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1 DEFINITION, TYPES AND PREVALENCE OF SCHOOL BULLYING AND VIOLENCE Peter K Smith Unit for School and Family Studies Goldsmiths College University of London.

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Presentation on theme: "1 DEFINITION, TYPES AND PREVALENCE OF SCHOOL BULLYING AND VIOLENCE Peter K Smith Unit for School and Family Studies Goldsmiths College University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 DEFINITION, TYPES AND PREVALENCE OF SCHOOL BULLYING AND VIOLENCE Peter K Smith Unit for School and Family Studies Goldsmiths College University of London

2 2 Overview uDefinitions of violence uDefinition of bullying uTypes of violence and bullying uMain ways of assessing violence and bullying uSome statistics on prevalence

3 3 Three definitions of ‘violence’ Encarta dictionary (1999): 1 – the use of physical force to injure somebody or damage something; 2 – the illegal use of unjustified force, or the effect created by the threat of this. Olweus (1999): Aggressive behaviour where the actor or perpetrator uses his or her own body or an object (including a weapon) to inflict (relatively serious) injury or discomfort upon another individual. World Health Organisation: The intentional use of physical and psychological force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal- development, or deprivation.

4 4 Shared and non-shared features of the definitions Shared features are normally that violence is (a) harmful or damaging, or at least threatens such harm or damage, and (b) is intended (accidental damage or hurt done by someone is not usually thought of as violent). But at least 5 areas of disagreement.

5 5 Disagreements in definition of violence - 1 Is violence necessarily physical? YES, according to Encarta (1) and Olweus. NO, according to Encarta (2) or WHO. Probably the most crucial issue. Limiting violence to physical acts makes it more restricted in focus, and perhaps easier to measure (physical acts of violence are probably easier to monitor than verbal or relational violence). It makes violence different from aggression. However, it clearly excludes other intentional harmful behaviours such as verbal abuse, social exclusion, nasty rumour spreading.

6 6 Disagreements in definition of violence - 2 Is violence necessarily against a person? NO, according to Encarta YES, according to Olweus, and possibly WHO. In other words, is vandalism (the malicious or deliberate defacement or destruction of somebody else’s property: Encarta 1999) included as violence? Does graffitti on the school walls, or intentional damage to school books or equipment, count as violence?

7 7 Disagreements in definition of violence - 3 Does violence actually have to be manifested as behaviour that damages someone or something, or is just the threat of this sufficient (as stated in Encarta (2) and WHO)? An emphasis on threatened as well as actual violence can justify the inclusion of measures such as feelings of insecurity.

8 8 Disagreements in definition of violence - 4 Is violence still violence if it is legal? NO according to Encarta (2), but implicitly YES in other definitions. If YES, a parent smacking a child is certainly violent. Maybe too a teacher disciplining a pupil, a policeman restraining a criminal, a judge sentencing an offender. But if NO, then are we assuming an acceptance of societal- defined ‘legality’? Might this be challenged?

9 9 Disagreements in definition of violence - 5 Does violence have to be done by somebody (Olweus), or can it be done more impersonally by a social group or an institution? The term ‘institutional violence’ suggests the latter; and allows us to consider the possibility of a school inflicting violence on its pupils, because of certain actions or policies.

10 10 BULLYING: more consensus on definition Generally agreed that bullying is a subset of aggression: namely aggression that involves (i)repetition, and (ii)imbalance of power

11 11 Definitions of bullying Repeated aggressive acts against someone who cannot easily defend themselves:  Farrington (1993): Bullying is repeated oppression of a less powerful person, physical or psychological, by a more powerful person.  Smith & Sharp (1994): The systematic abuse of power.  Rigby (2002): Bullying involves a desire to hurt + a harmful action + a power imbalance + (typically) repetition + an unjust use of power + evident enjoyment by the aggressor and generally a sense of being oppressed on the part of the victim.

12 12 Issues of threshold We need to decide at what level something becomes violence, or bullying. How serious does the harm have to be? Every day most of us experience minor hurts. Should violence be limited to describing quite serious blows, or insults or social provocations? Or can it include what French researchers have called ‘micro- violence’ or ‘incivilities’, relatively minor impolitenesses and infringements of rules (Debarbieux, Blaya and Vidal, 2003)? These might not count as violence by most definitions, but they may still be vital in understanding the origins of more serious school violence, and tackling it.

