192464 An examination of the characteristics of passive and provocative victims of bullying

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sally Black, RN, PhD , Health Services, Saint Joseph's University, Plymouth Meeting, PA
Amanda Lee Tsafos , Saint Joseph's University, Haddonfield, NJ
Ericka Washington , Office of School Climate and Safety, The School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Growing awareness of the relationship between school attacks and bullying victimization has hastened anti-bullying policies in many school districts. Many of the most popular policies, such as peer mediation and zero tolerance fail to address the interpersonal dynamics of passive victims, provocative victims, bullies, and bystanders. This study used pre-existing data to investigate the unique characteristics of the larger social group. Of the 9,588 survey respondents, 13.1% self-reported as bullies, 22.7% as passive victims, 15.0% as provocative victims, and 49.2% as bystanders. Provocative victims reported significantly greater poly-victimization than passive victims (x2(8)=78.7, p<.001). Bullies (22.2%) reported significantly greater dislike for school than provocative victims (19.6%), passive victims (17.1%), and bystanders (14.0%) (x2(18)=266.6, p<.001). Bullies (90.2%) and bystanders (91.3%) reported more social connections with peers than passive victims (83.2%) and provocative victims (82.7%) (x2(15)=235.3, p<.001). Bullies and bystanders showed similarly low empathy levels, suggesting the need for interventions in both groups. Results suggest the application of learning theory as a way to improve school climate. Rather than using zero tolerance, which tends to be punitive, exclusionary and intolerant, adults should use bullying incidents as a teachable moment to teach children about empathy and social justice.

Learning Objectives:
After this session, participants will be able to: 1) Differentiate the roles of bullying participants; 2) Identify pro-social strategies for youth violence prevention; 3) Critically evaluate current policies in bullying prevention.

Keywords: Youth Violence, Child/Adolescent Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: PhD in Health Studies, MS in Health Education, Registered Nurse; eight years working in bullying prevention with approximately five published articles
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.