Advertisement

Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Psychological adjustment in bullies and victims of school violence

  • 480 Accesses

  • 31 Citations

Abstract

The present study examined psychosocial adjustment in the following four groups of students: victims, bullies, bully/victims and a control group of adolescents not involved in bullying or victimization problems. Psychosocial adjustment was measured considering as indicators: level of self-esteem, depressive symptomatology, perceived stress, feeling of loneliness, and a general measure of satisfaction with life. Participants (N=1319) were aged from 11 to 16 (47% male) and drawn from seven state secondary schools in Valencia (Spain). ANOVAs revealed significant differences among groups, reporting adolescents not involved a general better psychosocial adjustment; they had higher levels of self-esteem and satisfaction with life, and lower levels of depressive symptomatology, perceived stress and feeling of loneliness. The scores for this group were equivalent to those of bullies with respect to self-esteem, depressive symptomatology and loneliness. However, bullies perceived more stress and expressed less satisfaction with life, as did the other two groups, namely victims and bully/victims. Victims reported the strongest feelings of loneliness. Bully/victims seemed to share characteristics with both bullies and victims, though showing more similarities with the latter and a general poor psychosocial profile.

Résumé

Cette étude examine l’ajustement psychosocial de quatre groupes d’étudiants: victimes, bullies, bully/victimes et un groupe control d’adolescents non impliqués dans de problèmes de bullying ou victimisation. Les indicateurs qu’on a utilisés pour mesurer l’ajustement psychosocial sont: le niveau d’estime de soi, la symptomatologie dépressive, le stress perçu, le sentiment de solitude, et une mesuregénérale de satisfaction avec la propre vie. Les participants (n=1319), âgés de 11 à 16 ans (47% sont des garçons), étaient scolarisés dans sept établissements publics d’éducation secondaire de la Communauté de Valence (Espagne). Des analyses ANOVA ont montré des différences significatives entre les différents groupes. C’est le groupe d’adolescents non impliqués qui a montré le meilleur ajustement psychosocial, avec le plus haut niveau d’estime de soi et de satisfaction avec la propre vie, ainsi que le plus bas niveau de symptomatologie dépressive, de stress perçu et de sentiment de solitude. Les ponctuations en estime de soi, symptomatologie dépressive et solitude de ce dernier groupe sont très proches à celles obtenues par le groupe de bullies. Pourtant, les bullies, et aussi les deux groupes de victimes, ont montré plus de stress et une satisfaction mineur avec la propre vie. Les victimes en général ont informé des plus grands niveaux de solitude. Finalement, les bully/victimes ont montré des caractéristiques partagées avec les bullies et les victimes, bien qu’elles ont présenté plus de similitudes avec les dernières et un pauvre profil psychosocial en général.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Alsaker, F.D., & Olweus, D. (1992). Parental relationships, peer relationships, and the development of depressive tendencies in adolescence. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Washington, DC.

  2. Andreou, E. (2000). Bully/Victim problems and their association with psychological constructs in 8-to 12-year old Greek schoolchildren.Aggressive Behavior, 26, 49–56.

  3. Angold, A., & Costello, E.J. (1993). Depressive comorbidity in children and adolescentes: Empirical, theoretical and methodological sigues.American Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 1779–1791.

  4. Austin, S., & Joseph, S. (1996). Assessment of bully/victim problems in 8 to 11 years old.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 66, 447–456.

  5. Bowers, L., Smith, P.K., & Binney, V. (1994). Perceived family relationships of bullies, victims, and bully/victims in middle childhood.Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 11, 215–232.

  6. Brown, M.B., & Forsythe, A.B. (1974). The small sample behavior of some statistics which test the equality of several means.Technometrics, 16, 129–132.

  7. Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress.Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385–396.

  8. Craig, W.M., Henderson, K., & Murphy, J.G. (2000). Prospective teachers’ attitudes toward bullying and victimization.School Psychology International, 21, 5–21.

