Online Program

Perceptions of bullying victimization and perpetration among elementary school students

Monday, November 2, 2015

Andrew Peachey, DrPH, Department of Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Stephanie Baller, PhD, Department of Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Jeanne Wenos, P.E.D., Department of Health Sciences, Masters of Occupational Therapy Program, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Introduction: Bullying incidents in elementary schools are linked to a range of behaviors where perpetrators often fail to recognize their hostility and victims feel defenseless. Understanding the roles of children as perpetrators or as victims may lend additional insight into the development of approaches that extinguish targeted behaviors while enhancing prosocial behaviors to enhance learning.

Methods: School counselors administered the Forms of Bullying Scale-Victim (FBS-V) and the Forms of Bullying Scale-Perpetrator (FBS-P) to children (n=279) in grades 3-5.

Results: The FBS-V and FBS-P demonstrated high internal consistency (α=0.90 and α=0.91). The most frequently reported bullying victimization experiences included: being left out of a group (66%), being called names (55%), and having secrets told (55%). Property damage (43%) and physical injury (31%) were less common (p≤0.001). The most frequently reported bullying acts perpetrated were name calling (22%) and leaving someone out of a group (21%).  Victimization scores (M=1.98, sd=0.96) were significantly higher than Perpetrator scores (M=1.20, sd=0.44) (p<0.001).  Perpetrator scores were higher among boys (M=1.27, sd=0.54) than among girls (M=1.13, sd=0.32)(p=0.01).  Neither FBS-V nor FBS-P differed between the three grade levels.  Victimization scores were significantly correlated with perpetrator scores (rs=0.311, p<0.001).   

Conclusions:  The FBS, which identifies children who need support as victims and/or perpetrators, describes conflicts from the students’ perspective. Differences in perpetrator/victim scores may indicate that perpetrators targeted more than one victim, were victims themselves, or failed to recognize their behaviors. School personnel are encouraged to identify children’s roles and associated perspectives thereby extinguishing bullying patterns in the school environment.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the variations in bullying behaviors among elementary school children. Identify roles associated with bullying behaviors. Explain the differences in patterns of bullying behaviors based upon gender among elementary school children. Formulate strategies to administer the FBS within schools to equip personnel with a tool to monitor and improve school climate.

Keyword(s): Child Health, Youth Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator on several quantitative and qualitative research studies focusing on the built and social determinants of health. My research interests include injury prevention, including bullying, and physical activity.
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.