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Abstract

Research has shown a negative association between positive school climate and bullying behavior. This article reviews research on school climate and bullying behavior and proposes that an unhealthy and unsupportive school climate (e.g., negative relationship between teachers and students, positive attitudes towards bullying) provides a social context that allows bullying behavior to occur. We provide information on how to evaluate the school climate and intervene to promote a more positive school climate and to reduce bullying behavior. Although there has been an increased interest among school personnel, parents, and students to reduce bullying behavior, the issue of how to assess the myriad of factors that may cause and maintain bullying behaviors, and to select evidence-based prevention and intervention programs, remains a challenge for many educators. This article seeks to address these two issues by highlighting the importance of school climate in bullying prevention and reviewing some school climate evaluations and intervention programs.
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The Critical Role of School Climate in
Effective Bullying Prevention
Cixin Wang a , Brandi Berry b & Susan M. Swearer c
a University of California Riverside
b University of Nebraska
c University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Published online: 04 Oct 2013.
To cite this article: Cixin Wang , Brandi Berry & Susan M. Swearer (2013) The Critical Role
of School Climate in Effective Bullying Prevention, Theory Into Practice, 52:4, 296-302, DOI:
10.1080/00405841.2013.829735
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00405841.2013.829735
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Theory Into Practice, 52:296–302, 2013
Copyright © The College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University
ISSN: 0040-5841 print/1543-0421 online
DOI: 10.1080/00405841.2013.829735
Cixin Wang
Brandi Berry
Susan M. Swearer
The Critical Role of School Climate
in Effective Bullying Prevention
Research has shown a negative association be-
tween positive school climate and bullying be-
havior. This article reviews research on school
climate and bullying behavior and proposes that
an unhealthy and unsupportive school climate
(e.g., negative relationship between teachers and
students, positive attitudes towards bullying) pro-
vides a social context that allows bullying be-
havior to occur. We provide information on how
to evaluate the school climate and intervene to
promote a more positive school climate and to re-
duce bullying behavior. Although there has been
an increased interest among school personnel,
Cixin Wang is an assistant professor at the University
of California Riverside; Brandi Berry is a doctoral
candidate at the University of Nebraska; Susan M.
Swearer is a professor at the University of Nebraska
Lincoln.
Correspondence should be addressed to Susan
M. Swearer, 40 Teachers College Hall, Department
of Educational Psychology, University of Nebraska–
Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0345. E-mail: sswearer@
unl.edu.
parents, and students to reduce bullying behavior,
the issue of how to assess the myriad of factors
that may cause and maintain bullying behav-
iors, and to select evidence-based prevention and
intervention programs, remains a challenge for
many educators. This article seeks to address
these two issues by highlighting the importance
of school climate in bullying prevention and
reviewing some school climate evaluations and
intervention programs.
Relationship Between Bullying and
School Climate
ALTHO UG H T HE RE HA S B EE N an increased
interest in studying school climate, its def-
inition is still murky among researchers and
educators. Among the researchers who defined
school climate in their studies, Emmons’s (1993)
definition of school climate as “the quality and
frequency of interactions among and between
296
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Wang, Berry, Swearer The Critical Role of School Climate in Effective Bullying Prevention
adults and students” at school (Kuperminc, Lead-
beater, Emmons, & Blatt, 1997, p. 77) has been
accepted as an important component of school
climate. Similarly, the National School Climate
Council (NSCC, 2012) referred to school climate
as “the quality and character of school life”
and “is based on patterns of students’, parents’,
and school personnel’s experience of school life
and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal
relationships, teaching and learning practices,
and organizational structures” (How do we define
school climate section, para. 1). How to measure
school climate is also unclear. Researchers have
identified multiple dimensions of school climate,
such as school organizational structure and ex-
ternal environment (e.g., class and school size,
utilization of resources, and physical surround-
ings), social milieu (background characteristics
of the students, teachers, and staff, and physical
location of the school), cultural variables (e.g.,
beliefs, values, attitudes, rules, and whether staff
are caring, supportive, and fair), and relationships
(NSCC, 2012; Stewart, 2003). In this article,
we define school climate as the milieu created
by interactions among and between adults and
students and individuals’ beliefs and attitudes
(e.g., feelings about school, approval/disapproval
of bullying). Using this definition, we discuss the
links between bullying prevention programs and
the aforementioned elements of school climate
(e.g., relationship, beliefs, and attitudes) and
specific programs to improve school climate and
prevent bullying.
Two social theories can be used to conceptual-
ize the relationship between bullying and school
climate. Social disorganization theory (Shaw &
McKay, 1942) suggests that youths acquire delin-
quent behaviors (e.g., bullying) because the eco-
nomic difficulties and social environment limit
the community’s (e.g., parents’, school’s) ability
to control or supervise adolescent behavior (Es-
pelage & Swearer, 2009). Social control theory
(Hirschi, 1969) suggests that “delinquent acts
occur when an individual’s bond to society is
weak or broken” (p. 16), meaning that weak
bonds with important people and institutions in
adolescents’ lives put them at-risk for engaging in
delinquent behaviors (Friedman & Rosenbaum,
1998). According to these theories, bullying be-
haviors are discouraged when social organization
and control are present in a school. Thus, these
theories support the need to improve school
climate in order to effectively prevent bullying
behaviors.
