School bullying: Its nature and ecology

Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA.
International journal of adolescent medicine and health 03/2012; 24(1):3-10. DOI: 10.1515/ijamh.2012.002
Source: PubMed


Recent youth suicides only highlight a persistent problem in schools - bullying and sustained peer victimization. Being a target or victim of bullying has long been recognized has having short- and long-term psychological effects on children and adolescents across the world today. School bullying is one of the most significant public health concerns facing children and adolescents.
Involvement in the social phenomena of school bullying is often explained as emerging from a wide range of risk and protective factors within the social-ecology of youth. The social-ecological model posits that bullying behaviors are shaped by various interrelated contexts including individual characteristics, family, peers and the school environment.
Research is reviewed to highlight the correlates of bullying involvement across these context using social-ecological and social-learning frameworks. Meta-analytic studies are reviewed on the short- and long-term impact of bullying involvement and efficacy of bullying prevention programs. Specific recommendations for prevention planning and future research efforts are provided.
Bullying is a multi-faceted issue, which is best understood in the larger social context in which it occurs. Individual characteristics of students contribute to bullying involvement when students have families that promote violence, teachers that ignore or dismiss bullying, schools that have negative climates and students who socialize with friends who bully. These social contexts need to be targeted in bully prevention programs to reduce bullying and peer victimization in schools.

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    • "Research has sought to identify different characteristics that might increase children's risk for peer abuse (Cook et al. 2010; Espelage and De La Rue 2012). Rejection or peer dislike has emerged as a core interpersonal or grouplevel risk factor for peer maltreatment (Ladd and Troop- Gordon 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although much is known about peer victimization, the majority of the longitudinal research in this area has been restricted to Western settings. The main objective of this study was to examine the interpersonal (rejection) and personal (withdrawal, aggression) antecedents and consequences of victimization for Chinese children living in Hong Kong. A sample of 1,058 children (501 boys; M age = 9.5 years) in Hong Kong was followed longitudinally from the 3rd and 4th grades to the 7th and 8th grades. Consistent with a transactional framework, rejection and withdrawal contributed to, as well as resulted from, victimization. Although victimization predicted later aggression, aggression was unrelated to later victimization. These findings closely replicate past research conducted in North America and European settings, and suggest considerable correspondence in the links between maladaptive child characteristics and victimization across Western and Hong Kong schools.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Journal of Youth and Adolescence
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    • "In turn, these behaviors may result in domestic violence, criminality, substance abuse [15], and even suicidal thoughts [16]. There are significant differences in such bullying manifestations according to gender and socioeconomic status [17]; although other social factors also contribute such as having a family that promotes violence, teachers that ignore or dismiss bullying, schools that have a negative social climate, or students who socialize with bullies (aggressors) [18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Bullying (Bull) is a public health problem worldwide, and Mexico is not exempt. However, its epidemiology and early detection in our country is limited, in part, by the lack of validated tests to ensure the respondents’ anonymity. The aim of this study was to validate a self-administered test (Bull-M) for assessing Bull among high-school Mexicans. Methods Experts and school teachers from highly violent areas of Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua, México), reported common Bull behaviors. Then, a 10-item test was developed based on twelve of these behaviors; the students’ and peers’ participation in Bull acts and in some somatic consequences in Bull victims with a 5-point Likert frequency scale. Validation criteria were: content (CV, judges); reliability [Cronbach’s alpha (CA), test-retest (spearman correlation, rs)]; construct [principal component (PCA), confirmatory factor (CFA), goodness-of-fit (GF) analysis]; and convergent (Bull-M vs. Bull-S test) validity. Results Bull-M showed good reliability (CA = 0.75, rs = 0.91; p < 0.001). Two factors were identified (PCA) and confirmed (CFA): “bullying me (victim)” and “bullying others (aggressor)”. GF indices were: Root mean square error of approximation (0.031), GF index (0.97), and normalized fit index (0.92). Bull-M was as good as Bull-S for measuring Bull prevalence. Conclusions Bull-M has a good reliability and convergent validity and a bi-modal factor structure for detecting Bull victims and aggressors; however, its external validity and sensitivity should be analyzed on a wider and different population.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · BMC Public Health
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    ABSTRACT: This chapter includes the first systematic attempt to examine the association between bullying perpetration and sexual violence perpetration among a middle school sample and the most comprehensive longitudinal study to examine whether risk (e.g., anger, family violence exposure) and protective factors (e.g., caring, school support) predict these two behaviors among female middle school students (N = 576). Using longitudinal data, two separate regression analyses were performed to predict future bullying and sexual violence perpetration by middle school girls. The strongest predictors of bullying perpetration over a 2-year period were sibling aggression, depression, and delinquency, after controlling for baseline levels of bully perpetration. Additionally, greater perceived family social support was associated with less bullying perpetration over time. For sexual harassment perpetration, significant predictors included attitudes that were dismissive of sexual harassment and earlier sexual harassment perpetration. The lack of overlap between predictors for these two behaviors suggests that sexual harassment perpetration among girls in middle school could not be explained by predictors that are well documented in the bullying literature. Much more scholarship needs to focus on identifying what predicts sexual harassment perpetration among girls. Finally, the assumption that addressing risk and protective factors associated with bullying perpetration might reduce sexual violence perpetration over time was not supported. Additional results and implications are presented. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013. All rights are reserved.
    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2013
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