered by the teasing. A moderate positive correlation was found between weight-teasing frequency and weight-teasing effect. University students who recalled more frequent weight-teasing by basic education teachers indicated that they were bothered to a greater degree by the teasing than those university students who reported less frequent weight-teasing by basic education teachers. The results from the qualitative portion of the study provided anecdotal data regarding the experiences of four university students who recalled having been weight-teased by basic education teachers during their youth. The university students who recalled having been weight-teased by basic education teachers during their youth described a variety of social, physical, and academic problems they encountered in the university. Three of the four university students who recalled having been weight-teased by basic education teachers during their youth described occasions when they used of the coping strategy of avoidance to avoid future experiences of weight-teasing and stigmatization. Some of the university students who recalled having been weight-teased by basic education teachers also indicated that past weight-teasing experiences may have affected their relationships with others in the university, and may have affected their levels of physical activity, eating habits, and academic performance in the university.

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