Students’ Perceptions of Characteristics of Victims and Perpetrators of Bullying in Public Schools in Jordan


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Abstract

BackgroundSchool bullying is the most common school violence among adolescents and has become a global concern. Little is known about the characteristics associated with bullies and victims among Jordanian students.ObjectivesThe aim of the study was to examine student perceptions of school bullying—specifically, the characteristics of perpetrators and victims and how to stop bullying—and assess differences in perceptions between boys and girls.MethodsCross-sectional study, using self-reported questionnaires, was employed to collect data from eighth-grade students (N = 913; 51% male) from a mixed rural and suburban area in northern of Jordan during the 2013–2014 school year. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize item responses. Chi-squared tests were performed to compare responses between the male and female students.ResultsMost of the students described a bully as one who is a coward underneath (78.9%), lacks respect for other people (70%), wants to show power (67.5%), wants to impress others (60.8%), and wants to feel superior (59.6%). Students perceived victims of bullying as having low self-esteem (68.2%), talking or sounding different than others (50.9%), shy (35%), and having no friends (27.1%). Students suggested that, to stop bullying, the victim should stand up for himself (75.4%), should become psychologically stronger (75.1%), and should involve adults (teachers, family, or others; 45.9%). There was a significant gender difference, in which boys and girls were describing victims and bullies differently.DiscussionA significant percentage of students relate bullying and victimization characteristics to psychosocial characteristics and less to physical characteristics. The results offer valuable information necessary to design and implement school bullying prevention and intervention programs.

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