Individual and social network predictors of the short-term stability of bullying victimization in the United Kingdom and Germany
Sapouna, Maria; Wolke, Dieter; Vannini, Natalie; Watson, Scott; Woods, Sarah; Schneider, Wolfgang; Enz, Sibylle; Aylett, Ruth
Citation: Sapouna , M , Wolke , D , Vannini , N , Watson , S , Woods , S , Schneider , W , Enz , S & Aylett , R 2012 , ' Individual and social network predictors of the short-term stability of bullying victimization in the United Kingdom and Germany ' British Journal of Educational Psychology , vol 82 , no. 2 , pp. 225-240 . DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8279.2011.02022.x
Background. There is still relatively little research on the social context within which bullying develops and remains stable. Aim. This study examined the short-term stability of bullying victimization among primary school students in the United Kingdom and Germany (mean age, 8.9 years) and the individual and social network factors that contributed to remaining a victim of bullying. Sample. The sample consisted of 454 children (247 males and 207 females). Methods. Participants completed questionnaires on bullying victimization at three assessment points over a 9-week period. Other measures consisted of self-reported demographic, peer, and family relationship characteristics. Social network indices of density, reciprocity, and hierarchy were constructed using friendship and peer acceptance nominations. Results. Relative risk analyses indicated a six-fold increased risk of remaining a victim at consequent follow-ups, compared to a child not victimized at baseline becoming a victim over the follow-up period. Individual characteristics explained substantially more variance in the stability of bullying victimization than class-level factors. Hierarchical logistic regression analyses revealed that being victimized by siblings and being rejected by peers predicted remaining a victim over a 9-week period. Conclusions. Bullying victimization among primary school students proved moderately stable over a 9-week period. Individual characteristics were more influential in predicting the stable victim role than class-level factors. Our findings have implications for the identification of stable victims in primary school and early preventative bullying programs.
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