  9. Diener, E., Emmons, R.A., Larsen, R.J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale.Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.

  10. Elinoff, M.J., Chafouleas, S.M., & Sassu, K.A. (2004). Bullying: Considerations for defining and intervining in school settings.Psychology in the Schools, 41, 887–897.

  11. Eslea, M., Menesini, E., Morita, Y., O’Moore, M., Mora-Merchán, J., Pereira, B., & Smith, P. (2003). Friendship and loneliness among bullies and victims: Data from seven countries.Aggressive Behaviour, 30, 71–83.

  12. Estévez, E., Martínez, B., & Musitu, G. (2006). La autoestima en adolescentes agresores y vÍctimas en la escuela: La perspectiva multidimensional.Intervención Psicosocial, 12, 32–41.

  13. Estévez, E., Musitu, G., & Herrero, J. (2005). The influence of violent behavior and victimization at school on psychological distress: The role of parents and teachers.Adolescence, 40, 183–195.

  14. Flouri, E., & Buchanan A. (2002). Life satisfaction in teenage boys: The moderating Role of father involvement and bullying.Aggressive Behaviour, 28, 126–133.

  15. Garnefski, N., & Diekstra, R.F.W. (1997). Comorbidity of behavioral, emocional, and congnitive problems in adolescente.Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 26, 321–338.

  16. Ge, X., Best, K.M., Conger, R.M., & Simons, R.L. (1996). Parenting behaviors and the occurrence and co-occurrence of adolescent depressive symptoms and conduct problems.Developmental Psychology, 32, 717–731.

  17. Guterman, N.B., Hahm, H.C., & Cameron, M. (2002). Adolescent victimization and subsequent use of mental health counselling services.Journal of Adolescent Health, 30, 336–345.

  18. Hawley, P., & Vaughn, B. (2003). Aggression and adaptation: The bright side to bad behavior.Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 49, 239–244.

  19. Hodges, E.V.E., & Perry, D.G. (1999). Personal and interpersonal antecedents and consequences of victimization by peers.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 677–685.

  20. Houbre, B., Tarquinio, C., Thuillier, I., & Hergott, E. (2006). Bullying among students and its consequences on health.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 21, 183–208.

  21. Juvonen, J., Nishina, A., & Graham, S. (2000). Peer harassment, psychological adjustment, and school functioning in early adolescence.Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 349–359.

  22. Khatri, P., Kupersmidt, J.B., & Patterson, C. (2000). Aggression and peer victimization as predictors of self-reported behavioural and emotional adjustment.Aggressive Behavior, 26, 345–358.

  23. Kochenderfer, B.J., & Ladd, G.W. (1996). Peer victimization: Manifestations and relations to school adjustment in kindergarten.Journal of School Psychology, 34, 267–283.

  24. Kumpulainen, K., Räsänen, E., & Puura, K. (2001). Psychiatric disorders and the use of mental health services among children involved in bullying.Aggressive Behavior, 27, 102–110.

  25. Kupersmidt, J.B., Coie, J.D., & Dodge, K.A. (1990). Predicting disorder from peer social problems. In S.R. Asher & J.D. Coie (Eds.),Peer rejection in childhood (pp. 274–305). New York: Cambridge University Press.

  26. Ladd B., & Ladd, G.W. (2001). Variations in peer victimization: Relations to children’s maladjustment. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.),Peer harassment in school: The plight of the vulnerable and victimized (pp. 25–48). New York: Guilford Press.

  27. Little, T.D., Henrich, C.C., Jones, S.M., & Hawley, P.H. (2003). Disentangling the “whys” from the “whats” of aggressive behaviour.International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27, 122–133.

  28. MacDonald, J., Piquero, A., Valois, R., & Zullig, K. (2005). The relationship betwee life satisfaction, risk-taking behaviors, and youth violence.Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, 1495–1518.

  29. Mynard, H., & Joseph, S. (1997). Bully/Victim problema and their association with Eysenck’s personality dimensions in 8 to 13 years-olds.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 67, 51–54.

