"Bullying: Definitions, Prevalence, Characteristics, Prevention" A Graduate Level Research Paper, Review Of Literature

3398 words - 14 pages

IntroductionBullying in schools is an international problem that can have negative consequences for the overall school climate and for the rights of students to learn in a safe environment. Because bullying is such a complex behavior, it is often difficult to define. Much of the formal research on bullying took place in Scandinavia, led by University professor Dan Olweus. He began a longitudinal study in the 1970's that is still currently going on (Olweus 1999). This longitudinal study shows that children who were bullies tended to engage in antisocial or delinquent behavior as adults (age 24). Additionally, children who were victims of bulling tended to be more prone to depression in adulthood (age 23). This finding has been documented in other cases (Ross 1996) and shows the long term effects of bullying. Olweus (1999) documented that bullying is a common and damaging subset of aggression among children and created the first Bullying Prevention Program of its kind. Meanwhile, American research on bullying lagged behind other countries until the 1990's, when amid media exposure (Columbine and other schools), research began to explode over the next ten years and continues today (Limber 2004). The phenomenon of bullying deserves special attention by educators concerned with aggression prevention, and international literature needs to be included, as much American research is based on international studies. This review of literature includes international research and examines the issues with defining bullying, its prevalence and characteristics of the bully and victim, as well as current prevention methods used to combat bullying.Definition of BullyingThere has been much disagreement in the literature regarding how bullying should be defined. Methods of implementation have been further exacerbated by the fact that the term bullying may not translate into the same meaning in other languages (Thompson, Arora, andSharp, 2002). In a study by Smith, Cowie, Olafsson, and Liefoogie (2002), cartoon depictions of varying aggressive behaviors were used to identify different student perceptions about bullying across 14 countries. Results indicated the main differences were related to age and culture. Ages ranged from 8 to 14 years old. Younger children were able to discern between the two extreme behaviors of aggression and non-aggression, while older children recognized fighting, physical bullying, verbal and social exclusion within the cartoons. Cultural differences included more emphasis on physical aggression in England, while Spain placed more emphasis on social exclusion, and verbal aggression was the highest in Japan and Portugal. This study shows that in different countries children have different perceptions of what constitutes bullying. Whether or not the language holds an equivalent concept to the English word bullying, the pattern of aggressive activity that defines bullying is easily recognized by native speakers of other languages than English...

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