Learning Environments Research

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 183–199 | Cite as

Bullying behaviour, intentions and classroom ecology

Original Paper

Abstract

Anti-bullying commitment across school communities is seen as crucial to the effectiveness of interventions. This exploratory study used a mixed-methods design to investigate bullying behaviour, intentions and aspects of the classroom ecology within the context of an anti-bullying initiative that was launched with a declaration of commitment. Across the sample of 14 primary school classes, containing 338 children aged 8–11 years, changes over time in peer-assessed and self-reported bullying and victimisation were found to be associated with changes in pupils’ sense of school belonging and perceptions of their classroom climate. Using a newly-developed theory of planned behaviour measure, changes in bullying were found to be associated with pupils’ intentions and perceived control with regard to engagement in bullying behaviour. No differences were found between intervention and comparison classes on any of the pupil outcome measures. However teachers of intervention classes reported a relative increase in perceived control over undertaking anti-bullying work with their class. The role of the class as a meaningful unit of analysis in the investigation of ecological-systemic bullying interventions in primary schools is highlighted.

Keywords

Bullying Classroom climate Intentions Intervention School belonging Victimisation 

References

  1. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behaviour. Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I. (2002). Constructing a TOPB questionnaire: Conceptual and methodological considerations. Retrieved from 05.10.10 http://people.umass.edu/aizen/pdf/tpb.measurement.pdf.
  3. Andreou, E., Didaskalou, E., & Vlachou, A. (2008). Outcomes of a curriculum-based anti-bullying intervention programme on students’ attitudes and behaviour. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 13, 235–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., Zeira, A., & Vinokur, A. (2002). School climate, observed risky behaviours and victimization as predictors of high school students’ fear and judgements of school violence as a problem. Health Education and Behaviour, 29, 716–736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beran, T. N., Tutty, L., & Steinrath, G. (2004). The evaluation of a bullying prevention programme for primary schools. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 19, 99–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bosworth, K., Espelage, D. L., & Simon, T. R. (1999). Factors associated with bullying behavior in middle school students. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 19, 341–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burnett, P. C. (2002). Teacher praise and feedback and students’ perceptions of the classroom environment. Educational Psychology, 22, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cornell, D. G., Sheras, P. L., & Cole, J. C. M. (2006). Assessment of bullying. In S. R. Jimerson & M. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of school violence and school safety: From research to practice (pp. 191–209). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  10. Department for Children Schools and Families, UK (DCSF). (2007). Anti-bullying charter. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.Google Scholar
  11. Eslea, M., & Smith, P. K. (1998). The long-term effectiveness of anti-bullying work in primary schools. Educational Research, 40, 203–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fraser, B. J. (1982). Development of short forms of several classroom environment scales. Journal of Educational Measurement, 19, 221–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fraser, B. J. (1998). Classroom environment instruments: Development, validity and applications. Learning Environments Research, 1, 7–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frederickson, N., Simmonds, E., Evans, L., & Soulsby, C. (2007). Assessing the social and affective outcomes of inclusion. British Journal of Special Education, 34, 105–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L. V. S., MacKenzie, E. P., & Broderick, C. J. (2005). Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the steps to respect programme. Developmental Psychology, 41, 479–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goodman, R., Meltzer, H., & Bailey, V. (1998). The strengths and difficulties questionnaire: A pilot study on the validity of the self-report version. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 7, 125–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gratton, L., Povey, R., & Clark-Carter, D. (2007). Promoting children’s fruit and vegetable consumption: Interventions using the theory of planned behaviour as a framework. British Journal of Health Psychology, 12, 639–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hawker, D. S. J., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimisation and psychosocial maladjustment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 41, 441–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Higgins, A., & Conner, M. (2003). Understanding adolescent smoking: The role of the Theory of Planned Behaviour and implementation intentions. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 8, 173–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Juvonen, J., Nishina, A., & Graham, S. (2001). Self-views versus peer perceptions of victim status among early adolescents. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), Peer harassment in school: The plight of the vulnerable and vicitimized (pp. 105–124). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kumpulainen, K., Rasanen, E., & Puura, K. (2001). Psychiatric disorders and the use of mental health services among children involved in bullying. Aggressive Behaviour, 27, 102–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leff, S. S., Power, T. J., & Goldstein, A. B. (2004). Outcome measures to assess the effectiveness of bullying-prevention programmes in the schools. In D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (Eds.), Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention (pp. 269–293). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  23. Limber, S. P., Nation, M., Tracy, A. J., Melton, G. B., & Vlerx, V. (2004). Implementation of the Olweus bullying prevention programme in the Southeastern United States. In P. K. Smith, D. Pepler, & K. Rigby (Eds.), Bullying in schools: How successful can interventions be? (pp. 55–79). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. MacKay, T. (2006). From the cradle to the grave: The declaration study. West Dumbartonshire, Scotland: West Dumbartonshire Council.Google Scholar
