School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Shante Moore-Austin


Bibliotherapy, African American girls, Socially aggressive girls, Urban Schools, Adolescents, Case Study


Education | Reading and Language


The purpose of this collective case study was to describe how bibliotherapy among adolescent African American females in urban middle schools served as an intervention for female social aggression, or the mean girl syndrome. At this stage of the research, bibliotherapy was defined as the use of literature to support positive socio-emotional health and prosocial behavior. The theory guiding this inquiry was Rosenblatt’s (1969) transactional theory of reading. It stands to reason that if there is indeed a transaction between the reader and the text; bibliotherapy could impact the attitudes, perceptions, and behavior of socially aggressive females. The central research was: What characteristics of bibliotherapy contribute to its mitigating impact on female social aggression? The research design was the collective case study. The case study primarily dealt with people and programs. This design was appropriate for this study because it explored the notions of how and why bibliotherapy [program] serves as an appropriate intervention for female social aggression [people]. The participants were comprised of 11 socially aggressive, African American females between the ages of 11-14. The setting for the study was an urban middle school in a Midwestern region of the United States. The data collection process initially entailed recommendations from administrators, and/or counselors which served to identify potential participants. The three modes of collection were semi-structured interviews comprised of open-ended questions, a focus group, and letters that participants wrote to literary characters. The data analysis entailed that all interviews, focus group discourse, and letters were transcribed verbatim. Each text was analyzed for themes and coded accordingly. Lastly, themes, namely, the imagination station, the aggressor syndrome, and the power of the narrative, were interpreted for the purpose of depth of understanding of the characteristics of the case.