This study was designed to see whether children suffered from bullying in schools, and if so, what factors can affect this bullying. Therefore using a six item questionnaire, designed to collect bullying data, it has been found that there is a non significant relationship between genders and how often children are bullied, and whether having friends causes children to be bullied less. Although, a significant relationship was found between types of bullying and gender, and victims of bullying becoming bullies.
Bullying is a huge problem in all societies. Bullying is a type of aggressive behaviour (Manning et al 1978), which if let to become serious, can cause some severe consequences, such as loneliness in schools, which can lead to truancy. As Kochenderfer & Ladd (1996) found in children aged 5 to 6 years. At a very young and important age in children's learning, possible future development can be at risk. This can lead to lower skills capabilities e.g. athletic competence, social acceptance and global self-worth, (Boulton & Smith 1994) tested using the Harter Self-Perception Profile for Children, designed in 1985 (asks children aged 8 to 13 to pick a part of phrase pairs they felt represented their own situation and feelings. Victims of bullying from a young age can be susceptible to the future relationship difficulties; especially close relationships (Gilmartin 1987).
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Children generally suffer bullying of all different kinds; some of these are teasing, hitting, kicking, and the taking of money (Whitney & Smith 1993). For the bully, these forms of expression can be due to a number of personal issues with a particular victim, e.g. disability, racism, sexual harassment, or through boredom, to name a few (Whitney & Smith).
Type of bullying and gender of the victim generally seem to follow a pattern in previous research findings. For example, boys generally succumb to physical abuse (Eagly & Steffen 1986, Hyde 1984, Whitney & Smith 1993) and girls to social exclusion and rumour spreading (Whitney & Smith). Females generally show indirect aggression rather than physical violence (Björkqvist et al 1992), and aggression within their friendship groups (Crick & Grotpeter 1995). It has been suggested by Underwood (2003) that these types of aggression seen in females could be linked with their concern for adult perception of them, whereas boys worry less about this.
Research shows that boys are generally will bully other children more than girls do, but both girls and boys equally report being victims to bulling (Whitney & Smith 1993).
Children that have been bullied themselves do sometimes turn into bullies. Schwartz (2000) suggested that children that have been bullied retaliate their aggression towards others to release their feelings. 37% of the participants in a study by Viljoen, O'Neill & Sidhu (2005), identified themselves as "bully-victims", in comparison to 32% as "pure bullies", 23% as "not involved", and 8% as "pure victims".
Having friends can be helpful in protection against bullying in a school environment (Whitney & Smith 1993). Aggressive children have preferred to target those that have little to no friends (Hodges, Boivin, Vitaro & Bukowski 1999), but this is not always the case. Research by Asher and Dodge (1986) states that children that are highly liked can be threats to aggressive children. This is the perception of threat of the child's popularity within peers, described by Prinstein and Cillessen (2003).
On the basis of this knowledge, further research is to be conducted in areas of gender and bullying, victims becoming bullies and the impact of friendship on bullying. Therefore four hypotheses have been constructed with the aim to find out more about these areas.
Hypothesis one is that there will be a relationship between genders and how often children are bullied. Hypothesis two is that there will be an association between types of bullying and gender. Hypothesis three is that there is a relationship between being a victim of bullying and becoming a bully. Hypothesis 4 is that children with friends are bullied the same amount as those without friends.
A junior school was selected from a survey that collected 'bullying' data from 23 schools to identify intervention schemes appropriate for reducing bullying. 179 children from the school participated in the study. There were 81 boys and 98 girls.
Non experimental design self report method. The variables measured in situ are gender, how often bullied, type of bullying, bullying of others and number of friends.
Six item questionnaire on the topic of bullying. Questions were rated using a scale. Information was gathered from 'bullying data', funded by Department for Children, Schools and Families (DES) in the 1990's.
A school was selected from a survey of 23 schools in Sheffield previously used in collecting 'bullying' data to identify intervention schemes to reduce bullying. The children were given a six item questionnaire to fill in on the topic of bullying. Five of the questions related to bullying in the school term, and four of the questions allowed the child to answer 'I have not been bullied at school this term". Another question asked whether the child had friends, and another if they had bullied themselves.
No difference was found between gender and the amount of bullying. Therefore the result supported previous research conducted by Whitney & Smith 1993.
A significant difference was found between gender and the type of bullying. This supports research into types of bullying for boys by Eagly & Steffen 1986, Hyde 1984, Whitney & Smith 1993, and girls, (Whitney & Smith, Björkqvist et al 1992).
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Significant relationship between children that have been bullied, and whether they bully others supports Schwartz (2000) and Viljoen, O'Neill & Sidhu's (2005) idea that children that have been bullied can turn into bullies.
The results show that having less friends does not significantly affect the amount of bullying a child receives. This rejects previous views of others' as it neither supports or rejects previous ideas.
To improve this study, a more complex questionnaire could be used, to allow more data to be analysed, e.g. qualitative data. This could achieve more significant results and a better understanding of bullying and how children are affected by aggressive behaviour. This could potentially increase the significance in the results for the hypotheses.
Further research is needed on children that get bullied becoming bullies. This could have a greater effect on the combat of bullying, as schemes can be put into place to help victims become more confident, and channel their aggressive behaviour in a more positive way.
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