School climate in peer bullying: observers' and active participants' perceptions
Sonja Pečjak & Tina Pirc
Abstract: Peer bullying is a phenomenon present in all schools. The school as an institution has a major role in limiting peer bullying. The primary goal of the study was to determine how different groups of students perceived school climate in relation to peer bullying regarding their role in peer bullying (active participants: bullies, victims, bully-victims and non-active participants: observers). 414 students (from 18 primary and secondary schools) responded to The School Climate Bullying Survey (SCBS; Cornell, 2012), which measures the incidence of various forms of peer bullying and three dimensions of school climate (prevalence of teasing and bullying, aggressive attitudes, and willingness to seek help). The results showed that the active participants in peer bullying report a frequent presence of verbal and social bullying (54% and 40%, respectively) and a significantly lower frequency of physical and cyber bullying (14%). The largest differences between the groups of students were found in their perceptions of the prevalence of aggressive attitudes and willingness to seek help in a school context. In the perceptions of both of these dimensions we found a high degree of similarity between the groups of bullies and victim-bullies, and between the groups of victims and observers. The first two groups, when compared to the victims and observers, perceived to a greater extent that school allows aggression as a way of affirmation among peers and in school in general, and that neither teachers nor peers do not stop the bullying, which discourages the victims from seeking help from them. The results confirmed the existence of the association between students’ perceived school climate by bullying and their behavior (roles) in peer bullying.
Keywords: peer bullying, perceived school climate, bullies, victims, observers
Pečjak, S., & Pirc, T. (2017). School climate in peer bullying: observers' and active participants' perceptions. Psihološka obzorja, 26, 74–82. https://doi.org/10.20419/2017.26.470
Adair, V., Dixon, R. S., Moore, D. W., & Sutherland, C. M. (2000). Ask your mother not to make yummy sandwiches: Bullying in New Zealand secondary schools. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 35(2), 207–221.
Ajzen, I., & Madden, T. J. (1986). Prediction of goal-oriented behavior: Attitudes, intention and perceived behavioral control. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 22, 453–474. CrossRef
Bandyopadhyay, S., Cornell, D. G., & Konold, T. R. (2009). Validity of three school climate scales from the School Climate Bullying Survey. School Psychology Review, 38(3), 338–355.
Bauman, S., & Del Rio, A. (2006). Preservice teachers' response to bullying scenarios: Comparing physical, verbal, and relational bullying. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 219–231. CrossRef
Benitez, J. L., & Justicia, F. (2006). Bullying: Description and analysis of the phenomenon. Granada, Spain: University of Granada.
Berger, K. (2007). Update on bullying at school: Science forgotten? Developmental Review, 27, 90–126. CrossRef
Bradshaw, C., Sawyer, A., & O'Brennan, L. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: perceptual differences between students and school stuff. School Psychology Review, 35, 361–383.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (Ed.) (2004). Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on human development. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage.
Cohen, J., McCabe, E. M., Michelli, N. M., & Pickeral, T. (2009). School climate: Research, policy, practice, and teacher education. Teachers College Record, 111, 180–213.
Cook, C. R., Williams, K. R., Guerra, N. G., Kim, T. E., & Sadek, S. (2010). Predictors of bullying and victimization in childhood and adolescence: A meta-analytic investigation. School Psychology Quarterly, 25(2), 65–83. CrossRef
Cornell, D. (2012). The school climate bullying survey (SCBS): Description and research summary. Retrieved from http://curry.virginia.edu/uploads/resourceLibrary/School_Climate_Bullying_Survey_Description_for_Distribution_5-22-12.pdf
Cornell, D. G., & Brockenbrough, K. (2004). Identification of bullies and victims: A comparison of methods. Journal of School Violence, 3(2–3), 63–87. CrossRef
Cornell, D. & Sheras, P. (2003). School Climate Bullying Survey. Charlottesville, VA, USA: University of Virginia,Virginia Youth Violence Project.
