Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 33–44 | Cite as

Teacher Characteristics and Peer Victimization in Elementary Schools: A Classroom-Level Perspective

  • Beau OldenburgEmail author
  • Marijtje van Duijn
  • Miranda Sentse
  • Gijs Huitsing
  • Rozemarijn van der Ploeg
  • Christina Salmivalli
  • René Veenstra


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there is an association between teacher characteristics and peer victimization in elementary schools. We used data of 3,385 elementary school students (M age = 9.8) and 139 of their teachers (M age = 43.9) and employed Poisson regression analyses to explain the classroom victimization rate. Results showed a higher victimization rate in the classrooms of teachers who attributed bullying to external factors—factors outside of their control. In addition, the results suggest that both teachers’ perceived ability to handle bullying among students and teachers’ own bullying history were positively associated with the classroom victimization rate. We also took into account classroom composition characteristics and found lower victimization rates in multi-grade classrooms and in classrooms with older students. The results support the notion of an association between teacher characteristics and peer victimization. Findings are discussed with regards to current literature and suggestions for future research are made.


Teachers Bullying Peer victimization Schools Classroom characteristics 



This research is part of the Dutch KiVa project. KiVa has been financed by a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Education (Onderwijs Bewijs) to the last author. We are grateful to all students and teachers who participated in this study and all the colleagues working to realize the KiVa project. Furthermore, we would like to thank an anonymous reviewer for suggesting and providing useful references to the literature, which helped to strengthen the theoretical framework of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beau Oldenburg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marijtje van Duijn
    • 1
  • Miranda Sentse
    • 2
  • Gijs Huitsing
    • 1
  • Rozemarijn van der Ploeg
    • 1
  • Christina Salmivalli
    • 3
  • René Veenstra
    • 1
  1. 1.Interuniversity Centre for Social Science Theory and Methodology, Department of SociologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TurkuGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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