, Volume 43, Issue 3-4, pp 204-220
Date: 31 Mar 2009

A Social Disorganization Perspective on Bullying-Related Attitudes and Behaviors: The Influence of School Context

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Abstract

Social disorganization theory suggests that certain school-level indictors of disorder may be important predictors of bullying-related attitudes and behaviors. Multilevel analyses were conducted on bullying-related attitudes and experiences among 22,178 students in 95 elementary and middle schools. The intraclass correlation coefficients indicated that 0.6–2% of the variance in victimization, 5–10% of the variance in retaliatory attitudes, 5–6% of the variance in perceptions of safety, and 0.9% of the variance in perpetration of bullying was associated with the clustering of students within schools. Although the specific associations varied somewhat for elementary schools as compared to middle schools, the hierarchical linear modeling analyses generally suggested that school-level indicators of disorder (e.g., student–teacher ratio, concentration of student poverty, suspension rate, and student mobility) were significant predictors of bullying-related attitudes and experiences. Student-level characteristics (i.e., sex, ethnicity, status in school) were also relevant to students’ retaliatory attitudes, perceptions of safety, and involvement in bullying. Implications for school-based research and violence prevention are provided.