Research has shown that students are more
likely to participate in bullying when the school
climate is unhealthy. For example, when students
perceive their school environment as high in
conflict, unfair, unfriendly, and nonsupportive
(Gendron, Williams, & Guerra, 2011) and when
positive attitudes supporting aggression and bul-
lying become the norm at school (Unnever &
Cornell, 2003). On the other hand, students are
more likely to have a positive attitude toward
help-seeking behavior for bullying when they
perceive the school staff and teachers as support-
ive and caring (Eliot, Cornell, Gregory, & Fan,
2010). It is likely that when students perceive
their school as unfriendly and nonsupportive,
their bond to school is weak or broken, and, as a
result, they are less likely to follow school rules
(e.g., rules against bullying). In addition, when
students perceive bullying behavior as normally
approved by peers and teachers, they tend to be-
lieve that school’s ability to control or supervise
their behavior is diminished, and they are more
likely to engage in bullying behavior and less
likely to engage in helpful bystanding behavior.
In general, these findings suggest that an un-
healthy school climate (e.g., negative relationship
between teachers and students, positive attitude
towards bullying) provides a social context that
allows bullying behavior to occur. Thus, it is
critical to evaluate school climate and, in cases in
which the school climate is negative, effectively
improve the school climate as an important strat-
egy to preventing bullying behaviors.
School Climate Evaluation
A key first step toward improving school
climate is to assess the school climate (Cohen,
2006). Although many measures of school cli-
mate have been developed, only a few (e.g., The
Comprehensive School Climate Inventory, Co-
297
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Emerging Issues in School Bullying Research and Prevention Science
hen, 2006; The ClassMaps Survey or CMS, Doll
& Spies, 2007) have proven to be scientifically
sound and seek to gain information from stu-
dents, staff members, and parents to yield a more
comprehensive picture of the school/classroom
climate.
The Comprehensive School Climate Inventory
(CSCI; Center for Social and Emotional Edu-
cation, 2003) assesses students’, parents’, and
school staff members’ perceptions of various as-
pects of school climate. Specifically, it measures
four constructs: safety (i.e., rules and norms,
sense of physical security, and sense of social-
emotional security), teaching and learning (i.e.,
support for learners and social and civic learn-
ing), interpersonal relationships (i.e., respect for
diversity, social support from adults, and social
support for students), and institutional environ-
ment (i.e., school connectedness/engagement and
physical surroundings; Haggerty, Elgin, & Wool-
ley, 2010). Additionally, school staff members
assess two additional constructs: leadership and
professional relationships. There are four ver-
sions of the student survey: lower elementary, up-
per elementary, middle, and high school versions.
All items are positively worded and students
answer each statement on a 5-point Likert scale
where 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means
strongly agree. The CSCI can be completed via
paper survey or online and results can be con-
solidated for school improvement purposes. The
CSCI has shown strong internal consistency and
good construct validity across the various stu-
dent, parent, and school personnel forms (Guo,
Choe, & Higgins-D’Alessandro, 2011).
The CMS (Doll & Spies, 2007) is an
assessment that queries students about teacher–
student relationships, peer friendships, peer
conflicts, worries about peer aggression, home–
school relationships, academic self-efficacy,
self-determination, and behavioral self-control.
Together, these subscales yield a wealth of infor-
mation on students’ perceptions of the classroom
and are meant to shed light on classroom supports
for students’ autonomy and interpersonal
relationships (Doll, Spies, LeClair, Kurien, &
Foley, 2010). Each subscale contains five to eight
items with the full survey of 47 items. Students
respond to each item using a 4-point Likert scale
where 0 means never and 3 means always. The
CMS has been studied using samples of upper
elementary and middle school students, and has
been found to be psychometrically sound in
terms of factor structure, internal consistency,
and construct validity (Doll et al., 2010).
School Climate and
Bullying Interventions
To improve school climate, researchers have
suggested that it is important to incorporate inter-
ventions into the school curriculum, involve the
entire school community in the intervention, and
focus on building positive relationships among
everyone in the school community (Cohen &
Geier, 2010). For example, schools can improve
relationships by reducing school size, build-
ing smaller learning communities within larger
schools, and implementing schoolwide violence-
prevention programs (e.g., Cotton, 2001; Loukas,
2007). In addition, providing students with a
social, emotional, ethical, and academic educa-
tion, as well as safe, caring school environments,
helps to build a positive school climate (Cohen,
2006).
