The relationship between social skills, bullying and victimization
Torchia, Toni Jo Orrange
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Bullying and victimization are major issues facing our schools today affecting approximately 20% of students. Despite a surge in research of late, teachers and administrators still find themselves struggling to find the right ways to address and prevent bullying within schools. One reason for this is the inconsistent findings regarding predictors of bullying and victimization. The current study attempts to address this need by looking at the relationship between social skills and bullying and victimization experiences among a sample of sixth graders participating in a longitudinal study of child development. Results indicated that 30% of respondents had engaged in bullying and 54% had been the victims of bullies at least once within the last 2 months. In addition, 26% could be classified as bully-victims. Specific types of bullying and victimization were also assessed and findings indicated that physical bullying and physical victimization were the least common forms, and most of the respondents experienced or engaged in bullying infrequently. Gender differences were found for physical bullying and victimization, such that boys were more likely to be the victim and the perpetrator of physical bullying than girls. Overall, males had lower social skills scores than females. In addition, results indicate a significant relationship between social skills and bullying status. There was no significant relationship between social skills and victim or bully-victim status and no interactions of gender and bully, victim, or bully-victim group status on social skills. This research is essential in that it contributes to literature focused on factors related to peer bullying and victimization.