  25. Merrell, K. W., Gueldner, B. A., Ross, S. W., & Isava, D. M. (2008). How effective are school bullying intervention programmes? A meta-analysis of intervention research. School Psychology Quarterly, 23, 26–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miles, M., & Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Muris, P., Meesters, C., Eijkelenboom, A., & Vincken, M. (2004). The self-report version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: Its psychometric properties in 8–13-year-old non-clinical children. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43, 437–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nabuzoka, D., & Smith, P. K. (1993). Sociometric status and social behaviour of children with and without learning difficulties. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 34, 1435–1448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nesdale, D., Durkin, K., Maass, A., Kiesner, J., & Griffiths, J. A. (2008). Effects of group norms on children’s intentions to bully. Social Development, 17, 889–907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nishina, A., Juvonen, J., & Witkow, M. R. (2005). Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will make me feel sick: The psychosocial, somatic, and scholastic consequences of peer harassment. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Office of National Statistics. (2008). Special educational needs in England 2008. London: DfES.Google Scholar
  32. Olweus, D. (1991). Bully/victim problems among school children: Some basic facts and effects of a school based intervention Programme. In D. Pepler & K. Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 411–438). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  33. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  34. Powell, H., Mihalas, S., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., Suldo, S., & Daley, C. E. (2008). Mixed methods research in school psychology: A mixed methods investigation of trends in the literature. Psychology in the Schools, 45, 291–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rigby, K. (2002). New perspectives on bullying. London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  36. Rigby, K., & Johnson, B. (2006). Expressed readiness of Australian schoolchildren to act as bystanders in support of children who are being bullied. Educational Psychology, 26, 425–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rigby, K., & Slee, P. (1993). Dimensions of interpersonal relations among Australian children and implications for psychological well-being. Journal of Social Psychology, 133, 33–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Slee, P. T., & Mohyla, J. (2007). The PEACE Pack: an evaluation of interventions to reduce bullying in four Australian primary schools. Educational Research, 49, 103–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith, D. J., Schneider, B. H., Smith, P. K., & Ananiadou, K. (2004). The effectiveness of whole-school antibullying programmes: A synthesis of evaluation research. School Psychology Review, 33, 548–561.Google Scholar
  40. Solomon, D., Battistich, V., Kim, D., & Watson, M. (1997). Teacher practices associated with students’ sense of the classroom as a community. Social Psychology of Education, 1, 235–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Song, S. Y., & Stoiber, K. C. (2008). Children exposed to violence at school: An evidence-based intervention agenda for the “real” bullying problem. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 8, 235–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stassen Berger, K. (2007). Update on bullying at school: Science forgotten? Developmental Review, 27, 90–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stewart, D. W., Shamdasani, P. N., & Rook, D. W. (2006). Focus groups: Theory and practice. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  44. Swearer, S. M., & Espelage, D. L. (2004). Introduction: A social-ecological framework of bullying among youth. In D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (Eds.), Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention (pp. 1–12). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  45. Swearer, S. M., Espelage, D. L., & Napolitano, S. A. (2009). Bullying prevention and intervention: Realistic strategies for schools. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  46. Vaughn, S., Schumm, J. S., & Sinagub, J. (1996). Focus group interviews in education and psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  47. Viding, E., Simmonds, E., Petrides, K. V., & Frederickson, N. (2009). The contribution of callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems to bullying in early adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50, 471–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wolke, D., Woods, S., Bloomfield, L., & Karstadt, L. (2000). The association between direct and relational bullying and behaviour problems among primary school children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 989–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical, Educational and Health PsychologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Staffordshire Educational Psychology ServiceStaffordshireUK

Personalised recommendations