During the past 2 decades, several programs
have been developed to shift the school climate
from less supportive to warm/caring in an ef-
fort to decrease school bullying. Research has
shown some evidence for the following programs
in the United States: Bully Busters (Newman,
Horne, & Bartolomucci, 2000), Bully-Proofing
Your School (BPYS; Garrity, Jens, Porter, Sager,
& Short-Camilli, 1994), Creating a Peaceful
School Learning Environment (CAPSLE; Fonagy
et al., 2009), Cooperative Learning Community
(CLC, Johnson & Johnson, 1981; 1991), Second
Step (Committee for Children, 2002), Shifting
Boundaries (Taylor, Stein, Woods, & Mumford,
2011), and Steps to Respect (Committee for
Children, 2001). Most of those programs (e.g.,
CAPSLE) theorize that all individuals within a
school, including teachers, students, and other
staff members, played a role in causing and/or
maintaining bullying behaviors (Fonagy et al.,
298
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Wang, Berry, Swearer The Critical Role of School Climate in Effective Bullying Prevention
2009). Thus, by helping individuals to empathize
with others and involving all members of the
school community in changing the school cli-
mate, students are less prone to bullying and/or to
support bullying. The aforementioned programs
share similar common elements, including (a) de-
veloping a caring school climate by fostering
empathy and kindness among students; (b) pro-
moting students’ and staff’s awareness and
knowledge of bullying; (c) using consistent
language to enforce school wide rules and
consequence for bullying; (d) increasing su-
pervision; (e) providing training to promote
skills/competences for students (e.g., conflict
resolution, self-regulation, problem solving) and
teachers (e.g., how to handle bullying behavior);
(f) increasing adults’ role modeling of appropri-
ate and prosocial behavior; and (g) encouraging
bystanders to intervene in bullying situations.
Some programs also include a parent training
component and group work that can be tailored
to classwork. Those elements are consistent with
the important elements of bullying interventions
identified by Ttofi and Farrington in their meta-
analysis study (2011), including parent train-
ing/meetings, playground supervision, intensity
and duration of the program for both children
and teachers, classroom management, teacher
training, classroom rules, whole-school policy,
school conferences, information for parents, and
cooperative group work.
Research has shown that these programs have
been successful in several key areas. First, several
programs decrease bullying and other aggressive
behaviors at school (Bully Busters, Newman-
Carlson & Horne, 2004; BPYS, Epstein, Plog,
& Porter, 2002; CAPSLE, Fonagy et al., 2009;
Second Step, Taub, 2001; Shifting Boundaries,
Taylor et al., 2011; Steps to Respect, Frey,
Hirschstein, Edstrom, & Snell, 2009). Second,
many of the programs promote positive school
climate (e.g., perception of school safety, de-
creased acceptance of bull ying, perceived respon-
sibility to intervene in bullying situations, and
positive teacher-student relationship) including
Bully Busters, Bell, Raczynski, & Horne, 2010;
BPYS, Menard, Grotpeter, Gianola, & O’Neal,
2008; CAPSLE, Twemlow, Fonagy, & Sacco,
2001; CLC, Johnson & Johnson, 1983; Second
Step, Cooke et al., 2007; Shifting Boundaries,
Taylor et al., 2011; Steps to Respect, Frey
et al., 2005). Finally, several programs address
students’ and teachers’ knowledge and skills
in handling bullying situations (Bully Busters,
Newman-Carlson & Horne, 2004; Second Step,
Cooke et al., 2007; Shifting Boundaries, Taylor
et al., 2011).
Following the Positive Behavior Interventions
and Supports (PBiS) framework, school person-
nel can create primary (schoolwide), secondary
(classroom or group level), and tertiary (indi-
vidual) systems of support to improve school
safety and prevent bullying behavior by mak-
ing bullying behaviors less effective, efficient,
and relevant, and making prosocial behavior
more rewarding (Sugai, Horner, & Algozzine,
2011). Taking a prevention and responsive-
to-intervention approach, Sugai and colleagues
(2011) suggested that Tier I (primary level,
schoolwide prevention) programs should focus
on teaching and encouraging appropriate behav-
iors, positive social skills, and prosocial traits
among all students. Almost all students respond
to the Tier I supports, impacting close to 80% of a
typical student body. Tier II supports (secondary
level, small group prevention and intervention)
are directed toward the 15% of students who do
not respond to Tier I supports (possibly due to
other risk factors), such as more specific social
skills training, more adult supervision and posi-
tive attention, and specific behavioral feedback.
Tier III supports (tertiary, individual intervention)
are directed toward the approximate 5% of stu-
dents who do not respond to Tier I and Tier II
supports. Tier III supports include individualized
behavior intervention planning, mental health
supports, and other comprehensive, individual-
ized interventions. While implementing PBiS for
bullying prevention and school climate, it is
important for school personnel to collect data and
make decisions based on their data, implement
the program with high fidelity, monitor the on-
going progress, and receive on-going training
and support from the school systems in order
to make the bullying prevention more effective
(Sugai et al., 2011).
