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Peer violence in the School Environment and Its Relationship with Subjective Well-Being and Perceived Social Support Among Children and Adolescents in Northeastern Brazil

Abstract

The general aim of this study was to analyse the relationship between peer violence in the school environment (bullying), subjective well-being and perceived social support from the perspective of 910 children and adolescents in Years 6 and 7 of primary school (M = 11.90 years old; SD = 1.21). The participants were taken from 27 primary schools—both state-run and private, urban and rural—in Cearà state (Brazil). The following instruments were used: the Peer Victimization and Aggression Scale (EVAP); the Social Support from Family and Friends Scale (SSA); an index of satisfaction with different developmental contexts (home, school, neighbourhood); and as indicators of subjective well-being, three scales (Single item on Overall Life Satisfaction, Personal Well-Being Index School Children, Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale). Results indicated that aggression and victimization behaviours correlated negatively with the three well-being indicators used, while social support and satisfaction with different developmental contexts correlated positively. When considering type of involvement in bullying, victims, perpetrators and perpetrator–victims all scored lower on subjective well-being than those not involved in bullying. A model is also presented that explains 42 % of well-being. Understanding how bullying relates to well-being and how social support and favourable developmental contexts can act as protective factors are particularly important when designing public policies aimed at intervening in violence prevention and promoting well-being in childhood and adolescence.

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Acknowledgments

This study received the support of Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) Foundation, Brazilian Ministry of Education, Brasília, DF 70040-020, Brazil (Num. BEX: 0717.13.4 and Num. BEX: 0715.13.1). Particular thanks are due to Barney Griffiths for translating the paper into English.

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Alcantara, S.C., González-Carrasco, M., Montserrat, C. et al. Peer violence in the School Environment and Its Relationship with Subjective Well-Being and Perceived Social Support Among Children and Adolescents in Northeastern Brazil. J Happiness Stud 18, 1507–1532 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9786-1

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Keywords

  • Peer violence in the school environment
  • Bullying
  • Subjective well-being
  • Social support
  • Childhood
  • Adolescence