Student and teacher perceptions of school social climate and attitudes toward bullying: Implications for intervention
The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of bullying within schools, specifically perceptions of school social climate and attitudes toward bullying among students and teachers. The present investigation consisted of two separate phases: (1) a measure validation phase, and (2) a main study phase. As the present investigation was the first study to examine the validity of the Thoughts About School Measure (TAS; Song & Swearer, 1999), Phase I was designed to verify the TAS as an appropriate measure of school social climate. The correlations between the TAS and the School Climate Surveys (SCS; Emmons, Haynes, & Comer, 2002) were examined for both students and teachers to determine whether the TAS was an appropriate measure of school social climate for the main study. Phase II examined perceived school social climate and attitudes toward bullying for both students and teachers. Participants included 438 students (250 female and 188 male) and 127 teachers (95 female and 32 male) from three Midwestern middle schools. The Bully Survey - Student and Teacher Versions (Swearer, 2001, 2003) was used to measure bullying behaviors and attitudes toward bullying.
Phase I results revealed a moderate to strong positive correlation between the TAS and SCS for both students and teachers. Results from Phase II indicated that, in general, teachers held more positive perceptions of their school social climate than students. For students, as perceptions of positive school social climate increased, pro-bullying attitudes decreased. Consistently across schools, students not involved in bullying reported more positive views of the school social environment, followed by bystanders, victims, bullies, and bully-victims, respectively. Further, both boys and girls were equally likely to report involvement in bullying. Finally, the predictors of perceived school social climate and attitudes toward bullying correctly predicted student involvement in bullying only slightly better than chance. Implications for the present investigation as well as limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.
0514: School administration