299
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Emerging Issues in School Bullying Research and Prevention Science
Summary
A positive school climate is necessary to ef-
fectively prevent bullying behaviors. Therefore, it
is critical that educators (a) understand what con-
stitutes a positive school climate, (b) use reliable
measures to evaluate school climates, and (c) use
effective prevention and intervention programs
to improve the climates in schools. Positive
relationships among students and teachers, and
negative attitudes toward inappropriate behavior
(e.g., bullying), are two key elements of a positive
school climate. In addition to evaluating school
climate and implementing evidence-based pre-
vention and intervention programs (such as the
ones mentioned above), a positive school com-
munity exists only when all the students, parents,
and school staff members work collaboratively to
improve school climate (Lodge & Frydenberg,
2005). To promote a positive relationship, teach-
ers and other adults (e.g., supportive staff, vol-
unteers) need to promote and model appropriate
attitudes and behaviors, such as caring, empathy,
and appropriate interactions among and between
teachers and students. To foster attitudes against
bullying, in addition to promoting knowledge
and awareness of bullying, teachers need to take
reports of any bullying incident seriously and
intervene consistently according to school wide
rules instead of ignoring/minimizing bullying
behavior.
Adult behavior is a critical foundation for
healthy school climate. Adults should refrain
from bullying students and other adults (i.e., col-
leagues, parents) at school (Graham & Bellmore,
2007). In addition, teachers also need to incorpo-
rate school climate interventions into the regular
curriculum and use teachable moments to openly
discuss difficult topics (e.g., popularity, power,
social ostracism) related to bullying (Cohen &
Geier, 2010; Graham & Bellmore, 2007). Last but
not least, bullying is not only a behavior problem,
but also a mental health problem. Research has
shown that students involved in bullying expe-
rience more mental health difficulties (such as
depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation) and display
higher levels of cognitive distortions (Swearer,
Wang, Collins, Strawhun, & Fluke, in press).
Thus, it is important for educators to seek pro-
fessional help from psychologists, mental health
practitioners, and counselors for students who
are involved in bullying and experiencing mental
health difficulties.
Future Directions
Future research should rigorously examine the
relationship between school climate and bullying
behaviors, given that a positive school climate
may be a necessary, but not sufficient, factor
for effective bullying prevention and intervention.
Other factors like positive leadership, healthy
teacher functioning, school-based mental health
programs, and effective home-school communi-
cation are all factors that contribute to a healthy
school climate. Therefore, future research should
include component studies where the different
elements of school climate and bullying preven-
tion and intervention programs are tested to better
understand which elements are robust and affect
positive, lasting change.
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... Καθώς το σχολικό κλίμα αποτελεί μια ευρεία έννοια, οι μελέτες σχετικά με τις αντιλήψεις των μαθητών για τις ποικίλες διαστάσεις του σχολικού κλίματος και τη σχέση τους με τα προβλήματα εκφοβισμού / θυματοποίησης, συνοψίζονται σε τρεις κατηγορίες παραγόντων: α) ασφάλεια (Amitai et al., 2010. Beaudoin & Roberge, 2015. Berry, Swearer, & Wang, 2013. Mallet, Richard, & Schneider, 2012, β) εμπλοκή (Amitai et al., 2010. Astor et al., 2005. Ato & Cerezo, 2010. Dishion et al., 2010. Mallet et al., 2012, γ) περιβάλλον (Amitai et al., 2010. Astor et al., 2005. Bandyopadhyay, Cornell, & Konold, 2009. Cornell, Klein, & Konold,, 2012. Οι διαστάσεις αυτές είναι πιθανόν να αποτελέσουν παράγον ...
... Επίσης, παρατηρείται διαφοροποίηση στις σχετικές αντιλήψεις μεταξύ των εμπλεκόμενων και μη μαθητών στο φαινόμενο, ανάλογα με το ρόλο που αναλαμβάνουν. Οι μαθητέςθύματα αισθάνονται μεγαλύτερη ανασφάλεια στο σχολικό περιβάλλον συγκριτικά με τους θύτες και τους μη εμπλεκομένους (Berry et al., 2013. Mallet et al., 2012. ...
... Mallet et al., 2012. Διαπιστώθηκε ότι η έλλειψη υποστήριξης και σεβασμού των μαθητών από τους εκπαιδευτικούς και γενικότερα οι αρνητικές σχέσεις μεταξύ τους παρέχουν ένα κοινωνικό πλαίσιο που επιτρέπει την εκδήλωση περιστατικών εκφοβισμούθυματοποίησης(Berry et al., 2013). Παρόμοια ευρήματα παρατηρήθηκαν και για τις σχέσεις των συνομηλίκων μεταξύ τους(Amitai et al., 2010. ...
... Adolescents spend a lot of time at school, and school climate affects their emotional and social development and is an important factor in maintaining social trust between young people and adults (Morrill & Musheno, 2018). School climate is closely related to peer victimization (Hong & Espelage, 2012;Wang, Berry & Swearer, 2013), which generally occurs in schools where the level of supervision is low (Rigby, 2000) and where students have negative relationships with teachers (Longobardi, Iotti, Jungert, & Settanni, 2018;Wang, Swearer, Lembeck, Collins, & Berry, 2015). The higher the rates of student-student and teacher-student conflict at school, the greater the probability of oppositional, attentional, and conduct problems (Bauman & Del Rio, 2006). ...