Craig, K., Bell, D., & Leschied, A. (2011). Preservice teachers' knowledge and attitudes regarding school-based bullying. Canadian Journal of Education, 34(2), 21–33.
Craig, W. M., Pepler, D., Connolly, J., & Henderson, K. (2001). Dvelopmental context of peer harassment in early adolescence. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), Peer harassment in the school: The plight of the vulneable and victimized (pp. 242–262). New York, NY, USA: The Guilford Press.
Davis, S., & Nixon, C. (2011). What students say about bullying. Educational Leadership, 69(1), 18–23.
Denny, S., Peterson, E. R., Stuart, J., Utter, J., Bullen, P., Flemming, T., Ameratunga, S., Clark, T., & Milfont, T. (2015). Bystanders intervention, bullying, and victimization: A multilevel analysis of New Zealand high school. Journal of School Violence, 14(3), 245–272. CrossRef
Eliot, M., Cornell, D., Gregory, A., & Fan, X. (2008). Supportive school climate and student willingness to seek help for bullying and threats of violence. Journal of School Psychology, 48(6), 533–553. CrossRef
Fekkes, M., Pijpers, F. I., & Verloove-Vanhorick, S. P. (2005). Bullying: Who, what, when and where? Involvement of children, teachers and parents in bullying behavior. Health Educational Research, 20(1), 81–90. CrossRef
Goldstein, S. E., Young, A., & Bold, C. (2008). Relational aggression at school: Associations with school safety and social climate. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(6), 641–654. CrossRef
Gottfredson, G. D., Gottfredson, D. C., Payne, A. A., & Gottfredson, N. C. (2005). School climate predictors of school disorder: Results from a national study of delinquency prevention in schools. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 42(4), 414–444. CrossRef
Gregory, A., Cornell, D., Fan, X., Sheras, P., Shih, T. H., & Huang, F. (2010). Authoritative school discipline: High school practices associated with lower bullying and victimization. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2), 483–496. CrossRef
Hong, J. S., & Espelage, D. L. (2012). A review of research on bullying and peer victimization in school: An ecological system analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17(4), 311–322. CrossRef
Hunter, S. C., & Boyle, J. M. (2004). Appraisal and coping strategy use in victims of school bullying. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(1), 83–107. CrossRef
Kessel Schneider, S., O'Donnell, L., Sueve, A., & Coulter, R. W. S. (2012). Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students. Research and Practice, 102(1), 171–178. CrossRef
Kowalski, R. M., Giumetti, G. W., Schroeder, A. N., & Reese, H. H. (2012). Cyber bullying among college students: Evidence from multiple domains of college life. In L. A. Wankel & C. Wankel (Eds.), Misbehavior Online in Higher Education (pp. 293–321). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald. CrossRef
Lacey, A., & Cornell, D. (2011). The impact of bullying climate on schoolwide academic performance. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Washington, DC, USA.
Marsh. H. W., Nagengast, B., Morin, A. J., Parada, R. H., Craven, R. G., & Hamilton, L. R. (2011). Construct validity of the multidimensional structure of bullying and victimization: An application of exploratory structural equation modeling. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(3), 701–732. CrossRef
Muthén L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2010). Mplus user's guide (6th ed.). Los Angeles, CA, USA: Muthén & Muthén.
Olweus, D. (1993). Victimization by peers: Antecedents and long-term outcomes. In K. H. Rubin & J. B. Asendorpf (Eds.), Social withdrawal, inhibition, and shyness in childhood (pp. 315–41). Hillsdale, NJ, USA: LEA.
Olweus, D. (1995). Trpinčenje med učenci, kaj vemo in kaj lahko naredimo [Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do]. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Zavod RS za šolstvo.
Pearce, N., Cross, D., Monks, H., Waters, S., & Falconer, S. (2011). Current evidence of best practice in whole-school bullying intervention and its potential to inform cyberbullying interventions. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counseling, 21(1), 1–21. CrossRef
Pečjak, S. (2015). Medvrstniško nasilje v šoli [Peer bullying at school]. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete v Ljubljani.
