Risk and protective factors of school bullying: a scoping review

Literature Reviews
Örebro University
32 p.

The research on risk and protective factors related to school bullying is extensive. However, the research on risk and protective factors related to school bullying have, firstly, focused on risk rather than protective factors. Secondly, the research has mainly been based on cross-sectional and not on longitudinal studies. Although cross-sectional studies may indicate a relationship between two variables, it is hard to differentiate between causes and effects. Initially, it is also important to emphasize that risk and protective factors should not be equated with causes. In this context risk factors refer to factors or characteristics that statistically increase the likelihood of being a perpetrator or being victimized, and protective factors refers to factors or characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes or that reduce the impact of a risk factor. The knowledge of these factors is not only important in order to understand the phenomenon, but also to systematize this knowledge in order to identify and design interventions to prevent and remedy school bullying. This compilation is mainly based on results from systematic and meta-analytical reviews of longitudinal studies. But it also includes findings from systematic reviews and meta-analysis of crosssectional studies in order to deepen the understanding of certain risk and protective factors. In order to systematize the findings a social ecological framework (Bronfenbrenner, 1977; Hong & Espelage, 2012) have been used where different risk and protection factors are presented in relation to different levels of the social ecological model, i.e., the micro-, meso-, exo-, macro-, and chronosystem levels. The text also reports results related to individual and sociodemographic characteristics. Since bullying is a relational phenomenon where individuals or groups end up in different positions or roles, it is also important to distinguish between risk and protective factors related to becoming a perpetrator or a victim.

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