... Furthermore, our findings suggested that studying in an educational environment with discipline problems (variable Students do not listen to what the teacher says) increased the probability of being a victim of peer physical aggression. As previous literature has noted, school climate and discipline problems are associated with peer victimization (Cornell et al., 2015;Hong & Espelage, 2012;Wang et al., 2013). It seems that both variables in connection to student-teacher relationships, lack of respect from teachers to students and disciplinary climate, illustrate the lack of respectfulness and social trust, which is supposed to be shared feelings and normally demand mutual desire of the involved parties to be properly established. ...
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Objective: This study investigates the connection between crime rates and victimization by peer physical aggression in Costa Rican schools. Although previous research has demonstrated that peer victimization is related to community crime, no study to date has examined its association with homicides and drug trafficking, two criminal offenses that are key in Latin America. Method: We combined information on crime rates and socioeconomic characteristics at the district level with the data on peer physical victimization, school climate and characteristics of student-teacher relationships, retrieved from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) questionnaire. In total, 6,866 adolescents were surveyed, with an average age of 15 years, attending 205 schools, located in 154 districts. In the estimated probit model, the introduction of a variable representing districts’ social development and of fixed effects, at school and district levels, helped us to deal with unobserved heterogeneity. Results: We found that attending schools situated in districts with higher homicide rates and cocaine confiscations increase the probability of suffering victimization by peer physical aggression at school, while attending schools with high economic, social and cultural status, that offer sports activities for students and which were situated in the districts with a high level of social development, decrease the possibility of peer physical victimization. Conclusions: These results suggest that interventions beyond school level are needed to ensure the safety of students inside of schools and thus effective preventive programs should address crime at the neighborhood level.
... Extensive literature has shown that victims of bullying were more likely to experience negative impacts on academic, physical, and mental health outcomes than peers who are not involved (e.g., Reijntjes, Kamphuis, Prinzie, & Telch, 2010). Among the variety of risk and protective factors associated with bullying and victimization (e.g., Ttofi & Farrington, 2012), fostering positive school climate has been recognized as one of the most effective approaches to reduce bullying and victimization in schools (Wang, Berry, & Swearer, 2013;Yang, Sharkey, Reed, Chen, & Dowdy, 2018). However, most studies investigating school climate and bullying victimization have focused on students' and teachers' perceptions (e.g., Low & Van Ryzin, 2014). ...
... Research has shown that parents play an important role in fostering positive school climate (Wang et al., 2013) and in addressing their child's bullying and victimization experience (Georgiou, 2008). There has been little and inconsistent empirical investigation regarding the association between school climate and bullying victimization from parents' perspective. ...
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To advance our scientific understanding about school climate and bullying victimization from the perspectives of both parents and cross-country comparisons, the present study examined the cross-country similarities and differences of the associations between overall school climate and 3 forms of bullying victimization between United States (U.S.; N ϭ 1,251) and Chinese (N ϭ 999) parents across elementary, middle, and high schools. Confirmatory factor analyses and measurement invariance tests were first conducted to examine the cross-country validity of the Delaware Bullying Victimization Survey-Home (DBVS-H) between U.S. and Chinese parents. Comparison of latent means of bullying victimization revealed that U.S. parents reported higher frequencies of social/relational and verbal bullying victimization compared with Chinese parents. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was then used to examine the cross-country differences of the relationship between school climate and bullying victimization. For parents in both China and the U.S., school climate was found to be significantly associated with 3 types of bullying victimization (i.e., physical, verbal, and social/relational). The negative associations between school climate and all 3 types of bullying victimization reported by U.S. parents were significantly stronger than those found in Chinese parents. Implications for bullying prevention efforts involving parents from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds were discussed. Impact and Implications This study is among the first to examine the association between parents' perceptions of school climate and bullying victimization among cross-country samples. It provides important implications for developing culturally responsive policies and antibullying strategies that address school safety concerns from parents, particularly among those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
... Addressing the school climate has been considered a critical way to prevent bullying (National School Climate Center 2007; U.S. Department of Education 2012). Consistent with social control theories, students in school climates defined by weak interpersonal bonds (e.g., lack of caring adults, no school connectedness, and low participation in school) are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors (Wang et al. 2013). Longitudinal findings supported this perspective by finding that school climates based on positive peer and student-teacher relationships and school connectedness were associated with decreases in peer victimization over time (Elsaesser et al. 2013;Loukas and Pasch 2013). ...
... Given prior research on the crucial role of school climate (Wang et al. 2013), the second hypothesis was that the influence of school climate on homophobic bullying might depend on the quality of GSA functioning. In line with other studies (Anderman 2002;Wang et al. 2014), this study incorporated measures of school climate at the individual as well as school levels: school climate aggregated at the school level represents a contextual measure of the Fig. 3 Expected probabilities of homophobic bullying based on the three-way interaction between school climate at the student level, GSA functioning, and gender identity. ...
