Bullying in schools is one of the problems that had remained a topic of interest for a very long time now. Ever since the first students came to the first educational institution, some of the “weak” students were oppressed and mistreated. There had been numerous publications, reportages, experts’ opinions, and researches on this topic. Although the problem has been partially eliminated, it remains very troubling. What makes the matter even more complicated is that there seems to be no apparent reason for bullying. The individuals that are picked on may be entirely different. Researches that try to discover what types of behavioral patterns or traits serve as a catalyst mostly determine separate qualities. There is no general answer to the question of why bullying keeps happening. Understanding what may be the prime reason behind bullying in schools will be the primary focus of this proposal.
Review of Literature
As already stated, the problem received a great deal of coverage across the decades. However, most researchers aim for different goals and do not try to create a unified theory of bullying. Nevertheless, researchers that do find their way to publicity elucidate the topic from various angles. For example, in a case study by Juvonen and Graham (2014), the authors dwell on the question of what separates a bully from their victim. The authors approach the topic in-depth concluding that there is not enough scientific data that would allow understanding what mechanisms or regulations prevent bullying or support it. Furthermore, the authors state that “youths who are ethnic or sexual minorities, are obese, or have mental and physical disabilities might be most at risk” (Juvonen and Graham, 2014, p. 175). This statement is important in the context of this research because the authors have no choice but to refute general conclusions that are somewhat obvious because of the lack of data.
Bradshaw (2015) tries to expand the topic suggested by the authors mentioned above by determining what mechanisms serve best at bullying prevention. However, once again, the author has no choice but to state that, although there had been significant improvements in mental health promotion leading to a decrease in bullying, researches that allowed that still lack both quality and quantity. Swearer and Hymel (2015) that took the article by Bradshaw into consideration state that there is a direct connection between bullying and victimization. This expands theory on this topic, although the research itself tends to focus solely on this narrow problem.
Moreover, a lot of researchers tend to prefer just one side of the question, while not covering the problem in general. For example, an article by Campbell and Smalling (2013) provides evidence suggesting that American Indian students tend to get a lot more victimization and bullying, as well as other minorities. However, some works provide greater coverage of the topic. However, these are published as separate works and serve the purpose of generalization and providing background. An example of that would be a book by Young and Loring (2013).
Problem, Theory, Variables, and Hypothesis
As of now, the most important goal in researches covering the topic of bullying in schools is to understand mechanisms behind bullying promotion and prevention.
The mechanisms that promote and prevent bullying are now functioning mostly without any intervention and lead to various consequences. Should they be monitored and effectively used, the bullying rates in schools would drastically decrease. Furthermore, understanding causal relations between these concepts would allow understanding which students (other than risk groups such as ethnic minorities) tend to be victimized and bullied.
Variables and Hypothesis
The independent variable is the bullying rates in schools.
To understand this variable, one would have to research the bullying rates currently reported by various sources. Thus, during the supposed research, it is important to draw a connection between bullying rates and mechanisms of bullying promotion and prevention.
In turn, the mechanisms that prevent or promote bullying are the dependent variable. It is dependent because it is necessary to determine these mechanisms, and the choice would then lead to establishing certain relations or causal connections.
According to the chosen variables, the hypothesis becomes apparent. Subjects that tend to take bullying promotion/prevention mechanisms into account tend to decrease bullying rates drastically. The education institutions (schools, colleges, universities) are understood as subjects. However, this research focuses on schools; therefore, they are the prime subjects of this hypothesis. Thus, the connection between the two variables would be causal. If the hypothesis is correct, implementation of new mechanisms or adjustment of existing ones will allow subjects to manage bullying rates.
However, if the hypothesis is wrong, subjects would be unable to decrease bullying rates solely by adjusting promotion and prevention mechanisms. This would suggest that the reason behind bullying should be searched for in behavioral patterns and focus groups. An evaluation of risk factors would also contribute to this approach to resolving the problem. As the behavioral patterns are evaluated, the groups that create risks and groups that are subjected to them will become more apparent allowing them to be determined early on in their education life. This would allow educators to place these individuals under excessive protection or attention depending on their ability to bully or be bullied.
Bradshaw, C. P. (2015). Translating research to practice in bullying prevention. American Psychologist, 70(4), 322-332.
Campbell, E. M., & Smalling, S. E. (2013). American Indians and bullying in schools. Journal of Indigenous Social Development, 2(1), 1-15.
Juvonen, J., & Graham, S. (2014). Bullying in schools: The power of bullies and the plight of victims. Annual Review of Psychology, 65(1), 159-185.
Swearer, S. M., & Hymel, S. (2015). Understanding the psychology of bullying: Moving toward a social-ecological diathesis–stress model. American Psychologist, 70(4), 344-353.
Young, C., & Loring, M. T. (2013). Bullying behavior: Current issues, research, and interventions. New York, NY: Routledge.