  30. Mynard, H., & Joseph, S. (2000). Development of the multidimensional peer-victimization scale.Aggressive Behavior, 26, 169–178.

  31. Newman, R.S, Murray, B., & Lussier, C. (2001). Confrontation with aggressive peers at school students’ reluctance to seek help from the teacher.Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 398–410.

  32. Olweus, D. (1978).Aggression in the schools: Bullies and whipping boys. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.

  33. Olweus, D. (1998).Conductas de acoso y amenaza entre escolares. Madrid: Morata.

  34. Olweus D. (2001). Peer harassment: A critical analysis and some important issues. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.),Peer harassment in school: The plight of the vulnerable and victimized (pp. 3–20). New York: Guilford Press.

  35. O’Moore, A.M. (1997). What do teachers need to know? In M. Elliot (Ed.),Bullying: A practical guide to coping for schools (pp. 151–166). Londres: Pitman/Kidscape.

  36. O’Moore, A.M., & Kirkham, C. (2001). Self-esteem and its relationship to bullying behaviour.Aggressive Behaviour, 27, 283–296.

  37. Radloff, L.S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population.Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–401.

  38. Rigby, K. (1994). Psychosocial functioning in families of Australian adolescent schoolchildren involved in bully/victim problems.Journal of Family Therapy, 16, 173–187.

  39. Rigby, K. (2001).Stop the bullying: a handbook for schools. Camberwell: Australian Council for Educational Research.

  40. Rigby, K., & Slee, P. (1992). Bullying among Australian school children: Reported behavior and attitudes toward victims.Journal of School Psychology, 131, 615–627.

  41. Rodríguez, N. (2004).Guerra en las aulas. Madrid: Temas de Hoy.

  42. Rosenberg, M. (1965).Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  43. Rosenberg, M. (1989).Society and the adolescent self-image. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

  44. Russell, D.W. (1996). UCLA Loneliness scale (version 3): Reliability, validity, and factor structure.Journal of Personality Assessment, 66, 20–40.

  45. Schwartz, D., Proctor L.J., & Chien, D.H. (2001). The aggressive victim of bullying: Emotional and behavioural dysregulation as a pathway to victimization by peers. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.),Peer harassment in school: The plight of the vulnerable and victimized (pp. 147–174). New York: Guilford Press.

  46. Slee, P.T. (1995). Peer victimization and its relationship to depression among Australian primary school students.Personal and Individual Differences, 18, 57–62.

  47. Storch, E.A., & Masia-Warner, C. (2004). The relationship of peer victimization to social anxiety and loneliness in adolescent females.Journal of Adolescence, 27, 351–362.

  48. Sun Y., & Tao, F. (2005). Correlations of school life satisfaction, self-esteem and coping style in middle school students.Chinese Mental Health Journal, 19, 741–744.

  49. Sweeting, H., Young, R., West, P., & Der, G. (2006). Peer victimization and depression in early-mid adolescence: A longitudinal study.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 577–594.

  50. Unnever, J.D. (2005). Bullies, aggressive victims, and victims: Are they distinct groups?Aggressive Behavior, 31, 153–171.

  51. Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., & Tremblay, R.E. (2000). Influence of deviant friends on delinquency: Searching for moderator variables.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28, 313–325.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Estefanía Estévez.

Additional information

This investigation was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Spain Research Grant SEJ2004-01742 and co-financed by the European Founds FEDER and the Area of Investigation and Technological Transference of the Valencian Government. The authors also would like to thank the school principals, teachers and students for their participation in this study, as well as Professor Nick Emler for his invaluable assistance in preparing this paper for publication.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Estévez, E., Murgui, S. & Musitu, G. Psychological adjustment in bullies and victims of school violence. Eur J Psychol Educ 24, 473 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03178762

Download citation

Key words

  • Bullying
  • Bully/victim
  • Psychosocial adjustment
  • School violence
  • Victimization