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The presence of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools has been linked to low rates of bullying for lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning (LGBQ), transgender, and all students. However, little is known about how the heterogeneity in GSA functioning and school climates may affect these rates. This study examines whether a well-functioning GSA would limit the effect of a negative school climate as a risk factor for homophobic victimization experiences. The sample included 38,872 students (3401 LGBQ and 453 transgender) from 58 California high schools. Several independent databases were combined. Students reported on homophobic victimization, the school climate, and demographic information. At the school level, reports from all students were aggregated for school climate; reports from GSA members were aggregated on their perceptions of GSA functioning; publicly-available data were used for school characteristics. The results suggest that greater GSA functioning may be beneficial for all students in schools that have a negative school climate, and particularly protective for transgender students.
... Positive school climates are characterized by supportive student/teacher relationships, socioemotional support, school community, physical and psychological safety, meaningful participation, and shared learning goals (Eccles et al., 1993;De Pedro et al., 2016). Meanwhile, negative school climates are associated with increased bullying (Wang et al., 2013), absenteeism, anxiety, oppositional behavior (Hendron & Kearney, 2016), lower academic achievement (Coley & Baker, 2013), underage drinking, frequency of illicit drug use (Ryabov, 2015), and dropping out (Kotok et al., 2016). ...
Article
A positive school climate is strongly associated with enhanced student outcomes. With the disengagement of Black and Latinx youth living in poverty being at an all-time high, participation in sport-based youth development (SBYD) programs may enhance school climate, while capitalizing on existing interests. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a SBYD intervention on male students of color and school climate. Method: Using a mixed-methods quasi-experimental design, 32 male students of color (11 Black, 13 Latinx, 8 two or more races) participated in an SBYD intervention, twice a week for a total of 20 weeks (Ages 10–14, M = 11.46). School climate data were gathered at the beginning and the end of the school year. Student, teacher, and administrator focus groups and interviews were also conducted at the end of the year. Results: A statistically significant interaction was found between students who participated in the intervention and those who did not participate in the intervention, on school climate measures F(1,74) = 15.00, p < .01, partial η² = .17. Overall school climate scores were statistically significantly greater in the intervention group (F(1,74) = 19.22, p < .01, partial η² = .20) at the end of the year. Focus group data also revealed themes of improved school connectedness, peer support, the acquisition of social/civic skills, and school engagement. Conclusions: A SBYD intervention may be a viable strategy to engage disconnected students and increase school climate perceptions, particularly among male students of color living in poverty.
... Several studies have shown that this fear and truancy due to bullying can lead to mental problems and lower academic achievement of students [15,39]. Supporting this evidence, previous studies have emphasized the requirements of appropriate anti-bullying programs at schools [40][41][42][43][44][45]. It is therefore likely that learning outcomes could be improved through antischool bullying strategies like school/classroom rules and policies, curriculum materials, parents/teachers trainings and meetings, disciplinary methods and improved playground supervision [46,47]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Bullying is an emerging risk factor for poor mental health outcomes adversely affecting children and adolescents. However, it has rarely caught the attention of the health and education sector due to lack of evidence in many countries including Nepal. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and factors associated with bullying behavior among adolescent students in Nepal. Methods We used nationally representative data from the Nepal Global School-Based Student Health Survey that involved two-stage cluster sampling design with the use of a standard set of self-administered questionnaires. Complex sample analysis was done to determine the prevalence and correlates of bullying among 6529 students of 68 schools studying in grade 7 to 11 using descriptive analysis and multivariable logistic regression. Results The overall prevalence of bullying among Nepalese school adolescents was 51% (55.67% in male and 46.17% in female). Bullied adolescents more commonly reported mental health problems with higher risk of loneliness (aOR 1.36, 95% CI: 1.12, 1.64), anxiety (aOR 2.04, 95% CI: 1.65, 2.52), suicide attempt (aOR 2.08, 95% CI: 1.54, 2.81), school absenteeism due to fear (aOR 1.72, 95% CI: 1.34, 2.21) and school truancy (aOR 1.48, 95% CI: 1.17, 1.87). A significant association was seen between bullying victimization and negative health behaviors like involvement in physical fights (aOR 3.64, 95% CI: 2.94, 4.51) and tobacco use (aOR 2.05, 95% CI: 1.15, 3.65). Conclusion School bullying is significantly associated with mental health factors like loneliness, anxiety, suicide attempt, school absenteeism and risky behavioral factors like smokeless tobacco use and involvement in physical fight. The insights provided by these findings have important implications for planning anti-bullying strategies in school settings in the Nepalese context.
... This finding echoes the current literature on school climate, which indicates that students who attend schools with a positive climate report higher school satisfaction and wellbeing (Orpinas and Raczynski 2016, Stiglbauer et al. 2013, Zullig, Huebner, and Patton 2011. Improving the school climate can be an effective strategy to reduce bullying (Wang, Berry, and Swearer 2013). ...