13 13 Types of violence and bullying uDirect physical attack uIndirect physical attack [e.g. on belongings, property] uDirect verbal attack [oral, letter, text, ] uIndirect verbal attack [spread rumours] uSocial exclusion from normal group activities [these last two being ‘relational’] uInstitutional aggression/manipulation [e.g. setting totally unrealistic goals]

14

15 Spreading nasty rumours

16 Social exclusion

17 17 Numbers Violence and bullying can be  One-to-one  By a small group or gang [against one, or against another group or gang]  By a whole class or school [wang-ta and jun-ta in Korean schools] and beyond the school setting -  By a large group [crowd, mob] [village]  By organisations [Greg Dyke: ‘the BBC was bullied by the Government’]  By a state or nation or alliance of nations

18 18 Sex differences; Age trends  Males relatively do more physical kinds of attacks  Females relatively do more relational kinds of attacks [usual findings]  Frequency tends to increase then decrease with age, but dependent on type and mode  Physical aggression peaks earlier than verbal, relational, institutional

19 19 ASSESSING: How do we find out about violence and bullying in schools? uAdult (teacher and parent) reports limited value as adults only aware of a fraction of what is going on uSelf-reports widely used in anonymous questionnaire, e.g. Olweus uPeer nominations maybe most reliable method for class based work uDirect observations avoid reporting bias but difficult and time-consuming uOther methods: in-depth interviews, focus groups, incident reports, etc

20 20 Correlations for victimization across methods [Card, 2003]

21 21 INCIDENCE of Violence and Bullying: Issues Besides the assessment method used, and the nature of the sample, we need to consider Intensity issues [e.g. how frequent, in self- report data; what proportion of peer nominations] Duration of reporting period [e.g. ever, last year, last month …] Translation of terms, for non-English data.

22 22 INCIDENCE of Violence and Bullying: Example 1 - TURKEY Alikasifoglu et al. (2004) survey of over 4,000 students in grades 9 to 11. Self-report questionnaire on experiences of: Fighting in last 12 months42% Injured in physical fight in last 12 months 7% Being bullied at school last term30% Bullied others at school last term19% Carrying weapon on school grounds last term 8%

23 23 INCIDENCE of Violence and Bullying: Example 2 - KOREA Kim et al. (2004) survey of over 1,700 middle school students, grades 7 and 8. Used Korean Peer Nomination Inventory for bullies and victims. Nominated by more than one classmate as: PerpetratorBoys 17.4% Girls 16.0% VictimBoys 16.2% Girls 12.0% Victim-PerpetratorBoys 10.% Girls 7.8% Not involvedBoys 56.3% Girls 64.2%

24 24 INCIDENCE of Violence and Bullying: Example 3 - USA Nansel et al. (2001) survey of over 15,000 students in grades 6 to 10. Self-report data on frequency of being bullied/ bullying others, in last term. %None1 or 2 times Sometimes Weekly Being bullied Bullying others

25 25 INCIDENCE of Violence and Bullying: Example 4 – cross-national study Morita et al. (2001) – report to Monbusho on cross-national study of bullying (or ijime) using same self-report questionnaire, on 10 to 14 year olds in Japan, England, Netherlands and Norway. Samples of several thousand in each country.

26 26 Percentages of pupils who reported being bullied, more than just once or twice in the last 6 months VICTIM TOTAL GIRL S BOYS ENGLAND NETHERLAND S NORWAY JAPAN

27 27 SUMMARY  Violence – several issues around definition  Bullying – more agreement on definition  Different types of violence and bullying  Main ways of assessing violence and bullying – not perfect agreement  Issues on prevalence and some statistics

28 28 References zCard, N.A. (2003). Victims of peer aggression: A meta-analytic review. Presented at Society for Research in Child Development biennial meeting, Tampa, USA, April. zDebarbieux, E., Blaya, C. & Vidal, D. (2003). Tackling violence in schools: A report from France. In P.K. Smith (ed.), Violence in schools: The response in Europe (pp.17-32). London & New York: RoutledgeFalmer. zEncarta World English Dictionary (1999). London: Bloomsbury Publishing. zFalikasifoglu, M., Erginoz, E., Ercan, O., Uysal, O., Kaymak, D.A. & Iiter, O. (2004). Violent behaviour among Turkish high school students and correlates of physical fighting. European Journal of Public Health, 14. zFarrington, D. (1993). Understanding and preventing bullying. In M Tonry (ed.), Crime and Justice: A review of research, vol. 17 (pp ). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. zKim, Y.S., Koh, Y-J. & Leventhal, B.L. (2004). Prevalence of school bullying in Korean middle school students. Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med., 158, zMorita, Y. (2001). Ijime no kokusai hikaku kenkyu [Cross-national comparative study of bullying]. Japan: Kaneko Shobo. zNansel, T.R., Overpeck, M.D., Pilla, R.S., Ruan, W.J., Simons-Morton, B. & Scheidt, P.C. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, zOlweus, D. (1999). Sweden. In P.K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. Junger-Tas, D. Olweus, R. Catalano & P. Slee (eds.), The nature of school bullying: A cross-national perspective, London & New York, Routledge, pp zRigby, K. (2002). New perspectives on bullying. London & Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley. zSmith, P.K. (ed.) (2003). Violence in schools: The response in Europe, London & New York, RoutledgeFalmer. zSmith, P. K., Cowie, H., Olafsson, R. & Liefooghe, A. (2002). Definitions of bullying: a comparison of terms used, and age and sex differences, in a 14-country international comparison. Child Development, 73, zSmith, P.K. & Sharp, S. (eds.) (1994). School bullying: Insights and perspectives. London: Routledge. zWorld Health Organisation. See fi-006:


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