Bullying and Peer Victimization at School: Perceptual Differences Between Students and School Staff

Bradshaw, Catherine P.; Sawyer, Anne L.; O'Brennan, Lindsey M.
September 2007
School Psychology Review;2007, Vol. 36 Issue 3, p361
Academic Journal
Although bullying and other forms of peer victimization at school are a growing concern, there has been little research examining the potential differences between student and staff perceptions of the frequency of bullying, most common location and forms of bullying, severity of the problem, social norms related to bullying, and responses to witnessing bullying. The data for this study came from a district-wide survey of student (n = 15,185) and staff (n = 1.547) perceptions of and experiences with bullying conducted in 75 elementary, 20 middle, and 14 high schools. Results indicated that staff at all school levels (elementary, middle, and high) underestimated the number of students involved in frequent bullying. Both middle school students and staff tended to report the greatest exposure to and concern about bullying. Staff with greater efficacy for handling bullying situations were more likely to intervene and less likely to make the bullying situation worse. Staff members' own experiences with bullying were predictive of their attitudes toward bullying and perceived efficacy for handling a bullying situation. Implications for prevention and intervention by school psychologists are provided.


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