Article
Students with disabilities are frequently victimized or marginalized at school. However, little is known from the perspective of youth with disabilities about their experiences of victimization, coping, and protection. The current study examined experiences of school victimization and identified factors that reduced victimization, created a welcoming environment, or improved coping. Based on ten in-depth interviews, five themes emerged: victimization specific to disability was common; some schools were the source of victimization; support from educators, family, and peers reduced victimization; blending with classmates and educating peers helped to overcome victimization; and some disability characteristics limited the strategies to cope with victimization. Both peers and schools were the source of victimization in some situations and the source of coping in others. Findings reinforce the importance of family, peers, and school support to prevent victimization, as aggression is less likely to occur in environments that embrace diversity and support children with disabilities. • Points of Interest • In this study, we heard from students in the United States living with a disability about how that disability shaped their friendships, relationships with family, and relationships with school personnel. • Youth with disabilities experienced physical (e.g., hitting or punching), verbal (e.g., name-calling), and relational victimization (e.g., spreading rumors or leaving someone out of a group on purpose); much of it was specific to their disability. • The support from family, peers, and school staff was important to protect youth with a disability from bullying and to help them cope with victimization. • Youth experienced protection and support from participating in disability-specific summer camps, attending schools with like-minded peers (e.g., art school), and educating peers and school staff about their disability. • Participants described significant difficulty getting the disability-related accommodations (e.g., wheelchair-accessible school bus, permission to carry blood glucose meter at school) they needed at school, which are required by law in the United States. This difficulty getting accommodations lead to feelings of victimization from school staff.
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This study conducted to investigate perceived peer support and autonomy among boarding school students and its correlation with their self-esteem. Among 131 students from two selected boarding schools been the participant of this study. The researchers applied quantitative method in collecting data. The questionnaire adopted for this research was developed by Yueming Jia et al, (2009) and Way et al. (2007). The data showns that boarding school students perceived high level of peer support and autonomy. This due to amount of time they spend together in school hours and in the dormitory. They got the chances to to get involved in the decision-making process of the school like school regulation, teaching-learning activities and sports among classes. However, the study also found that there is no correlation between perceived peer support, autonomy and boarding school students’ self-esteem. This finding contradicted former studies which shows that social interaction with peer partly affect students’ mental health and self-esteem.
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The empirical evidence on bullying mainly comes from studies conducted in the established democratic societies. However, studies on risk factors, psychological and social consequences of bullying in postwar, postsocialist West Balkan countries are relatively scarce. We utilize Bronfenbrenner's theory of social-ecological development in postwar, postsocialist context, aiming to review existing literature on complex interactions of actors within a child's environment and their impact on bullying behavior. Apart from focusing on immediate influences of families and schools, we also aimed at extending our analysis by observing the interplay of micro-, meso-, exo-and macrosystem to identify broader environmental influences on bullying behavior among children in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina. Synthesis of findings from existing studies shows that although war ended in 1995, the macroenvironmental influences, resulting from changes imposed by postsocialist transition, ethnic tensions, segregation based on nationality and lack of consensus among politicians of three conflicted ethnical groups, create culture that perpetrates various forms of violent behavior in families, schools and society.
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The purpose of this study was to assess the nature and extent of student attitudes toward bullying. We investigated the consistency and prevalence of student attitudes across gender, race, socioeco-nomic status, and grade level. We also assessed whether students with positive attitudes toward peer aggression and students with higher trait anger were especially prone to support a normative structure that encourages bullying. Based on a data set including 6 middle schools and over 2,400 students, our results indicate that a culture of bullying is a pervasive phenomenon among middle school students and should be an important consideration in bullying prevention efforts.
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In this study, a structural equations model representing the causal relationships among the variables researched in James Comer's School Development Program (1981, 1986, 1988) was proposed, and a modified subset of the model was estimated and tested using structural equations modeling (Joreskog & Sorbom, 1989). Developed through synthesis of the writings of Comer and his colleagues, this model postulates that school climate has a direct influence on classroom climate, social behavior, student self-concept, and student achievement. The modified model suggests that in addition to the direct paths, the influence of school climate on student achievement and social behavior is mediated by classroom climate and self-concept. Classroom climate directly affects self-concept, and behavior directly affects achievement. Data used were obtained through the Yale Child Study Center. The responses of 127 students from eleven inner-city, elementary schools in Norfolk, Virginia, were used to test the proposed structural model.^ Initial evaluation of the measurement model showed lack of construct distinction between school and classroom climate. These two variables were collapsed into one: classroom climate, because analysis of the variance composition of the climate measures showed variation of climate by class within school, but little variation across schools. Estimation and testing of the just-identified model using LISREL VII, and $\chi\sp2$ difference tests, resulted in significant paths from classroom climate to self-concept, from self-concept to behavior, and from behavior to achievement. These results suggest that the effect of classroom climate on achievement is mediated by self-concept and behavior, and that the effect of self-concept on achievement is mediated by student behavior. This three-path model accounted for about 40% of the variance in self-concept, 62% of the variance in behavior, and 22% of the variance in achievement. A Tucker-Lewis index of.97 signified a good fit of this trimmed model to the data. The hypothesized model based on Comer's School Development Program was therefore supported in part by the data, strengthening the theory that climate and self-concept influence student achievement.
