Bwa Mawego

Bullying in Dominica

A recent development in my bullying research has been the study of bullying and aggression amongst the adolescents of Bwa Mawego. Bwa Mawego is an isolated rural village on the Caribbean island of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). This village makes for an ideal location to study bullying for several reasons. First, there is no research on bullying and Dominica, and as such, there is no evidence that can be used to help the local children who suffer from bullying. Second, local adolescents go to school in another village, meaning that school life and village life can be quite separate. This means that bullying in school and in the village can be quite separate. Lastly, despite speaking English (and a local French patois), the culture on the island is quite different from mainstream North American culture.

I was offered this opportunity due to the generous invitation of Dr. Mark Flinn. Mark has studied that adolescents in this village for around two decades, becoming a fixture in the village in his own right. Mark studies how social and family stresses affect the neurohormonal chemistry of the adolescents. Together, we are interested in conducting an in-depth study of bullying, aggression, social relationships, and stress from an evolutionary perspective. We have access to virtually every child and adolescent in the village, along with detailed information about each of them. This gives us the very rare opportunity to conduct a thorough, detailed, longitudinal study (i.e., a study that follows children as they grow up). It is our hope that this information will be helpful to both local children and adolescents, as well as to children across the world who experience similar developmental issues as the children in Bwa Mawego. As the research is currently in its early stages, we don't have detailed reports to give out. I can say that it is a very welcome change of pace in terms of collecting data!

Data collection in Dominica

Created November 2010