Date of Award

Summer 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Carole P. Hines

Committee Member

Charles Ruhl


The following is a study of playful and insulting name-calling among suburban and rural public middle school males and females in grades six through eight in Tidewater, Virginia. Little is known about the effects of name-calling on self-esteem. Students were asked to rate the comfort level of the names they reported their friends called them. They were also asked to list their favorite television programs, films, and music videos to determine what influence, if any, the media has on name-calling. The 135 participating male and female students completed an anonymous survey administered by their teachers during home bell.

The collected names were separated by gender and context, and placed in natural categories: Body Parts, Sexual Orientation, Social Behavior, Intelligence, Physical Features, Sexual Reference, Female Terms, etc. The data were then compared to determine if the context or the gender of the caller affected the way the target felt about a particular name.


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