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The purpose of this study was to describe the means, variability, internal consistency reliability, and structural validity evidence of the ClassMaps Survey, a measure of student perceptions of classroom learning environments. The ClassMaps Survey is a 55-item student rating scale of eight important classroom characteristics. The survey provides a brief, relevant, and conceptually simple appraisal of students' perceptions of the classroom conditions that contribute to academic engagement. Participants were 345 third- fourth-, and fifth-grade students drawn from a public school in the Midwest and a second in the Northeast. Results demonstrated that 53 of the 55 survey items loaded onto their predicted subscale, subscale alphas were at or above .75, and the survey means were relatively consistent across grade and gender. Results suggest that the ClassMaps Survey is a promising measure that captures students' perspectives of classroom environments so they can be used to plan and implement classwide interventions.
Chapter
This chapter focuses on the issue of bullying, which has grown as a significant concern among school personnel, students, and parents in the past few decades. The literature on school disciplinary procedures, social-emotional learning approaches, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and cognitive-behavioral treatment for aggressive behavior are reviewed and form the foundation for an individualized mental health assessment and treatment approach for working with students who bully others. This chapter provides a framework for bullying as a mental health issue and emphasizes the importance of schools, communities, and families working together in order to create a culture where bullying is not rewarded, supported, nor accepted. We describe the Target Bullying Intervention Program (T-BIP), which was designed to evaluate and address the mental health issues that may be underlying bullying behaviors.
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School environments vary greatly. Whereas some schools feel friendly, inviting, and supportive, others feel exclusionary, unwelcoming, and even unsafe. The feelings and attitudes that are elicited by a school's environment are referred to as school climate. Although it is difficult to provide a concise definition for school climate, most researchers agree that it is a multidimensional construct that includes physical, social, and academic dimensions. The physical dimension includes: Appearance of the school building and its classrooms; School size and ratio of students to teachers in the classroom; Order and organization of classrooms in the school; Availability of resources; and Safety and comfort. The social dimension includes: Quality of interpersonal relationships between and among students, teachers, and staff; Equitable and fair treatment of students by teachers and staff; Degree of competition and social comparison between students; and Degree to which students, teachers, and staff contribute to decision-making at the school. The academic dimension includes: Quality of instruction; Teacher expectations for student achievement; and Monitoring student progress and promptly reporting results to students and parents. Rating School Climate How students, teachers, and staff feel about their school climate underlies individual attitudes, behaviors, and group norms. Schools that feel safe, for instance, foster high-quality relationships among students and teachers while decreasing the probability of violence. However, it is important to note that the climate of a school is not necessarily experienced in the same way by all of its members. Rather, there is variability in individual perceptions of a school's climate, and researchers propose that it is the subjective perception of the environment that influences individual student outcomes. Thus, if a student feels that a teacher does not care about her, this perception will impact the student's behavior in the classroom. Moreover, individual characteristics may impact these perceptions so that students who are aggressive may perceive their school climate more negatively than those who are not. Because of the importance of individual perceptions, schools often assess how students feel about their school. A number of assessment instruments are available for examining student perceptions of school climate, including the Elementary and Middle School Climate Survey (Haynes, Emmons, & Comer, 1993), the Quality of School Life Scale (Epstein & McPartland, 1976), and the Elementary School Environment Scale (Sinclair, 1970). Schools may use these instruments as-is, but may also modify them to create their own. No instrument assesses every aspect of school climate. Nonetheless, findings from such surveys provide a glimpse into how students feel about certain dimensions of the school's climate and allow school personnel to take the initial steps to improving their quality.
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The present study examined the effectiveness of a bully prevention program counselors may use to modify teachers' knowledge/use of bullying intervention skills, teachers' self‐efficacy, and students' classroom bullying behaviors. Participants attended 3 training sessions and participated on a support team. The findings indicated that the treatment program effectively increased teachers' knowledge/use of intervention skills, teachers' personal self‐efficacy, and self‐efficacy related to working with specific types of children and reduced classroom bullying as measured by disciplinary referrals.
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This study examined factors that influence a student's willingness to seek help for a threat of violence. The sample consisted of 542 middle school students who completed an anonymous survey that asked students how likely they would be to seek help in response to being bullied or threatened. The survey also included measures of type of bullying, attitudes toward aggressive behavior, and perceptions of teacher tolerance for bullying. Stepwise multiple regression analyses indicated that willingness to seek help is lower in higher grade levels and among males. Students who hold aggressive attitudes and perceive the school climate to be tolerant of bullying were less likely to report a willingness to seek help. Implications for improving student willingness to seek help are discussed.