Pečjak, S., & Pirc, T. (2015). Predictors and forms of intervention in peer bullying: Preservice teachers vs. teachers. The New Educational Review, 39(1), 264–276.
Pečjak, S., & Pirc, T. (2017). Bullying and perceived school climate: Victims' and bullies' perspective. Studia psychologica, 59(1), 22–33. CrossRef
Polak, A., Smrtnik Vitulić, H., & Vošnjak, Š. (2011). Doživljanje različnih vlog v situacijah vrstniškega nasilja [Experiencing different roles in situations of bullying]. Socialna pedagogika, 15(3), 205–222.
Posnic, K., & Košir, K. (2016). Medvrstniško nasilje, kot ga zaznavajo učitelji in učenci osnovne šole (Bullying in Basic School: the Perspectives of Teachers and Pupils). Revija za elementarno izobrazevanje, 9(3), 5.
Rigby, K. (2016). Bullying in Australian schools: Multiple perceptions of bullying. Paper presented at National Centre against Bullying Conference, 28th-29th July 2016, Melbourne. Retrived from http//www.kenrigby.net
Rigby, K., & Bagshaw, D. (2003). Prospects of adolescent students collaborating with teachers in addressing issues of bullying and conflict in schools. Educational Psychology, 23(5), 535–546. CrossRef
Salmivalli, C., & Voeten, M. (2004). Connections between attitudes, group norms, and behaviour in bullying situations. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28(3), 246–258. CrossRef
Skumavc, G. (2016). Spletno nadlegovanje in učenci s posebnimi potrebami [Cyberbullying in students with special needs] (unpublished master's thesis). Pedagoška fakulteta Univerze v Ljubljani, Slovenia.
Smith, P. K., Ananiadou, K., & Cowie, H. (2003). Intervention to reduce school bullying. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 48(9), 295–303. CrossRef
Smith, P. K., Mahdavi, J., Carvalho, M., Fisher, S., Russell, S., & Tippett, N. (2008). Cyberbullying: Its nature and impact in secondary school pupils. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(4), 376–385. CrossRef
Smith, P. K., Talamelli, L., Cowie, H., Naylor, P., & Chauhan, P. (2004). Profiles of non-victims, escaped victimis, continuing victims, and new victims in school bullying. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(4), 565–581. CrossRef
Stormshak, E., Bierman, K., Bruschi, C., Dodge, K., & Coie, J. (1999). The relation between behaviour and peer preference in different classroom contexts. Child Development, 70(1), 169–182. CrossRef
Sullivan, K. (2011). The anti-bullying handbook. London: Oxford University Press. CrossRef
Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: A systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7(1), 27–56. CrossRef
U.S. Department of Education (2015). Student report of bullying and cyber-bullying: Results from the 2013 school crime supplement to the national crime victimization survey. Washington, DC, USA: Author.
Waasdorp, T. E., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2011). Examining student responses to frequent bullying: a latent class approach. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(2), 336–352. CrossRef
Waasdorp, T. E., Pas, E. T., O'Brennan, L. M., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2011). A multilevel perspective on the climate of bullying: Discrepancies among students, school staff, and parents. Journal of School Violence, 10(2), 115–132. CrossRef
Wang, J., Iannotti, R. J., & Nansel, T. R. (2009). School bullying among adolescents in the United States: Physical, verbal, relational, and cyber. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(4), 368–375. CrossRef
Wong, D. S., Lok, D. P., Wing Lo, T., & Ma, S. K. (2008). School bullying among Hong Kong Chinese primary schoolchildren. Youth Society, 40(1), 35–54. CrossRef
World Health Organization (2004). School mobbing: Bullying and violence against children. Retrieved from http://www.acosoescolar.com/inicio/inicio.html