SOCIO-EDUCATIONAL CORRELATES OF BULLYING IN THE SCHOOL CONTEXT
Keywords:bullying, victimization, separation from parents, truancy, school outcomes
Bullying is an increasingly common problem in schools, associated with negative educational outcomes for both bullies and victims. This study explored the socio-educational family and school variables related to bullying, victimization and positive behavior, such as age, gender, separation from parents, school results, and truancy. In this study 311 students (50.8% boys) have participated, they were aged between 6 and 16 years (M = 11.01, SD = 1.71), enrolled in primary school (47.3%) and in secondary school (52.7%), all were from urban areas. 43.8% of respondents were separated from one or both parents due to divorce (17.4%), parental death (6.1%), migration (20%) or abandonment (0.3%). Bullying, victimization and positive behavior were measured with one standardized scale; the data about school results and attendance of the students was collected from the school registers; family information was self-reported by participants. Because Cronbach’s Alpha for the positive behavior scale was 0.57, lower that 0.7, this scale was not considered for further data analysis. Empirical data for the study was collected before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mann-Whitney U test showed significant age differences: secondary school students scored higher in aggression than primary school students. We also found significant gender differences in bullying behavior: boys’ reported higher level of aggression. The Independent Sample Student’s t-test indicated gender differences in school results: the boys obtained lower school results in Language and Mathematics than the girls. Separation from one or both parents did not lead to significant differences in bullying behavior, but pupils separated from their parents had fewer school absences than their colleagues not separated from their parents. Pearson’s correlation indicated that students with higher bullying scores, also scored higher on victimization and had higher number of school absences, but had scored lower grades in Language and Mathematics. One-way ANOVA indicated that victimization was influenced by age and bullying was influenced by gender. Also, one-way ANOVA indicated an effect of bullying on school results. Two-way ANOVA showed an interaction effect between gender and separation from parents on bullying. When living with both parents, boys had higher bullying scores, but under separation condition, the boys scored slightly lower than girls. The implications of the results for education and counseling are discussed.
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