Trend Analysis of Bullying Victimization Prevalence in Spanish Adolescent Youth at School

Inmaculada Sánchez-Queija, Irene García-Moya, Carmen Moreno
  • Journal of School Health, May 2017, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/josh.12513

Bullying Victimization Prevalence in Spanish

What is it about?

Trend analysis on the global indicator (reported bullying) showed stability in bullying across the years studied (2006, 2010, and 2014), with a mean prevalence of 4.3%. Thus, after the decline that had occurred in this phenomenon in Spain between 2002 and 2006,16 stability seems to predominate from 2006 onwards. However, the picture is different when we analyse observed bullying, that is, the indicator built from the occurrence or non-occurrence of specific experiences indicative of bullying. In this case, the percentage of victims is significantly higher, with prevalence reaching 20%. In addition, an increase in bullying victimization prevalence is found between 2006 and subsequent editions (from 17.1% in 2006 to 21.5% in 2014).

Why is it important?

Several practices implications can be derived from this finding: • The use of the word bullying in screening measures used by the schools should be carefully reviewed. The use of alternative terms may allow for identifying victimization cases which otherwise would go undetected. • Special attention should be paid to promoting greater awareness on the nature of bullying among students and thereby maximize the identification of different types of victimizing behaviours with the phenomenon of bullying. It is likely that those who do not perceive themselves as victims do not take any actions to put an end to the situation in which they are, which may contribute to the invisibility of certain experiences of bullying. • Partly related with the former, school interventions in this area should also be aimed at reducing the stigma associated to having been a victim of bullying. Likewise students who do not perceived themselves as victims, those who feel ashamed of or guilty for what happened to them are less likely to tell others and seek for help, which will perpetuate these dynamics, which seriously threaten school safety and the students’ wellbeing . Second, our results shows an increasing trend in bullying victimization, which suggests a limited effectiveness of the interventions implemented to date in our school system for the prevention and reduction of bullying, which also brings with it a number of practical implications: • It is fundamental to raise awareness that bullying continues increasing and therefore that education professionals, academic institutions and society must remain vigilant and actively involved in fighting against this problem. • Similarly, more efforts and resources aimed at researching, monitoring, and assessing the quality of the available interventions are needed in this area, to identify effective and ineffective interventions and advocate for the former. In this regard, promising results have been found for comprehensive evidence-based programmes, such as KIVA, which combines actions for all students with indicated actions for bullying episodes. • Finally, teachers’ and other education professionals’ roles are fundamental to put an end to the described increasing trend in bullying. In this respect, specific training is needed for the identification of all types of bullying, including the most apparent physical aggressions but also verbal and relational types of bullying.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Inmaculada Sánchez-Queija