Bullying among adolescents and school measures to tackle it

Abstract Background Adolescents are particularly susceptible to the effects of negative social interactions. Thus, knowledge on the behavioral characteristics of adolescents who are targets of bullying can assist with establishing actions directed to protection of the victims. Objective Describe the types of bullying practice and how adolescents perceive this violence, as well as the methods adopted by school to tackle it. Method A cross-sectional study was conducted with 612 public school students aged 10-19 years. Data were collected through the application of a questionnaire developed by the UK-based Kidscape organization. Items were added to this questionnaire aiming to characterize the respondents and their perception regarding the conduct of school administrators in tackling the problem. Statistical analysis involved frequency description and measures of bivariate and multivariate association (α=5%). Results The prevalence of bullying was 21.7%. No significant associations were found between bullying and socio-demographic factors (p>0.05). In most cases, the onset of aggressions was at 6-11 years of age of the victim. Verbal aggression was the most frequently observed type of bullying (82.2%), and the classroom was the location where most aggressions occurred (60.2%). Installation of surveillance cameras was the main action taken by school administrators to tackle the problem. Conclusion Prevalence of bullying in the population studied may be considered high, and verbal aggression was the most frequent type of bullying. Actions of school administrators were concentrated on structural reforms.