"I Am Not Scared" Project
School Characteristics as Predictors of Bullying and Victimization Among Greek Middle School Students
Kapari Konstantina, Stavrou Pilios-Dimitris
International Journal of Violence and School
bullying, victimization, school climate, teacher intervention, peer intervention
Policy Makers, Teachers, Researchers.
21 - 100 pages
The present study investigates the association of school climate and school’s response to bullying incidents with bullying and victimization in a sample of 114 students drawn from three Greek public middle schools.
As far as the construct of “school climate” is concerned, the current study is focused on the students’ perceptions about dimensions of the school climate which have been linked either with bullying or with school violence in previous studies from the international literature. The examined dimensions of school climate are the following: (a) sense of fairness, (b) school belonging, (c) authoritarianism, (d) fear of school violence, and (e) discipline.
On the other hand, the construct of “school’s response to bullying” encompasses: (a) peer intervention, (b) teacher intervention, and (c) adult awareness of bullying.
In the correlational analysis, bullying and victimization were associated with the examined dimensions of school climate. More specifically, in schools with high levels of bullying, students consider their treatment by adults to be unequal, the rules to be unfair, and student participation in decision-making to be very limited. There has been also found a significant positive correlation between bullying and authoritarian practices of enforcing discipline in the school. It seems that levels of bullying are higher in schools where teachers use authoritarian and inflexible practices to cope with student misbehavior. This finding is also confirmed by other studies. As far as the discipline is concerned, this school climate variable is negatively associated with bullying as well as with victimization.
Regarding to “school’s response to bullying”, the results of the current study emphasize the role of the peer group in the manifestation of bullying behaviors in school grounds. Besides peer intervention, teacher intervention is also an important predictor of bullying. In conclusion, a systemic change of school climate and social interactions among the members of the school community is needed.
The focus of this pilot study has been to further understand why the phenomenon of bullying/victimization flourishes in some schools although it is rare in others. In order to investigate this, some contextual factors were examined, such as the school climate, and the school’s response to bullying incidents.
The participants were 114 secondary school students (58 female, 56 male) drawn from three Greek public middle schools: two urban schools situated in Athens and one rural school situated on the island of Zakynthos. The questionnaires were administered in class by the researchers and the importance of answering truthfully was emphasized. Data have been analyzed using correlations (Pearson r) and multiple regression analysis.
The findings of the study are very interesting and reliable. School climate and school’s response have proved to be correlated with bullying, and the results indicate the measures should be taken to deal with the problem. An interesting implication is that when the teachers turn a blind eye and tolerate or ignore the episodes of school bullying, then the students perceive the aggressive behavior as acceptable and natural. This is a factor that should be taken into account when investigating good practices in the field.
In conclusion, the present study reaffirms results of previous investigations demonstrating the link between bullying/victimization phenomena and internal characteristics of the school setting.
Psychology in the Schools, Vol. 47(4), 2010
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com)
I Am Not Scared Project
Copyright 2017 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission