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Perceptions of school climate and bullying in middle schools

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Perceptions of school climate and bullying in middle schools
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Pintado, Irene
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Bully
Victim
Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory
Systems theory
Multilevel
Dissertations, Academic -- Public Health -- Doctoral -- USF   ( lcsh )
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bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

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Abstract:
ABSTRACT: Bullying has been identified as a problem that can affect the physical and psychosocial health of both the aggressors and victims. Given the consequences for those who bully, for victims, and for the school environment, early intervention is important to minimize these risks. School staff need additional data to understand the scope of bullying and to adopt effective strategies. This study seeks to meet this need by analyzing the association of bullying behaviors and school climate perceptions of middle school students within the context of school membership. This study used Bronfenbrenner's ecological system theory. Within this framework, a bullying interaction occurs not only because of individual characteristics of the child who is bullying, but also because of actions of peers, teachers and staff; physical characteristics of the school environment; and most importantly, of student perceptions of these contextual factors.^ This study used survey data to analyze the effect of student perceptions of school climate on self-reported bullying behaviors of students in six Sarasota County middle schools. Data sources include student- and school level data. The researcher gathered student level data from a modified middle school YRBS survey the Sarasota School District administered to middle school students, in December 2003. The school level data were gathered from the Florida Department of Education Web site. The data were analyzed using multiple regression analyses and within multilevel models. The results indicated that bullying was a common occurrence in the schools. Approximately eight percent of students were bullied on a regular basis in school, with verbal bullying as the most common type of bullying and relational bullying as the least common. Bullying aggression for physical, verbal, and relational bullying was most common for boys.^ ^Girls reported higher levels of being victims of relational bullying. Bullying also varied according to school membership and grade membership. Bullying differed according to school climate perceptions, as well. Interestingly, the effect of some of these variables on bullying was modified by sex. Finally, school context was a significant predictor of bullying, in particular the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
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Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Irene Pintado.
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Title from PDF of title page.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 206 pages.
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Includes vita.

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aleph - 001919594
oclc - 184903127
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0001816
usfldc handle - e14.1816
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Perceptions of School Climate a nd Bullying in Middle Schools by Irene Pintado A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Community Health College of Public Health University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: Karen D. Liller. Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Kelli McCormack Brown, Ph.D. Getachew Dagne, Ph.D. Kay Perrin, Ph.D. Robert McDermott, Ph.D. Date of Approval: September 8, 2006 Keywords: bully, victim, Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory, systems theory, multilevel Copyright 2006, Irene Pintado

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i TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Tables vi Abstract viii CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1 Statement of Problem 1 Conceptual Framework 3 Research Questions 5 Limitations and Delimitations of the Study 7 Definition of Terms 9 CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 11 Theoretical Framework 12 Definition of Bullying 17 Students Involved in Bullying 18 Characteristics of victims 18 Characteristics of bullies 19 Characteristics of bully/victims 21 Methods of Assessing the Prevalence of Bullying 21 Prevalence of Bullying 23 Background on Middle Schools 24 Sarasota County Profile 27 Sarasota County Middle School Profile 28

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ii School Climate 30 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Middle School 33 Summary of the Literature Review 35 CHAPTER THREE METHODS 37 Purpose of the Study 37 Research Questions 38 Research Participants 39 Staff Interview Participants 39 YRBS-MS Survey Participants 40 Research Setting 42 Qualitative Data Gathering Instruments 42 Interview guide development 42 Observational guide development 42 YRBS-M Qualitative Data Gathering Instrument 43 Face validity and content validity 47 Criterion and construct-related validity 51 Instrument readability 54 Test-retest reliability 55 Internal consistency reliability 58 P ilot testing of the survey instrument 59 Qualitative Data Collection and Procedures 61 Staff interviews data collection 61 Observational data collection 62

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iii Quantitative Data Collection and Procedures 63 School profiles 63 Administration of the YRBS-M 64 Qualitative Data Analysis and Techniques 65 Analysis of staff interview data 65 Quantitative Data Analysis and Techniques 66 Data entry 66 Descriptiv e statistics and explor atory data analysis 67 Chi-square analyses 67 Multilevel analyses 68 Summary of the Methods 70 CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS 72 Research Questions 72 Descriptive Analysis 73 Results Related to the Research Questions 75 Research question 1 75 Research question 2 79 Research question 3 82 Research questions 4 and 5 86 Research question 6 104 Research question 7 109 Research question 8 113 Summary of Results 116

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ivCHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY, CONCLU SIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 118 Overview of the Study 118 Conclusions and Discussion 121 Research questions 1, 2, and 3 121 Research questions 4 and 5 125 Research question 6 126 Research question 7 128 Research question 8 130 Limitations and Strengths 132 Recommendations for Future Research 134 Implications for School Health 136 Implications for Public Health 138 REFERENCES 140 APPENDICES 164 APPENDIX A: School Profile Instrument 165 APPENDIX B: Bronfe nbrenners Ecological System Model 166 APPENDIX C: Sarasota County Profile 167 APPENDIX D: Sarasota Public Middle School Grade Profiles 2003 168 APPENDIX E: School Profiles 169 APPENDIX F: Tagiurus Organizational Model 170 APPENDIX G: Research Questions 171 APPENDIX H: School Bo ard of Sarasota County Consent Forms 172 APPENDIX I: Teacher/Staff Focus Group Moderators Guide 174

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v APPENDIX J: Physical Environment School Checklist 179 APPENDIX K: Stude nt Perceptions of School Climate 180 APPENDIX L: Bully/Victim Questions 181 APPENDIX M: Y outh Risk Behavior Survey 2003 182 APPENDIX N: Minimum Va lues of the Content Validity Ratio 204 APPENDIX O: Summa ry of School Climate Perceptions 205 APPENDIX P: USF Instit utional Review Board Approval Letter 206 ABOUT THE AUTHOR End Page

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vi LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Summary of Demogr aphic Characteristics of Respondents 41 Table 2 Content Validity Ratio Results for Bullying and School Climate Variables 50 Table 3 Pattern Matrix of Six School Climate Factors 53 Table 4 Total Variance Explained by Six School Climate Factors 54 Table 5 Results for Test-Retest of School Climate and Bullying Variables 57 Table 6 Percent of Students Experiencing Bullying 82 Table 7 Grade Membership and Bullying 85 Table 8 Perceptions of School Climate by Sex 98 Table 9 Perceptions of Sc hool Climate by Ethnicity 99 Table 10 Perceptions of School Climate by Grade 100 Table 11 Summary of the Perceptions of School Climate by Ethnicity 103 Table 12 Beta Coefficient Summary for Bullying Victimization 107 Table 13 Beta Coefficient Summary for Bullying Aggression 108 Table 14 Values for School Level Variables in Models I and II 111 Table 15 Values for School Level and Student Level Variables in Final Model 112 Table 16 Summary of the Signi ficant Interaction Terms 114

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viiTable 17 Beta Coefficients of Models I and II 115 Table 18 Estimates for Interaction Terms Obtained by Multilevel Approach 116 Table 19 Summary of Predictors Associated with Bullying Victimization and Aggression Obtained from Multiple Regression Analyses Conducted by School 129

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viii PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL CLIMA TE AND BULLYING IN MIDDLE SCHOOLS Irene Pintado ABSTRACT Bullying has been identified as a prob lem that can affect the physical and psychosocial health of both the aggressors and victims. Given the consequences for those who bully, for victims, and for the school envi ronment, early intervention is important to minimize these risks. School staff need a dditional data to understand the scope of bullying and to adopt effective strategies. This study seeks to meet this need by analyzing the associat ion of bullying behaviors and school climate perceptions of middle school students within th e context of school membership. This study used Bronfenbrenners ecological system theory. Within this framework, a bullying interaction occurs not only because of indi vidual characteristics of the child who is bullying, but also because of actions of peers, teachers and staff; physical characteristics of the school environment; and most importa ntly, of student pe rceptions of these contextual factors. This study used survey data to analyze th e effect of student perceptions of school climate on self-reported bullying behaviors of students in six Sarasota County middle schools. Data sources include studentand sc hool level data. The researcher gathered student level data from a modified middle school YRBS survey the Sarasota School

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ixDistrict administered to middle school stude nts, in December 2003. The school level data were gathered from the Florida Department of Education Web site. The data were analyzed using multiple regression anal yses and within multilevel models. The results indicated that bullying was a common occurrence in the schools. Approximately eight percent of students were bullied on a regular ba sis in school, with verbal bullying as the most common type of bullying and relational bullying as the least common. Bullying aggression for physical, verbal, and relationa l bullying was most common for boys. Girls reported higher levels of being victims of relational bullying. Bullying also varied according to school me mbership and grade membership. Bullying differed according to school climate perceptions as well. Interestingly, the effect of some of these variables on bullying was m odified by sex. Finally, school context was a significant predictor of bullying, in particular the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

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1 Perceptions of School Climate and Bullying in Middle schools Chapter 1 Introduction The purpose of this study is to analyze th e relationship of school climate with the prevalence of peer victimization among middle school students in Sarasota County, Florida. This chapter provides a brief desc ription of the problem; an overview of the conceptual framework used in the study; a nd a list of the studys research questions. Statement of the Problem Aggressive behaviors in childhood and a dolescence have been the focus of many empirical investigations in the last seve ral decades (e.g., Craig & Pepler, 1997; Crick & Werner, 1998; Pellegrini & Bartini, 2000; Sh akeshaft, et al., 1995; Smith & Sharp, 1994). As a result, peer victimization or bullying, a s ubset of aggression, has been identified as a significant problem that can a ffect the physical and psychosoc ial health of those who are frequently bullied (victims) and those stude nts who bully their p eers at an early age (aggressors) (Batsche & Knoff, 1994). Bullying has been defi ned as a set of behaviors that is "intentional and caus es physical and [or] psychologi cal harm to the recipient" (Smith & Thompson, 1991, p. 1). Bullying includ es actions such as name-calling or teasing, social exclusion, and hitting (Crick & Bigbee, 1998; Olweus, 1991; Rigby, Cox, & Black, 1997; Thompson & Sharp, 1994). Previous studies indicate that bullying in the form of teasing is a common event experienced among adolescents and can have serious consequences (Corsaro & Eder,

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21990). In one study conducted in the United St ates, 75% of adolescents reported some form of victimization from a bully during their school years (Hoove r, Oliver, & Hazler, 1992). In another study, 90% of adolescents who were bullied believed that the victimization caused them signi ficant problems, including loss of friendships and feelings of isolation and hopelessness (H azler, Hoover, & Oliver, 1992) Victims of bullying often experience problems with emotional adjustme nt, including depre ssion, anxiety, and low self-esteem, as well as difficulties at sc hool (Kochenderfer & Ladd, 1996; Rigby & Slee, 1993). Research also indicates that bullying is a gateway behavior that leads to more serious aggressive behavior (National School Safety Ce nter, 1999). Studies conducted outside of the U.S. suggested that students who bully were themselves at an increased risk of being physically abusive and of having a criminal record as adults (Olweus, 1993). Additionally, the entire dynamics of a school can be affected by bullying behaviors if they go unchecked; threats and intimidation associated with bully behaviors can create a negative atmosphere for all st udents (Hoover & Hazler, 1991). Bullying is frequently mentioned as a possible contributor to school violence (Boatwright, Mathis, & Sm ith-Rex, 2000; Flannery & Singer, 1999; Maeroff, 2000; Olweus, 1991, 1993, 1997; Rigby, 1996; Shakeshaft et al., 1995; Vossekuil, Reddy, Fei, Borum, & Modzeleski, 2000). A report by the U. S. Secret Service notes that in more than two-thirds of school shootings, the at tackers experienced some form of bullying prior to the incident, and se veral attackers had experienced bullying at school over a long period of time (Vossekuil et al., 2000). No t surprisingly, a CNN-Gallup poll taken after the shootings at Columbine High School repor ted that most high school students blame

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3each other for the "bullying, teasing and ha rassment that pushes the Eric Harris and Dylan Klebolds of the world over the edge" (Lindsey, 2001, p. 1). Given these serious consequences for the students who bully, their victims, and the impact on the school environment, interven tion during early adolescence is extremely important to minimize these risks. In the past several decades, etiol ogical perspectives on aggression have progressed from the view of a ggression as an innate characteristic in all humans (Espelage, Bosworth, & Simon, 2000) to the more recent conception that aggression in children reflects complex inte ractions between th e children and their environment (Swearer & Doll, 2001). Even though the body of empirical research on the topic of bu llying is growing (Craig & Pepler, 1997; Crick & Werner, 1998; Pellegrini & Bar tini, 2000; Shakeshaft, et al., 1995; Smith & Sharp, 1994), school administrato rs and faculty need additional data to understand the scope of this problem and desi gn effective intervention strategies. This study seeks to meet this need by gatheri ng information on bullying among middle school students as well as information on student perceptions of school climate that are associated with involvement in bullying. Conceptual Framework The problem of bullying at school is a co mplex problem that emerges from social, physical, institutional and community contexts, as well as the individual characteristics of the students who are bullied and victimi zed (Swearer & Doll (2001)). A useful framework for understanding bullying is Br onfenbrenners ecological system theory (1979; 1993). When the ecological perspe ctive is applied to bullying, a bullying interaction occurs not only because of indi vidual characteristics of the child who is

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4bullying, but also because of actions of peer s, teachers and school staff, and physical characteristics of the school environment. How students perceive a ll these factors will be referred to as school climate in this st udy. Families, cultural factors, and even community factors also play a role in th e occurrence of the bu llying interaction. The ecological system theory, as conceptualized by Bronfenbrenner, has been used to study complex behaviors of childre n and adolescents. Nelson and Keith (1999) studied female and male early adolescent sex role attitude and behavior development in an ecological context. Saint-Jacques (1996) used Bronfenbrenners ec ological theory of human development to investigate the roles of family processes and family structure on adolescent adjustment. Coleman and B eckman (1980) analyzed the patterns of relationships among the environments of home school, and work in youth development. Bronfenbrenners ecological framework was al so used by Gerdean (1999) to examine the relationship between perceived multiculturalism of school and student perceptions of ease of learning, school achievement, and intent to stay in school. One final example of researchers using Bronfenbrenners ecological systems theory to understand a complex event is a study by Bulgren and Carta (1992) which examined childrens learning in relationship to instructional context, describe d as the teacher, subject matter, curriculum, tasks, and group structure. Bronfenbrenners ecological system theory is a useful framework in this study for several reasons. This ecologica l system theory takes into account that the student is not merely acted upon by the environment. The stud ent is both active and reactive. Take for example the scenario in which a students pe rceptions of the school climate cause him or her to act in an aggressive manner. Those aggressive acts, in tu rn, affect the school

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5 climate, in that other students may now per ceive it as threatening and become timid or aggressive themselves. Another strength of framing this study using Bronfenbr enners ecological theory is that it takes into account not just the environment, but students perceptions of the environment. This is important, because it accounts for why two students in similar environments may exhibit wildly different behaviors (Thomas, 1996). Finally, another benefit of using Bronfenbr enner ecological systems theory is its use of the microsystem as a unit of analysis. His conception of the microsystem specifies which aspects are the most important in creating meaning for the adolescent the activities, roles, and in terpersonal interactions in the setting under st udy. In this study, to understand how a students per ceptions of the school climat e might affect his or her behavior, it is necessary to assess the school climate in a manner that elucidates the students perceptions of the activities of teachers and peers and the interpersonal interactions of people in th e school microsystem. In summary, bullying is best conceptualized as intrinsic fact ors in the student interacting with the social environment, which then serves to reinforce bullyi ng and/or victimization behaviors. Research Questions This study addresses the fo llowing research questions: 1. What is the prevalence of bullying in the sample? 2. What type of bullying occurs most fre quently (physical, verbal, relational)? 3. Are there differences in types of bully ing or victimization as a function of school, gender, ethnicity or grade?

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64. What are the perceptions of school cl imate among students in this sample? 5. Are there differences in school climat e perception as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? 6. Do the independent variables percep tions of school clim ate variables and school membership (the school a st udent attends) have a significant relationship with students reporting being involved in bullying at all, whether as a bully or as a victim? 7. Does the combined effect of independe nt variables perceptions of school climate variables and school level vari ables (enrollment, absences, staff, percent of students classified as disabl ed, and percent free or school lunch) explain the observed variation in students reporting being involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? 8. Does gender modify the observed effect s of dependent variables on students reporting involvement in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? Effect modification occurs when the associa tion between the independent variable and the dependent variable is affected by a third factor, in this case gender. This project is broken down into two co mponents. One component consists of a service project with the Sa rasota County School District and the other component consists of the analysis of the collected data. The service project encompasses the development and pilot testing of survey quest ions. The data analysis portion of the project entails using hierarchical or multilevel models to answer the research questions. The research questions have been addr essed by analyzing data obtained from a survey with sixth, seventh, and eighth grade st udents in Sarasota County, Florida. The

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7questionnaire was anonymous, school-based, and self-reported. To supplement the information obtained from the student questionna ires, the researcher attempted to obtain school level data that is routinely collected by administration. An observational aspect consisting of an escorted tour of the school was to be used to supplement the school profile. In place of the school profile and the observational component of the analysis to obtain school-level data, the re searcher obtained data from the Florida Department of Education (2003). Additionally, as part of the service proj ect, the researcher conducted professional staff interviews from the middle sc hools. The data from the staff interviews was be used to determine whether the survey was written at a le vel that middle school students would easily understand. Data from th ese interviews were also used after the data from the student survey were anal yzed to aid in possibly understanding the underlying reasons for the pa tterns that emerged from the data analysis. Limitations and Delimita tions of the Study One limitation of the study is the use of the cross-sectional survey design. In this study, the researcher used a closed question design, which although poses many advantages (easier and quicker for responde nts to answer; responses are easier to compare, code, and statistically analyze; res pondents are more likely to answer sensitive topics; less articulate respondents are not at a disadvantag e, and replication is easier), it also poses disadvantages (Neuman, 1997). In a closed design, the response choices can suggest ideas that the responde nt would not otherwise have. Also, respondents with no opinion or knowledge of an issue can re spond anyway. Respondents can also be frustrated because their desired response is not available. In a closed design, misinterpretation of a question can go unno ticed and distinctions between respondent

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8answers may be blurred. It is also po ssible that students may make mistakes in bubbling their response choice. Finally, th e use of closed-ended questions may force respondents to give simplistic responses to comp lex issues or force them to make choices they would not make in the real world. A second limitation, also arising from th e studys cross-sectional design, is that the researcher determines the exposure to the dependent and i ndependent variables simultaneously. This limitation leads to te mporal ambiguity (Did a poor school climate lead to bullying or did bullyi ng lead to a poor school climate?) A third limitation due to the nature of cross-sect ional studies is that the researcher has difficulty in distinguishing risk from diagnostic factors (Does a poor sc hool climate lead to bullying or is a poor school climate a symptom or manifestation of bullying?). Finally, the study could have selection bias, in that st udents who are bullied may be more likely to be absent on any one da y. Other ways in which the study may be biased could depend on the day of the week the survey is administered (perhaps more students will be absent on a Monday or a Frid ay). Another possible source of selection bias is that students in half the sixth and eighth grades will be taking a different survey entirely. How these students were selected was not randomly performed and the process of selecting which students woul d take which survey was left entirely up to each schools administration. The delimitations of the study include lack of generalizability of the results to the general middle school populat ion, since the study is limited to middle school students attending six middle schools in Sarasota count y, a county that is fa irly affluent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002). Along similar lines, another delimitation of the study is the

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9 limited number of ethnic groups (and the lim ited number of students in those ethnic groups) in the study. Definition of Terms The following are terms used in this study: Absences The percentage of students from th e total enrollment who were absent 21 or more days during the school year (o ver the course of the whole year). Bully A bully is a child who tends to esta blish dominance over another child or children by repeated acts of aggression. Bully/Victim A bully/victim is a child tends who tends to establish dominance over another child or children by repeated acts of aggression, but who in turn experiences repeated acts of aggression fr om another child or other. Bullying. A student is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more students. Bully ing is characterized by three criteria (Olweus, 1993): It is aggressive and intentional behavior It is carried out repeatedly; and It occurs within an interp ersonal relationship characteri zed by an imbalance of power. Enrollment This is the number of students enrolled in the middle school. The total number of students in school as measured during the fall survey period in October; known by the Florida Department of Education as fall membership. School Membership This school variable will be an indicator of the school a student attends.

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10 School Climate In this study, school climate cons ists of the students perceptions of the school environment. Generally, school climate is the feel of the school as perceived by those who work there or attend school there (Anderson, 1982). This study focused on student concerns and worries as a reflection on school climate (Freiberg, 1998). The modified middle school Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) survey contained 25 school climate items (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003). School Lunch The percentage of students e ligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The percentage is arrived at by dividing the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, as determined in Octobe r, by the student memb ership in October. Staff Number. The total number of school staff. Victim. A child that experiences a strong em otional reaction to repeated acts of aggression by another child or other children is a victim of bullying. In this study, the degree to which a student reports being victimized by bullies is referred to as bullying victimization.

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11 Chapter 2 Review of the Literature This chapter will provide a review of the literature covering the theoretical framework used in this study; a definition of bullying and a review of bullying research; a description of the history of middle schools and the cha llenges facing middle school students; a description of Sarasota count y and its middle schools; a definition and discussion of the concept of school climat e; and background information on the Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The section of the theoretical framework will describe Bronfenbrenners ecological theory of human development. This section will distingu ish this theory from other ecological theories and will describe its components. Additionally, the researcher will discuss why this theoretical framework was selected. In this chapter, the researcher will also provide a definition of bullying, including a brief history of the concept of bullying in th e research literature. The researcher will describe the characteristics of bullies, victims, and bully/victims that have been reported in the literature. Additionally, this sec tion will contain a disc ussion of the reported prevalence of bullying, and the methods commo nly used to assess its prevalence. In order to provide an understanding of the middle school setting, the researcher will discuss a brief history of the middle school and address some of the unique challenges facing middle school students. A brief discussion on bullying in middle schools is also included.

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12Chapter two also contains a discussion of Sarasota County and its middle schools. Recent census data and data from the Florida Department of Education are highlighted. In this chapter, the researcher describes existing research on school climate. This description includes a definiti on of school climate and method s used to understand this concept. Finally, the researcher provides informa tion on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and why and how it has been modified for use in middle schools. A brief discussion on the use of large population survey s in complex patterns of relationships is included. Theoretical Framework According to Bronfenbrenner, the ec ology of human development is the scientific study of the progressive, mutu al accomodation, throughout the life course, between an active, growing, highly complex biopsychological organi sm characterized by a distinctive complex of evolving interrelated, dynamic cap acities for thought, feeling, and action and the changing properties of the immediate settings in which the developing person lives, as this process is affected by the rela tions between these settings, and by the larger contexts in wh ich the settings are embedded (1993, p. 7). Ecological theory posits that along with development in language, cognition, social competence, and physical integrity, children al so adapt to their immediate social and physical environment. These social and physic al environments, in turn, are mediated by more remote forces in the larger commun ity and society. Take n together, all the components act as ecological systems (Capra 1996; Thomas, 1996), and competence or problems that are seen in the child are reflec ting properties of this integrated system and

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13not just their individual char acteristics. Complex interact ions between children and their environments work to develop or inhibit pros ocial and antisocial behaviors in each child (Lerner, Hess, & Nitz, 1991; Sameroff, 1975; Swearer & Doll, 2001). Thus, problems do not reside within the children or within th e context but instead are the result of ongoing transactions between the two (Pianta & Walsh, 1996). Therefor e, the interaction between the individual and the environment forms the basis of an ecological approach to human development. In the field of health promotion, ecological models are multifaceted models, concerned with environmental change, behavi or, and policy that help individuals make healthy choices in their daily lives. The key element of the ecological model is that it takes into account the physical environment and its relationship to people at individual, interpersonal, organizational and community le vels. Furthermore, the different parts of the model are integrated and interact with each other. The philosophical foundation of ecological models is the concep t that behavior does not occu r within a vacuum (Coreil, Bryant, & Henderson, 2001; Sallis & Owen, 1997). Like the ecological models of health promotion, Bronfenbrenners ecological theory of human development has as its philosophical underpinni ng the concept that behavior does not occur in a vaccum. As a developmentalist, Bronfenbrenner seeks to understand environmental influences in childr ens lives, and does so in a systematic manner. However, the Bronfenbrenners ecolog ical theory of human development differs from ecological models of health promoti on, in that his theory is centered on the individual. A crucial conviction in Bronfenbrenners scheme is that the influence of the environment on the childs behavior is infl uenced not by the objective conditions, but by

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14the childs perceptions and inte rpretations of what takes pla ce in the behavior setting. Additionally, in Bronfenbrenne rs theory, the child is ac tively shaping his or her environment, in that his or her response to an environmental condition, will in turn affect the environment (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Thomas, 1996). The theorys most basic un it of for study is the microsystem a pattern of activities, roles, and interpersonal relations experienced by the developing person in a given setting with particular physical and ma terial characteristics (Bronfrenbrenner, 1979, p. 22). Examples of typical settings fo r such microsystems include school, home, and peer group locations. It is within this unit of study that the individual has direct interaction with agents. Also important is that the individual is not passive, but helps construct the setting, since the influence of a behavior settin g on a childs development is not exerted by the objective or real li fe nature of the activities, roles, and interpersonal relations seen there. Rather, the influence derives from the childs perceptions or interpretati ons of these factors (Bronf enbrenner, 1979; Garbarino & Abramowitz, 1992; Thomas, 1996). Most research has focused on the microsystem (Bronfenbrenner, 1993; Ga barino & Abramowitz, 1992). At the microsystem level, a researcher can best understand a childs behavior by learning about childrens interaction with pe ople and the activities in which the children engage (Bronfenbrenner, 1993). Bronfrenbre nner adopted the term microsystems to reflect his conviction that beha vior settings provide the smal lest unit of analysis (micro) and that the three most signifi cant components of a setting (ac tivities, roles, interpersonal relationships) form an interacting behavior field, in which a change in one component

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15could affect the entire conf iguration and produce a new meaning for the child (Thomas, 1996). The next level of analysis is the mesosystem. The mesosystem consists of relations between microsystems (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). This level looks at relation of family experiences to school experiences, school to church, family to peers, etc. One example may be that a child who experiences parental rejection may have difficulty in school. Conversely, certain peer influences at school may cause family turmoil. The mesosystem is less tangible and conc rete than the microsystem (Thomas,1996). The next level of analysis is the exos ystem. The exosystem involves experiences in a social setting in which an individua l does not have an active role but which nevertheless influence experience in an imme diate context (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). One example is a parents job experiences (trave l requirements, job st ress, amount of pay) affecting family life which, in turn, affects ch ildren. In an even more removed context, governmental agencies funding patterns can affect parks, libraries, and schools that create microsystem environments. Overarching the exosystem is the macrosystem. The macrosystem is composed of the broad ideologies, attitudes, laws and cust oms of the culture in which individuals live (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). For example, indivi duals living in the United States will be affected by the cultures Judeo-Christian et hic, belief in democracy, and their ethnic background. Bronfenbrenner (1993) added an additiona l system, the chronosystem, which is the patterning of environmental events and transitions over the lif e course. Divorce,

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16frequent moves, job loss, career changes and sociohistorical conditi ons are part of the chronosystem. Understanding the interaction between the individual and his or her environment in development is no easy task. In fact, it is so difficult that most researchers do not try to handle both parts of the equation at once or even analyze multiple microsystems at once. Thus a researcher is rare ly able to really look at the interplay of nature and nurture in development (Garbarino & Abramowitz, 1992). Despite the difficulties faced by researchers trying to operati onalize this theory, ecologica l theory can be used to understand the nature of bullying in schools (Swearer & Doll, 2001). When the ecological perspective is app lied to bullying, a bullying interaction occurs not only because of the individual ch aracteristics of the child who is bullying or being bullied, but also because of the actions of peers, teachers and other adult caretakers at school, as well as the physical characteris tics of the school grounds, family factors, cultural characteristics, and even community f actors. Graphically, th is ecological system can be depicted with Bronfenbrenners classi c diagram resembling a target, with the child at the center and concentric circ les representing contexts from those closest to the child to those furthest away. In the context of this study of the ecological phenomenon of school bullying, this research focuses on the interpla y between the student and the contexts of family, peers, teachers and staff, school polic ies, and the physical setting of the school. Appendix B provides a graphical representati on of Bronfenbrenners ecological system applied to a classroom system.

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17Definition of Bullying Bullying is one of the most common types of school violence (Flannery & Singer, 1999). Aggressive incidents in school span a wide continuum ranging from frequent verbal threats to the rare homicide (Batsc he & Knoff, 1994). Although past research has advanced our understanding of aggression, it has been mostly limited by its focus on overt aggression (for exceptions see Cric k & Bigbee, 1998; Crick & Grotpeter, 1995). Thus, bullying behaviors characteristic of ear ly adolescents, includi ng verbal threats and teasing, are less understood. Bullying has long been viewed as a relative ly harmless form of social interaction and accepted as a normal part of growing up. In fact, although there were isolated studies of bullying before the 1970s, the systematic study of the phenomenon does not appear in the literature until 1978, w ith the publication of Aggression in schools: Bullies and whipping boys by Dan Olweus (the book was published in its original Swedish version in 1973). Since Olweus first public ation, many articles on the topi c of bullying refer to the definition Olweus used in his research. The Olweus definition is a two-part definition, which emphasizes that bullyi ng behavior must occur over tim e and that there is a power imbalance between the victim and the bully. Also interesting, from a historical perspective, is that most of the research to date has focused on direct forms of bullying, such as physical and verbal attacks, and le ss on relations or indire ct bullying, such as ostracism (Harachi, Catalano, & Hawkins, 1999; Smith, 2004). There is no widely agreed-upon defin ition of school bullying, but most researchers agree that bullying involves a ch ild being repeatedly exposed to negative actions by one or more peers (Arora, 1996) and that these actions are generally

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18unprovoked (Olweus, 1991). Bullying involves r ecurring exposure to negative actions by one or more individuals that involves an imbalance of pow er. The power imbalance can result from age, physical difference and difference in numbers (Olweus, 1991, 1993). Researchers have distinguished different types of bullying beha viors as physical (hitting, kicking, shoving), verbal (name calling, abus ive language, taunting) and indirect or relational bullying (spr eading rumors, manipulation of fr iendships, exclusion, ostracism, and ignoring) (Sullivan, 2000). Although bullyin g is generally not a criminal activity, such as assault with a weapon or assault lead ing to serious bodily harm and requiring the involvement of law enforcement agencies, it is not playful teasing, a fight between equals, or play-fighting with no intention to harm (Sullivan). Bullying is the assertion of power through aggression, and only its form s change with age: playground bullying, sexual harassment, gang attacks, date violence assault, marital violence, child abuse, workplace harassment, and elder abuse (P epler, Connolly, & Craig, 1997). Students Involved in Bullying Characteristics of victims. Much research has attempted to identify factors that place a child at risk of becoming a victim of bullying. On surveys, boys and girls are equally likely to report being victimized (Charach, Pepl er, & Ziegler, 1995). Olwe us (1978) has suggested that children who are victims of bullying often lack social skills and the ability to defend themselves or to retaliate against bullies. Th e typical victim of bullying is more anxious and insecure than his or her peers (Olweu s, 1997). Physical weakness, negative body language, immaturity, or physical differences have been descri bed as characteristics of victims, and as Froschl and Gropper ( 1999, p. 73) observe, The perception of

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19difference is at the root of teasing and bullying among young children. Almost any perceived difference gender, race, ethnicity, language, social class, disability, sex can become fodder for hurtful words and actions. It is important to note, however, that research has not supported the popular stereo type that victims have unusual physical traits (Olweus, 1991). Resear ch supports the notion that fo r students in earlier grades, victims are usually younger and physically weaker, and that younger students experience more direct bullying, whereas older students experience more indirect bull ying (Olweus, 1993). Physical condition becomes less of a risk fa ctor for being bullied as students get older (Ma, 2001). The following characteristic s were most frequently selected by a panel of experts in bullying to describe children w ho are most often bullied : perceived lack of control of the environment; poor social and in terpersonal skills; less popular than other students; feelings of inadequacy; blame pr oblems on themselves; socially isolated; and fear going to school (Hazler, Carney, Grenn, Powell, & Jo lly, 1997). For some children the characteristics discussed a bove may be present before bully ing occurs; for others they may develop as a result of bullying. Characteristics of bullies. There is not a single type of bully. The identified char acteristics of bullies have been identified primarily th rough research on boys who bul ly, and as a result less is known about girls who bully. On surveys more boys report bullying than girls, but the discrepancy between boys and girls rates of bullying is not as great in playground observations (Craig & Pepler, 1997). Bullies have b een identified as generally bei ng older than their victims,

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20dominant individuals, and as having a positive attitude to wards violence (Olweus, 1997; Sullivan, 2000). These students generally have low levels of anxiety, are relatively secure, and have average self -esteem (Olweus, 1997). Students who act as bullies appear to enjoy harassing the same classmates over a long period of time (Walls, 2000); seem to gain satisfaction from the pain of their victim s; and have little empathy or concern for the student being victimized (Olweus, 1997). Although boys who are victims generally identify an individual as th e bully, the bully's behavior is frequently sustained by a supporting group (Olweus, 1997; Rigby, 1996). Bullies are often described as oppositional toward adults, antisocial, and more likely to break school rules (Batsche & K noff, 1994; Olweus, 1993, 1997). They are also characterized by impulsivity and a need to dominate (Olweus, 1997). Bullies often have parents or guardians who use physical punish ment, and generally relationships between the parent and child are poor (Banks, 1997; Olwe us, 1993; Roberts, 2000). In a survey of experts in the area of bullyi ng, the most frequently selected descriptors of bullies included: controlling through use of verbal or physical behaviors; qu ick to anger; more likely to use force; a tendency to have little empathy for victims; likely to be exposed to models of aggression; and more prone to inappr opriately perceive inte nt of others to be hostile (Hazler et al., 1997). Children that bully often come from homes that are sometimes hostile and rejecting, or are both hos tile and permissive. Parents of children that bully frequently model poor problem solv ing skills and react to the least provocation (Greenbaum, Turner, & Stephens, 1989).

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21Characteristics of bully/victims. Some of the most severely victimized children also exhibit the most aggressive behaviors (Perry, Kusel, & Perr y, 1988). Olweus (1978) was th e first to describe passive and provocative victims. Passive victims appear to do nothing to initiate attack and fail to defend against attacks. These constitute th e majority of victims. Provocative victims appear quick to anger, restless, fight b ack when attacked, and exaggerate angry responses. Behaviors of provocative victim s have been described as impulsive and disorganized and may tend to provoke or irritate peers (O lweus, 1978). The provocative victim and the bully differ in that the bu llys aggressive behaviors are controlled, organized, and goal oriented (Schwartz, Pr octor, & Chien, 2001). Provocative victims have subsequently been identified as bully/victims (Boulton & Smith, 1994). Provocative victims or bully/vic tims account for a small number of bullied children; they generally have a learning disability and lack social skills, causing th em to be insensitive to other students. Observa tional studies have led res earchers to speculate that bully/victims tease and annoy classmates un til someone lashes out at them (Goleman, 1995; Olweus, 1997). The use of the newer term makes it clear that these victimized students also bully others. Methods of Assessing the Prevalence of Bullying The most popular method for measuring bullying has been the anonymous selfreport (Ahmad & Smith, 1994; Borg, 1999; Ol weus, 1993; Smith, 2004; Fekkes, Pijpers, & Verloove-Vanhorick, 2005; Whitney & Smit h, 1993). Anonymous self-report surveys fall into two categories the survey defin ition measure and the survey list measure.

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22A review of recent research identify ing students as bullies, victims or bully/victims using self-report measure showed th at a majority (7 of 10) used the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire or a subset of quest ions from it (Schwartz, Proctor, & Chien, 2001). In the Olweus survey, as in other de finition surveys, student s are provided with a definition of bullying prior to survey co mpletion. Frequency of victimization is determined by the following response choices: once or twice in the last two months, two or three times each month, about once a week, se veral times a week (Ortega et al., 2000). The survey list measure of bullying provi des respondents with a list of behaviors they have participated in or been a victim of An example of such a scale is the BullyingBehaviour Scale, which consists of six forced choice items, three of which refer to being the perpetrator of negative physical actions (i.e., hit and pushed, picked on, bullied) and three of which refer to being the perpetrato r of negative verbal actions (i.e., teased, horrible names, laughed at). Similarly, there are six forced choice items that refer to being the victim of negative physical and verbal actions. In this manner, the researcher can determine if the respondent has bullied, has been a victim, or falls in the victim/bully category (Austin & Joseph, 1996). In addition to survey measures, there ar e peer and teacher nomination techniques. The peer nomination procedure entails m easuring group members perceptions about fellow students to assess student s peer relationships (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995; Graham & Juvonen, 1998; Schwartz, Dodge, Pettit, & Ba tes, 1997; Schwarts & Proctor, 2000). Teacher nomination procedures are similar to the peer nomination techniques, but in this case the teacher is asked to focus on the students in the class and rate their behavior (Leff, Kupersmidt, Patterson, & Power, 1999; Monks, Smith, & Swettenham, 2003).

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23 Finally, researchers have used obser vational studies to measure bullying. Naturalistic observations of st udents in school settings in person and with video cameras and remote microphones have also been us ed to study bullying (Atlas & Pepler, 1998; Menesini, Melan, & Pignatti, 2000; Rigby, 1996). Prevalence of Bullying Bullying is one of the most common form s of victimization at school (Flannery & Singer, 1999). Research indicates that every year as many as 4.8 million U.S. students are threatened physically, verball y, or indirectly by other student s (Shakeshaft, et al., 1995). In a recent U.S. study of 338 children in gr ades 3 through 8, 78% re ported being bullied within the last month, with approximately 6% of these children indicating that the bullying was severe (Walls, 2000 ). In a 1999 survey, about 13% of 12to 18-year-old students indicated they had b een called a derogatory word related to their race or ethnicity, religion, disability, ge nder, or sexual orientation, and 36% of students claimed they had seen this type of graffiti at school. This type of bullying o ccurs equally in urban, suburban, and rural schools. Female students report being targets of derogatory words more than male students, and Black student s are more likely than White or Hispanic students to report being called ha te words (Kaufman et al., 2000). In general, researchers have found that mo re boys than girls bully others (Batsche & Knoff, 1994; Olweus, 1993, 1997; Ri gby, 1996; Smith, 2004; Whitney & Smith, 1993). In terms of being bullied, in some st udies girls more fre quently report being bullied than boys (Rigby, 1996), whereas in ot her studies a somewhat higher percentage of boys report being victims of bullying (D elfabbro et al., 2006; Olweus, 1997). This dichotomy may be due to differences in the type of bullying that is experienced. Indirect

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24bullying (excluding someone from being a part of activities) is proportionally higher among girls, whereas physical bullying is higher for boys (Ahmad & Smith, 1994; Olweus, 1997; Rigby, 1996; Smith & Sharp, 1994). In another recent U.S. study, a survey admi nistered to a representative sample of nearly 16,000 students, in grades sixth through tenth, in public and private schools, nearly 30% of the sample reported moderate to frequent involvement in bullying 13% reporting being bullies, 10.6% re porting being victims, and 6.3% reporting being engaged in both (Nansel et al., 2001). Background on Middle Schools The middle school is a fairly recent de velopment. Elementary schools (grades one through eight) and high schools (grades nine through 12) were the academic settings in place at the turn of the century. Howe ver, the National Education Association along with other educational organizations favor ed restructuring the existing academic structures to better serve the needs of young adolescents (Manning, 2000). A report published in 1913 critici zed the eight-year elementary school as not meeting the needs of the adolescent (Hechinger, 1993). In a ddition to criticism from educational organizations, increasing numbers of adol escents were dropping out of school without completing all of the eight elementary grades and particularly before completing seventh and eighth grade (Hechinger). The issue of the high dropout rate had not been a significant concern previously, because there were an abundance of jobs available to persons without formal education. However, th e availability of such jobs changed as the economy changed, and the number of unemployed youth became a national economic concern. The result was the institution of junior high school (consis ting of grades seven

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25through nine) as the first middle schools spec ifically designed to meet the education needs of young adolescents (Hechinger). The purpose of the schools was to provi de academic programs for students who were college-bound, as well as to provide voc ational training for students who would go directly into the job market. Eventuall y, meeting the unique social, personal, and academic needs of adolescents became part of the role of junior high school. The ability of junior high schools to meet the n eeds and interests of young adolescents was questioned. The criticism focused on the per ception that the original junior high school became a sorting agency, preparing the academic elite for the universities and others for opportunities in the marketplace, thus crea ting academic and vocational or commercial tracks (Hechinger, 1993, p. 536). As a re sult, support for the junior high school decreased in the 1930s. Critici sms of the junior high school structure resulted in the emergence of the middle school, with the fi rst middle school being established in 1950. The middle school program was proposed to fu lfill the developmental needs of the young adolescent (Hechinger). Today, the middle school system is under cr iticism. Some researchers have found that many adolescents are in schools that lack a sense of community, lack intimate contact with caring adults, a nd have not fostered the deve lopment of critical reasoning and higher order thinking (Eisner, 1991; Quat trone, 1990). In addition, researchers have criticized the middle school fo r not addressing specific deve lopmental issues such as gender issues, conflicts with teachers and ru les, developing a sens e of competency and identity exploration, developing autonomy, fo rming peer relationships, and increasing

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26orientation to peers (Eccles, Midgley, Wi gfield, Reuman, & MacIver, 1993; Manning, 2000; Simmons & Blyth, 1987). Whether the criticism of middle schools is ap propriate or not, th e fact remains that the transition from elementary school to mi ddle school can be a difficult one. The goals of elementary schools tend to be task orient ed, whereas the goals of middle schools tend to focus on performance (Akos, Creamer, & Masina, 2004; Midgley, Anderman, & Hicks, 1995). Middle school teachers tend to have many students for short periods of time; hence, the student-teacher relationship changes from elementary to middle school (Feldlaufer, Midgley, & Eccles, 1988). Associ ated with the change in student-teacher relationships is a change from small-group and individual instruction to whole-class instruction in the intermediate -level schools. Researchers ha ve found declines in student self-perception and self-esteem associated with the transition from elementary school to intermediate-level school (Seidman, Allen, Aber, Mitchell, & Fein man, 1994; Wigfield, Eccles, MacIver, Reuman, & Midgley, 1991). Se idman et al. (1994) found the decline in self-perception to be independent of ag e, grade level, and ability level. In one study, student perceptions of the transition from elementary to middle school were sought. Students reported con cern with the new rules and procedures (e.g., What is the consequence for being late? ), concern with schedules (e.g., Do sixth graders get to do chorus? Do they get to play basketball in gym clas s?), concern with the workload and grades, lockers, extracurricular activities, recess, teachers, and violence and safety issue (What happens if you threaten to hurt a teacher? Do people kill people in middle school?) (Akos, 2002). In another st udy, other worries expressed by students included getting to class on time, finding lo ckers, keeping up with class work, finding

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27lunchroom and bathrooms, getting on the ri ght bus home, getting through crowded halls, remembering which class to go to next, and the aggressive behavi or of other students (Schumacher, 1998). Pellegrini and Bartini (200 0) have suggested that aggression in the form of bullying is a strategy used by "low -ranking individuals" wh en they enter a new social structure, such as moving from elem entary school to middle school (p. 718). Their findings indicated that bullyi ng behaviors increase at this point, and once dominance is established by an individual, aggressive behaviors tend to decline. Indeed, youngsters making the transition to adolescence actually increase their use and endorsement of bullying behaviors (Crick & Wern er, 1998; Pellegrini & Long, 2002). Sarasota County Profile The information on Sarasota county demographics is taken from the supplementary census survey and the 2002 Econom ic Census (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001; U.S. Census Bureau 2002). In 2001, Saraso ta County had a hous ehold population of 329,000 individuals 174,000 (53 percent) fema les and 155,000 (47 percent) males. The median age was 49.5 years. Seventeen percen t of the population were under 18 years and 30 percent were 65 years and older. For people reporting one race, 93% were Wh ite alone; 5% were Black or African American; less than 0.5% were American Indian and Alaska Native; less than 0.5% were Asian; less than 0.5% were Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and 2% were some other race. One percent reported two or more races. Fi ve percent of the people in Sarasota County were Hispanic. Eighty-eight percent of the people in Sarasota County were White non-Hispanic. People of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

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28In 2001 there were 150,000 households in Sarasota County. The average household size was 2.19 people. Families made up 66% of the households in Sarasota County that year. This figure includes both married-couple families (52%) and other families (14%). Non-family households made up 34 percent of all households in Sarasota County. Most of the non-family households were people living al one, but some were comprised of people living in households in wh ich no one was related to the householder. Eleven percent of the people living in Sa rasota County in 2001 were foreign born. Eighty-nine percent were na tive, including 22 percent who were born in Florida. In 2001, 10% of people were in poverty. Ni neteen percent of related children under 18 were below the poverty level, compar ed with 6% of people 65 years old and over. Eight percent of all families and 28% of families with a female householder and no husband present had incomes below the poverty le vel. Ten percent of the households in Sarasota County received means-tested public assistance or non-cash benefits. In 2001, 88% of people 25 years and over ha d at least graduated from high school and 27% had a bachelor's degree or higher. Among people 16 to 19 years old, 10% were dropouts; they were not enroll ed in school and had not graduated from high school. The total school enrollment in Sarasota County was 53,000 in 2001. Preprimary school enrollment was 7,100 and elementary through high school enrollment was 37,000 children. College enrollment was 8,900. Add itional demographic information can be found in the Sarasota Count y profile in Appendix C. Sarasota County Middle School Profile The source for the data on Sarasota C ounty schools was the Florida Department of Education (2004). The total number of sc hools in Sarasota County is 46, of these six

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29are exclusively middle schools and two are comb ination schools. All schools in Sarasota County operate on the traditional school cal endar, except one elementary school. The middle schools in Sarasota County that participated in this survey are schools 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. The two combination school s are schools 2 and 5. The students in all schools have performed well in statew ide testing. School 0 had the poorest performance; Schools 1, 5, 6, 7 had the best scores. The combination schools were omitted from the data analysis, because th ere would not have been enough power to detect the effects of being a combination sc hool. Only schools 0, 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 are used in the analysis. These are the traditional middl e schools consisting of grades sixth, seventh and eighth. Appendix D shows a table of the performance on statewide testing of Sarasota County for these middle schools. In 2003, the median number of students enrolled in middle schools in Florida was 1,036 students. For School 0 the number of students was 1289. School 1 had 1,354; School 3 had 1,110; School 4 had 1,312; School 6 had 1,327; and School 7 had 705 students. The state median percentage of out-ofschool suspensions for middle schools was 14.4% in 2003. The percentage for the part icipating middle schools were as follows: School 0 had 18.2%; School 1 had 7.1%; School 3 had 4.7%; School 4 had 9.8%; School 6 had 3.7%; and School 7 had 15.5%. In 2003, the states median percentage of middle school students who were absent over 20 days in the school year was 14.5%. In the same year the percentages in Sarasota county middle schools were as follows: School 0 had 10.5%; School 1 had 14.0%; School 3 had 12.6%; School 4 had 13.2%; School 6 had 8.5%; and School 7 had 11.1%.

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30 In 2003, the states median percentage of middle school students eligible for free or reduced price lunch was 47%. In the same year the percentages in Sarasota county middle schools were a follows: School 0 had 64.9%; School 1 had 31.4%; School 3 had 34.10%; School 4 had 46%; School 6 had 17%; and School 7 had 11.1%. In 2003, the states median percentage of middle school stud ents in the school who are minorities (Black or African Ameri ca, Hispanic, Asian, or Native America) was 33%. In the same year the percentages in Sa rasota county middle sc hools were a follows: School 0 had 63%; School 1 had 19%; Sc hool 3 had 19%; School 4 had 16%; School 6 had 10%; and School 7 had 7%. Appendix E pr ovides a table summarizing the profiles of middle schools is Sarasota County. School Climate Research addressing school climate and school learning dates over 50 years, and emerges from the theoretical and conceptual work that recognized that both the environment and its interaction with personal characteristics are important determinants of human behavior (Waxman, 1991). School climate research has its roots in both organizational climate research and school e ffects research, from which it has borrowed instruments, theory, and methods (Anderson, 1982). Since school climate can encompass a vast body of phenomena, there are problems in defining it. The definition of school climate varies by theoretical base of researc h, the variable studied, how the variables are measured, and the relationships that exis t among variables (Anders on). Many researchers and educational administrators believe that school climate has a significant effect on the student and learning environment.

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31 One didactic way of envisioning school climate is to use Tagiuris (1968) model (Appendix F). The model has four categories th at incorporate an organizations complete environmental quality. The first category of Tagiuris model is the physical and material environment. In a school setting, this would include, for example, th e characteristics of the school buildings, the number of classroom s, and the size of the class or school, among others. The second category is the milieu, or the social dimension concerned with the members in the organization. In schools, this second category would include teacher characteristics, teacher morale, student mora le, and characteristics of the student body. The third category is the social system. The social system encompasses the social dimension and is concerned with the patterned relationships of persons and groups. In a school setting this would include the ro les played by students, teachers, and administrators, for example. The social system also focuses on administrative organization, instructional programs, teache r-student relationships, teacher-teacher relationships, community-school relationships, and administrator-teacher relationships. The fourth category deals with the social dimensions concerned with belief systems, values, cognitive structures, and meaning. This last category encompasses teacher commitment, peer norms, expectations, and consensus on curriculum. In the Tagiuri (1968) model, school climate results from the interaction of physical environment, milieu, social systems, and culture. In spite of a general agreement that sc hool climate should be studied, there is a lack of consensus on how to define it, and how it should be studied. Freiberg and Stein (1999) define school climate as that quality of a school that helps each individual feel personal worth, dignity and importance, while simultaneously helping create a sense of

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32belonging to something beyond ourselves (p. 11). Hoy and Hannum (1997) describe school climate as a global construct that res earchers often use loosely to group together studies of school environment, learning environm ent, learning climate, sense of climate, sense of community, leadership, academic climate, and social climate. School climate is the schools personality. It is a general term that refers to the students perceptions of the environment, and these perceptions influe nce the behavior of students (Welsh, 2000). School climate can be assessed in a vari ety of ways. One way of assessing school climate is to use perceptual measures to de termine how people view the climate. School climate can be measured in a student-cente red manner (student pe rceptions), a teachercentered manner (teacher perceptions), an admi nistrative-centered manner (administrator perceptions), and/or community/parent cen tered (parent and community perceptions (Freiberg, 1999). School climate can also be measured in a dir ect or an indirect manner. In a direct measure, a researcher interacts with others to collect data. Direct measures include surveys, classroom observations, interviews, video taping, journal na rratives, student art, and focus groups (Freiberg & Stein, 1999). School climate can also be measured in an indirect manner. These measures do not require direct interactions with the rese arch subjects. Indirect measures include existing data sources, such as teacher, or ad ministrative records. These records can be a rich source of data and can include attendan ce, visits to the nurse s office, discipline referrals to the principals office, suspensi ons and expulsions, mobility rates, and teacher turnover rates, to name a few (Freiberg, 1999) Other types of i ndirect measures may include analysis of the phys ical presentation of buildings hallways, and classrooms,

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33including the level of lighting, the colors present, and the use of vegetation around the facilities. Observation of the type of work displayed on bulletin boa rds, the presence or absence of graffiti, the ambient noise le vel in common areas (cafeteria, playground, hallways, etc.) also provide indirect measures of school climate (Fre iberg, 1999; Freiberg & Stein, 1999). Youth Risk Behavior Survey Middle School The Centers for Disease Control and Pr evention (CDC) created the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) in 1990. The purpose of the system is to focus on specific health-related behavi ors among youth that contribute to the leading causes of death, disease, disability, and social problem s in the United States (Kolbe, 1990; Kolbe, Kann, & Collins, 1993). Since 1991, the High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is administered bienni ally to a national three-stage cluster sample as well as representative samples in states and territori es. The data gathered with the survey are used to establish the prev alence of health-risk behavi ors among high school youth, as well as determine age of initiation of some of the specific behaviors. The results of the surveys confirm that many risk behaviors are initiated earlier than high school. Consequently, more information was needed about the health-risk behaviors of younger adolescents (Fetro, Coyle, & Pham, 2001). In 1995, the Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS-M) was developed for use with middle school students. Due to the sensitive nature of some of the survey questions and local policies about pare ntal permission (pa ssive or active), few middle schools actually implemented the in strument (Fetro, Coyle, & Pham, 2001). Beginning in 1999, the Sarasota County Sc hool Board administered the YRBS-M

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34biannually. Additional questions were adde d to the YRBS-M by the Sarasota School Board, concerning issues such as smoking, c onsumption of alcohol, and visits to the dental hygienist (Pitt, McCo rmack Brown, & Reynolds, 2003). Large surveys such as the YRBS, the Y RBS-M, and the modified versions of YRBS-M, such as the one administered in Sa rasota, are useful in providing prevalence estimates, and can be used to determine how cer tain characteristics are distributed in the population under study. However, large nati onal/regional surveys have been conducted for the purpose of providing precise descrip tive information and not for the purpose of building or testing complex theoretical m odels or exploring the complexity of multivariate and multisystem relationships. The main strength of a survey is that it can be administered to a large number of people. Unfortunately, the efforts to maintain high reliability and minimize the time that is required to collect the data can be frustrating from the viewpoint of academic researchers. The use of such surveys lim its the researcher in the following ways: decreases the number of questi ons that can be asked; curt ails the use of open-ended questions or procedures that might be too time consuming or expensive; and reduces the number of response alternatives provided. In short, using a survey such as the YRBS-M to answer research questions based on an ecological framework is challenging. Lero (1988, p. 83) summarizes the dilemma: the ecological researcher who is interested in complex patterns of relationships within and between settings may find that in using a national survey she/he must continually str uggle to reach the best compromise between depth and breadth, quantity and quality, and efficiency vs. richness of detail.

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35For this study a modified YRBS-M was administered. This modified version included questions on bullying behaviors and qu estions on student perceptions of school climate. Summary of the Literature Review Bullying is one of the most common type s of school violence (Flannery & Singer, 1999), and it can take the form of physical, ve rbal, or relational bullying (Olweus, 1993). Although consensus does not exist on the exac t definition of bullying, most researchers agree that bullying involves a child being repeatedly victimized; that the abuse is unprovoked; and that there is a power imbalan ce, which favors the aggressor in the bully and victim interaction (Olweus, 1999). When applying Bronfenbrenners ecologica l theory of human development to the problem of school bullying, the theory dictat es that the school se tting would have an effect on students behaviors. However, the influence of the school setting is not exerted by the objective nature of the setting, but instead the school setting influences student behaviors through the students perceptions of thei r school environment (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), what this study refers to as perceptions of school climate. Middle schools are one school setting in which student perceptions of their school environment are evolving. Middle school s represent a time of transition, where educational expectations and pr actices change and the students must interact with more peers and teachers (National Middle School Association & National Association of Elementary School Principals, 2003). As a re sult of these changes, students in middle school must adjust to unknown roles, and some researchers have suggested that bullying

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36is a strategy some students may use as they enter this unfamiliar situation (Pellegrini & Bartini, 2000). The following chapter will explain how th e author analyzed the perceptions of school climate and bullying beha viors of middle school students in six Sarasota County, Florida public schools, within the framework of Bronfenbrenne rs ecological theory of human development. To collect data on the school climate va riables and bullying behaviors, the researcher added questions regarding school climate perceptions and bullying to the YRBS-M, a survey tool deve loped to assess the prevalence of risk behaviors among middle school students (Fetro, Coyle, & Pham, 2001).

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37 Chapter 3 Methods This chapter describes the methods that were used in this study. It also describes the purpose of the study and the research ques tions; the study partic ipants and the study setting; the qualitative and qua ntitative data gathering inst ruments; the data collection procedures; and the data analysis. Purpose of the Study Bullying is an important social issue th at negatively affects a large number of students in schools (Batsche & Knoff, 1994; Nans el et al., 2001). To date, most of the research on bullying has focused on individual characteristics of students that make them likely to bully, be victims, or fall into the bully/victim category (Olweus, 1997; Swearer & Doll, 2001). Although the individual charact eristics of a student unquestionably play a role on that student engaging in bullying behaviors, the interaction of these intrinsic factors and his or her co ntext is less well understood (Swearer & Doll). The primary purpose of this study was to analyze how student perceptions of school climate (for example, how they view their relationship with peers and faculty and how they feel about their role as students) relates to the se lf-reported prevalence of peer bullying among middle school studen ts in six public schools in Sarasota County, Florida. This study assessed the prevalence of bullying in the sample and explored the types of bullying that occur most frequently. The study also investigated if the prevalence of each type of bullying varied accord ing to school characteristics, or if it varied by grade or

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38gender. The study explored st udent perceptions of school climate, by ascertaining how they viewed their relationship s with teachers and peers, th eir level of worry regarding their role at school, their sense of ambiguity or comfort, their sense of belonging, and their perception of parental involvement in the school. The extent to which these perceptions vary from school to school or by grade or gender also were analyzed. Additionally, as part of the process of pret esting the survey questi ons, teacher interview data on perceptions of school climate and bully ing in each of the six middle schools were collected. The data obtained from the in terviews were used to generate possible explanations to the patterns obt ained from the analyses of the student surveys. Whereas the researcher attempted to obtain observational data of the school building, by performing a walk-through of the school, the limited access to the schools, imposed by the understandable safety concerns of school ad ministrators, made these data limited or absent, and therefore were not used in the study. Research Questions This study addresses the fo llowing research questions: 1. What is the prevalence of bullying in the sample? 2. What type of bullying occurs most fre quently (physical, verbal, relational)? 3. Are there differences in type of bully ing or victimization as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? 4. What are the perceptions of school cl imate among students in this sample? 5. Are there differences in school climat e perception as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade?

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396. Do the dependent variables sc hool climate variables and school membership have a significant relati onship with students reporting being involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? 7. Does the combined effect of dependen t variables school climate variables and school (enrollment, absences, staff, percent of students classified as disabled, and percent free or school lunch) explain the observed variation in students reporting being invol ved in bullying at all? 8. Does gender modify the observed effect s of dependent variables on students reporting involvement in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? Effect modification occurs when the associa tion between the independent variable and the dependent variable is affected by a third factor, in this case gender. Appendix G summarizes the research questions. Research Participants Staff Interview Participants As part of a service project conducted for the Sarasota County School District, staff interviews were conducted to gather in formation on staff perceptions of bullying in their schools and to pretest survey questi ons. The interview participants were professional staff (for exam ple, middle school teachers guidance counselors, school psychologists) from each of the six public middle schools in Sarasota County. Three interviews per school were planned. The inte rviews were scheduled through the school safety liaisons that work for the school dist rict. The school safety liaison officers set up the interviews because they are in a position to interact with a number of middle schools, and as part of the team that administers th e Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), they

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40are responsible for YRBS-related activities in the school district. The interviews consisted of asking the partic ipant questions about the ma gnitude of the problem of bullying in their school and th e factors affecting this problem. The interview was also used as an opportunity for the participants to provide feedback on the readability and face validity of the questionnaire. The feedback about the questionnaire was used to make revisions to the bullying and school climate items of the survey. In addition to the interviews, the res earcher attempted to conduct focus groups with teachers at each of the six participat ing schools. However, these focus groups did not take place because of the difficulty encountered in recruiting participants. YRBS-MS Survey Participants The participants were sixth, seventh, a nd eighth graders in six middle schools in Sarasota, Florida who were taking the YRBS-M. There were 4593 surveys submitted by middle school students. Of these, 4119 su rveys were completed. Because this study looked only at responses from students in traditional middle schools comprising grades sixth through eighth, who said that they had be en truthful most of the time in answering the survey questions, 3178 respondents were ul timately included in the study. Due to partial completion of some surveys, the total number of respondents reported for individual survey items may vary. The age of students included in the study range from ten years of age to 16, with only 13 student s reporting being ten years old and seven reporting being 16 years or older. Both the youngest and the oldest students were included. There were 1,668 girls (52.6%) and 1505 boys (47.4%). The sample consisted of 739 sixth graders, 1398 seventh graders, a nd 1028 eighth graders. The ethnicity of the respondents included 118 (3.8%) American Indi an or Alaskan native; 53 (1.70%) Asian;

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41308 (9.9%) Black or African American; 327 (10.5%) Hispanic or Latino; 44 (1.4%) Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; a nd 2261 (72.7%) White. Table 1 presents a summary of the demographic data. Table 1. Summary of Demographi c Characteristics of Respondents Variable Values Number* Percent Sex Male 1505 47.4 Female 1668 52.6 Grade 6 739 23.3 7 1398 44.0 8 1028 32.3 Ethnicity American Indian or Alaskan Native 118 3.8 Asian 53 1.7 Black or African American 308 9.9 Hispanic or Latino 327 10.5 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 44 1.4 White 2261 72.7 Total 3178 100 *Due to partial completion of some surveys the total N reported for individual survey items may vary. Passive parental permission was obtaine d through the school district. Each student received a passive consent form from the school district, advising parents of the survey (Appendix H). All stud ents in the sixth, seventh, a nd eighth grades, present on the day of the survey were encouraged to comp lete the survey, except for students whose parents requested their non-part icipation at the time of enro llment. The Sarasota County School Districts protocol for informed c onsent was followed for the service project component of the study, which consists of the developmen t, pretesting, and administration of the survey. Prior to c onducting the data analys is the researcher obtained approval from the Institutional Re view Board (IRB) and complied with all

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42ethical rules and regulations for conducting the study (see Appendix P for IRB approval). There were no identifiers on the surveys. Surveys were saved as computer files. Research Setting Sarasota County is located in west cent ral Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico. A profile of demographic char acteristics of the county can be found in Appendix C. According to statistics published by the Fl orida Department of Education (2003), the number of students enrolled in Sarasotas public schools grades six, seven, and eight was 9,573, in 2003-2003. The researcher gathered data from six public middle schools. These six schools had a combin ed student population of 7,097 students for that same school year. Qualitative Data Gathering Instruments Interview guide development. The interview with school professional st aff was used to gather information for two purposes. The first purpose was to have pa rticipants judge the quality of the bullying and school climate items in the survey, part icularly focusing on the readability of the questions and whether or not the questions seem to consti tute a reasonable method for gaining information regarding bullying a nd school climate perceptions from middle school students. Focus group interviews were also planned, but could not be completed due to difficulty in obtaining participants. A copy of the staff interview and focus group guides can be found in Appendix I. Observational guide development. In recent years there has been a gr owing awareness about how the physical environment affects human behavior, and a vari ety of studies have pointed to specific

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43physical environmental school conditions that affect student performance and behavior (Bosch 2002; Schneider, 2001; Tanner, 1999a). For the observational component of this study, the researcher a ttempted to take notes on a variety of physical environmental features in the school. Due to the limited access to the schools, however, imposed by the understandable safety concerns of school ad ministrators, the researcher was unable to make these observations. The physical characteristics of the school that would have been included in the checklist of physical characteristics have been reported to affect student behavior and performance (Tanner, 1999b). The entrance area should be a fri endly space connecting the outside world to the inside world, wh ile providing access control (Schneider, 2001; Tanner 2000). Tanner (1999a, 2000) also point s to pathways being important. These should be clearly defined ar eas that allow freedom of movement among structures, including promenades that connect buildings to one another. Administration should also be centralized in one location, with offices grouped together and allowing for connection and experience (Earthman, 1998). Green areas on campus, places outside wher e trees, grass, and gardens may be seen, with no cars or roads in view are also important (Tanner, 1999a). Other important aspects of the school physical environment are displays of student work, and the absence of graffiti and litter (Tanner, 1999b). YRBS-M Quantitative Data Gathering Instrument As part of a service project with the Sarasota County School District, the author worked on a bullying and school climate needs assessment project. Questions on bullying and student perceptions of school cl imate were added to the YRBS-M. Using

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44items from two previous instruments, the author compiled the school climate portion of the survey. The school climate questions focused on student concerns about school (Freiberg, 1998) and feelings about school (Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2002) and can be found in Appendix K. The bully ing portion of the survey is designed to assess levels of physical, verbal and relational bullying and vi ctimization. A guide to the added questions, which provides iteration re garding what each item on the survey is intended to measure, is incl uded in Appendices K and L. One section of the survey assessed student perceptions of school climate. This section considered the top-ra nked concerns of students en tering middle school (Freiberg, 1998). In addition to these questions, items regarding general student perceptions about the school were also included (Annenberg In stitute, 2002). Psychometric information was not available for either of these instrume nts. This is the case for school climate surveys appearing in the literature, because mo st of the surveys are used as part of a needs assessment process (Fre iberg, 1999). The questions were selected to reflect the concerns of middle school student s, particularly as they woul d relate to tr ansition into middle school issues (Feldlaufer, Midgle y, & Eccles, 1988; Frei berg, 1998; Midgley, Anderman, & Hicks, 1995). There were 25 sc hool climate questions, each with five response options. These questions are numbere d questions 70 through 94 in the survey. All responses were mutually exclusive and independent. Resp onse options were strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disa gree, disagree, strongly disagree. Another section of the survey assessed the prevalence of bullying activities. This section measured self-reported levels of bullying during the past 30 days using a version of the survey list. The bullyi ng questions were items 14 through 23.

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45 In the survey list measure, students were asked about the frequency of ten specific incidents. Five items relate to the respondent as a victim, and five items relate to the respondent as the bully. Phys ical victimization was measur ed by having students report how often they had been pushed, shoved, sl apped, or kicked on purpose. Verbal victimization was measured by having student s indicate how often th ey had been teased or called names and how often they had been threatened to be hit or hurt. Relational victimization was assessed by having stude nts indicate how ofte n other students had spread rumors about them and how often they had been excluded from activities by other students. Similarly, the five items designe d to assess student involvement in bullying asked students to report the number of times in the past month that they have engaged in physical bullying, verbal bullyi ng, and relational bully ing. These items are similar to the items from the Physical, Verbal and Social Manipulation subscales on the Multidimensional Peer-Victimization Scale (Mynard & Joseph, 2000), but have been worded to take into account the social intera ctions that take place to differentiate between friendly teasing among friends and bullying. Th is differentiation is important, because as Swearer and Doll (2001) assert, in an ecological framework bullying must be defined as a constellation of behavioral interactions (p.11). They go on to explain that the definition of bullying must acknowledge the co nstellation of critical features of the socio-ecological system that contributes to the occurrence of an incident of bullying (p.12). In other words, bullying is not just a behavior. To label a behavior as bullying, the behavior has to be interpreted in contex t. For example, bullying is repeated over time; the bully must deliberately intend to hurt the victim; the bu llys action must be largely unprovoked; and there must exist an asymmetric power relationship between the

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46bully and the victim (the victim must feel belittled or help less against the bully). If bullying is defined solely as a set of disc rete behaviors (hit, shove, tease), it becomes possible to mislabel behaviors of namecalling, physical jostling, and verbal insults between friends. Researchers have observed that children will tolerate these behaviors from friends but will interpret and react to th ese behaviors differently if they come from someone outside their circle of friend s (McConnell & Odom, 1986). The danger of mislabeling these rough play behaviors as bully ing is real, because evidence suggests that children engage in these prete nd conflicts, and that these pr etend conflicts contribute to their social competence (Pellegrini, 1993; Pellegrini & Boyd, 1993; Pellegrini & Davis, 1993). To address the possible mislabeling of normal peer conf lict as bullying, the researcher did four things. First the bullying questions were prefaced with a definition of bullying that emphasizes the following: 1) the imbalance of power that suggests this interaction is not between friends; and 2) th e purposeful nature of the aggression. The actual definition used in the survey was: Bu llying is anything from teasing, saying mean things, writing mean notes, or leaving some one out of the group, to physical attacks (hitting, pushing, kicking) wher e one person or a group of pe ople picks on another person over and over again. Kids who are bullied have a hard time defending themselves. Second, the questions were asked in a manner th at elicits from the student the number of times that the action has take n place over a period of thirty days, thereby distinguishing between the repeated negativ e actions of bullying and th e occasional peer conflict. Thirdly, the questions were asked in a ma nner that takes into account the strong emotional reaction from the victim that bully ing causes, for example, the student who is bullied may feel lonely, sad, scared, or embarra ssed. Finally, the researcher created two

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47variables, bullying victimization and bullyi ng aggression, by adding the variable within each category. Creation of these two composite variables, creates two variables that capture the frequency of each type of bullyi ng as well as exposure to each type of bullying activity. Two validity items were also included (I am telling the truth on this survey and I am reading this survey carefully). The first item has been used in the previous Sarasota YRBS-M, and both items have been used previously in a safe schools survey (Cornell & Loper, 1998). These two items we re important, because school surveys have been criticized for being susceptible to careless and exaggerate d reporting (Cornell & Loper; Furlong & Morrison, 1994). Additionally one question was asked of students to determine whether or not they have been i nvolved in a bullying prevention programs at school. This is question number 95 in the YRBS-M. See Appendix M for the YRBS-M. Face validity and content validity. The validity of a questionna ire concerns what the que stionnaire measures and how well it does so. It tells the researcher what can be inferred from the scores (Loewenthal, 1996; Neuman, 1997). Face validity was determined by asking a panel of middle school professional staff, including teachers, guidance counselors, and school psychologists, and a panel of middle school students whether or not the quest ions added to the survey can adequately and completely assess bullying and student perc eptions of school climate. Face validity requires that the measure appears relevant to your construct to those you wish to measure. Face validity was established during the first rounds of pilot testing that are explained below.

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48Content validity refers to the extent to wh ich the sample of questions in the survey are representative of the con cepts they are intended to reflect (Aday, 1996; McDermott & Sarvela, 1999). Content validity is determined during the process of writing the survey questions, by seeing if indepe ndent judges agree that the it ems appear to be measuring what they are supposed to measure and that the response options are adequate (Loewenthal, 1996). Therefore, to establish content validity, a panel of experts was selected. The steps used in th is study to establish content va lidity have been previously described (McKenzie, Wood, Kotecki, Clark, Brey, 1999). The first step consists of writing a draft of the survey questions. Th is was done after a t horough review of the literature and included questions from previ ously used surveys (Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2002; Freiberg, 1999; M ynard & Joseph, 2000; Olweus, 1999). The next step is to establish a panel of experts. A panel of eleven judges was selected to evaluate the added survey ques tions. Panel members were selected on the basis of professional preparation as health educators and/or mi ddle school teachers, middle school counselors, evaluation/measurement experts, and researchers in the field of school bullying. Their expertise was defined by a combination of three factors: academic schooling and/or their work in th e field of bullying; their public ations and/or their roles in developing bullying policies fo r schools; and assessment by p eers as an expert in the field. These criteria have been reported as reliable approaches to expert panel selection (Lutz, Saariluoma, Sanderson, & Scherbov, 2000) Additional criteria for panel selection were willingness to serve on the jury and the ability to complete the task in the time frame required.

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49Once the panel was selected, the qualitative review of the instrument took place. This process entailed providing the jurors with a packet of materials: 1) cover letter explaining the panel member tasks, thanking the panel members for their participation, and establishing a due date; 2) a copy of the draft instrument; 3) a list of questions to answer regarding the clarity, completene ss, and brevity of the instrument, the appropriateness of the content, and the adequacy of the response items; 4) the objectives of the instrument; and 5) a self-addressed stamped envel ope. During the qualitative review of the instrument, the researcher looked for consensus among the panels comments. Consensus that there was a problem with an item indicated that a change should be made. As well as undertaking a qualitative review each panel reviewer was also asked to undertake a quantitative review that consiste d of rating the appropriateness of each item by stating if each item is essential, useful but not essential, or not necessary. Once the panelist responses were compiled, the research er summed the responses for each item and calculates the content validity ratio (CVR), according to a formula from Lawshe (1975). According to the formula the CVR is calculated as follows: CVR= (ne N/2) / N/2 where: ne = number of panelists indicating essential N = total number of panelists The CVRs for each item are then compared to the levels necessa ry for statistical significance at p<.05. These CVR levels are provided by Venziano and Hooper (1997)

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50and McKenzie and colleagues (1999) and are li sted in Appendix N. The results of the content validity ratio analysis fo r this study are included in Table 2. Table 2. Content Validity Ratio Results for Bullying and School Climate Variables Variables Content Validity Ratio During the 30 days, how many times did another student tease or call you names ? 1 During the 30 days, how many times did another student threaten to hit or hurt you? 1 During the 30 days, how many times did another st udent spread rumors about you? 1 During the 30 days, how many times did other student s not let you join in what they were doing? 0.8 During the 30 days, how many times did another student push, shove, slap, hit, or kick you on purpose? 1 During the 30 days, how many times did you tease or call another student names? 1 During the 30 days, how many times did you threaten to hit or hurt another student? 1 During the 30 days, how many times did you sp read rumors about another student? 1 During the 30 days, how many times did you keep an other student from joining in what you were doing? 0.8 During the 30 days, how many times did you push, shove, slap, hit, or kick another student on purpose? 1 My teachers expect that students treat each other with respect. 1 Teachers at this school are not interested in people like me. 0.8 My teachers take the time to listen to me when I have a problem. 0.6 My teachers treat students fairly. 0.6 My teachers give help in class when I ask for it. 0.6 There is at least one teacher or adult at this school I can talk with if I have a problem. 0.8 My teachers talk to me in a friendly way. 0.8 Teachers here respect me. 1 I worry about not making friends at school. 0.6 Students in my classes help one another when they need it. 0.6 Students in my classes get along with each other. 1 I know most of the students in my classes. 0.6 I get along with other students at this school. 1 There are clear consequences for breaking the rules at school. 1 There are clear rules at our school. 1 I can count on the adults at this school to listen to me. 0.8 I work hard on homework for in my classes. 0.6 I worry about failing at school. 0.6 My parents/guardians know whats going on in my classes this year. 0.8 My parents/guardians know they can take part in school-related events such as parent nights and field trips 0.8 People here notice when I am good at something. 0.6 I participate in after-school activities at this school. 0.8 I wish I were at a different school. 1 I can really be myself at this school. 0.8 I feel like a part of this school. 1 Expert Panel of 11 judges

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51Criterion and construc t-related validity. Criterion validity, which uses a standard or criterion that is kn own to indicate the construct accurately (Neuman, 1997), cannot be established, because there is no gold standard for measuring bullying or student perceptions of school climate. The construct-related validity of a test is the extent to which the test is said to measure a theoretical constr uct or trait (Aday, 1996; Lo ewenthal, 1996). Construct validity tests whether a hypothesized associ ation between the survey measure and a measure of the same concept or a differe nt concept is confirmed (Neuman, 1997). Construct validity of the student perceptions of school climate questions were conducted. The 25 questions that are part of the st udent perceptions of school climate portion of the YRBS-M are hypothesized to fall into six categories: relationships with teachers; relationships with peers; sens e of ambiguity (sense of pr edictability); worries about student/adolescent role; sense of belonging; and perceptions of parental participation. The questions and the constructs they measure are listed in Appendix K. To determine the construct validity for the student perceptions of school climate questions, the researcher util ized exploratory factor anal ysis (principal component analysis), a commonly used st atistical approach for this purpose (Bartholomew, Steele, Moustaki, & Galbraith, 2002; McDermott & Sa rvela, 1999). Developed as a means of identifying psychological traits, factor analysis refers to a variety of techniques that are particularly relevant in c onstruct validation (Anastasi, 1988; Kim & Mueller, 1978). In factor analysis, there ar e four basic steps: the data collection and preparation of the relevant covariance matrix; the extraction of the initial factors; the rotation to a terminal solution and interpretation; and the c onstruction of factor s cales and their use in

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52further analysis (Kim & Mueller, 1978). The SPSS statistical package (SPSS 12.0) was used for all four steps. The results of the factor analysis indeed yielded six factors. The dimensionality of the 25 perceptions of school climate ite ms from the Modified Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey was analyzed using pr incipal components analysis. Three criteria were used to determine the number of factors to rotate: the interpretability of the factor solution, the scree test and Ka isers criterion. Based on th e scree plot and Kaisers criterion six factors were extr acted for rotation. Consequent ly, six factors were rotated using an oblique rotation procedure. Oblique rotation was se lected over orthogonal rotation, because in the former, factors are allowed to correlat e. The rotated solution, as shown on Table 3, yielded six interpretable f actors: perceptions of teachers, sense of ambiguity/certainty, worries, peer rela tionships, sense of belonging, and home involvement. The results for the total va riance explained are di splayed on Table 4.

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53Table 3. Pattern Matrix of Six School Climate Factors Component Teachers Ambiguity Worries Peers Belonging Home SC8 .753 SC4 .748 SC7 .744 SC5 .701 SC3 .698 SC16 .585 SC2 recoded for pca .487 SC1 .444 SC6 .400 SC14 .644 SC12 .643 SC15 .497 SC18New .783 SC9 recoded for pca .701 SC11 -.808 SC10 -.717 SC13 -.541 SC24 -.742 SC25 -.695 SC23New -.596 SC21 -.400 SC20 .844 SC19 .770 SC17 .609 SC22 .534 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. Ro tation Method: Oblimin with Kaiser Normalization. a Rotation converged in 18 iterations.

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54Table 4. Total Variance Explained by Six School Climate Factors Initial Eigenvalues Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings Rotation Sums of Squared Loadings(a) Component Total % of Variance Cumulative % Total % of Variance Cumulative % Total 1 8.219 32.876 32.876 8.219 32.876 32.876 6.272 2 1.745 6.981 39.857 1.745 6.981 39.857 2.935 3 1.415 5.659 45.516 1.415 5.659 45.516 1.451 4 1.131 4.523 50.039 1.131 4.523 50.039 3.122 5 1.031 4.122 54.161 1.031 4.122 54.161 3.703 6 .958 3.834 57.995 .958 3.834 57.995 4.930 7 .828 3.313 61.308 8 .825 3.300 64.608 9 .758 3.033 67.641 10 .701 2.802 70.443 11 .690 2.759 73.203 12 .638 2.550 75.753 13 .626 2.506 78.259 14 .607 2.427 80.686 15 .579 2.314 83.001 16 .559 2.234 85.235 17 .524 2.097 87.331 18 .485 1.942 89.273 19 .465 1.860 91.134 20 .426 1.705 92.838 21 .392 1.569 94.407 22 .387 1.550 95.957 23 .371 1.486 97.443 24 .344 1.376 98.819 25 .295 1.181 100.000 Instrument readability. One way of assessing the suitability of ma terials is to use readability formulas. There are a variety of readab ility formulas available, su ch as Gunning FOG Readability Test (Gunning, 1952) and the Fl esch-Kincaid Formula (Smith & Smith, 1994). In this study, the researcher used the Powers-S umner-Kearl Formula (Johnson, 2002). This formula is the only one of the formulae suitable for material geared to children, primarily

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55in the seven to ten year old age range. To employ this formula, the researcher selects samples of 100 words; calculates the aver age sentence length (L = number of words number of sentences); estimates the number of sentences to the nearest tenth, where necessary; counts the number of syllables per 100 words (N); and calculates grade level by solving the following: ( L 0.0778 ) + ( N 0.0455 ) 2.2029. Consequently, reading age equals (L 0.0778 ) + ( N 0.0455 ) + 2.7971 years. The researcher had targeted for a fifth grade level readability and was not only dependent on the results of the readability formulas. The researcher also relied on the judgement s about the surveys readability made by teachers at the six middle schools. In terms of readability formulas, different sections of the survey ranged in grade level from 4.076 to 6.003. Teachers at the six mi ddle schools expressed their opinion that the survey was written at a level that was r eadable to the average middle school student in their classes. Test-retest reliability. The stability reliability of a survey m easure refers to the reproducibility of measures of the same concept over time or across methods of gathering information (Aday, 1996). Thus, test-retest reliability re flects the instruments consistency at different points in time. Test-retest reliability is estimated by correlating the results of a test that has been administered at least twice to the same group of people (McDermott & Sarvela, 1999). As a test of reliability, th e bullying, perceptions of school climate portions of the survey, and questions 1 through 4 of the Y RBS-M (age, sex, grade, ethnicity) were administered to a combination of sixth, seve nth, and eighth graders (N=30) from a school

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56not participating in the re gularly scheduled middle school YRBS, in October 2003. The same students completed the same portions of the survey instrument a second time, approximately two weeks later. The abbreviated version of the survey in strument, used to estimate test-retest reliability, consisted of four demographi c questions, ten bullying questions, and 25 questions concerning student perceptions of sc hool climate. These questions were items 1-4, 14-23, and 70-94 in the YRBS-M, in Appendix M. Test-retest reliability was computed using Pearson correlation coefficients for interval-level data (age). The Spearman ra nk order coefficient was computed for ordinal level variables for the bullying questions a nd the perceptions of school climate items. For nominal level data (sex, grade, ethnici ty), percentage agreement was calculated between the two sets of scores. The correlation coefficients resulting fr om the analyses are a measure of the association between the responses given to a question at two points in time. The closer the resulting value of the coefficient is to 1, the more stable or consistent the indicator can be said to be at different points in time. A value of zero would indicate that the two variables are completely independent of each ot her. For the student perceptions of school climate variables, the res earcher did not expect a st rong correlation, because this phenomenon was expected to fluctuate substantially over time, which may result in reliability being underestimated. The vari ables relating to bullying behaviors were expected to be somewhat more stable over ti me, because the question refers to a 30-day timeframe, and the time between the first te st and the second test was two weeks.

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57 For age, the Pearson Correlation wa s 0.981, which was significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). For sex, grade, and et hnicity, the percentage agreement was 100, 96.66, and 86.66 respectively. The Spearman Rank Co rrelation results fo r the test-retest analyses are on table 5. Table 5. Results for Test-Retest of School Climate and Bullying Variables Question Spearman Rank Correlation During the past 30 days, how many times did another student tease or call you names? 0.941** During the past 30 days, how many times did another student threaten to hit or hurt you? 0.665** During the past 30 days, how many times did another student spread rumors about you? 0.653** During the past 30 days, how many times did other students not let you join in what they were doing? 0.902** During the past 30 days, how may times did another student push, shove, slap, hit, or kick you on purpose? 0.765** During the past 30 days, how many times did you tease or call another student names? 0.982** During the past 30 days, how many times did you threaten to hit or hurt another student? 0.768** During the past 30 days, how many times did you spread rumors about another student? 0.936** During the past 30 days, how many times did you keep another student from joining in what you were doing? 0.993** During the past 30 days, how many times did you push, shove, slap, hit, or kick another student on purpose? 0.582** My teachers expect that students treat each other with respect. 0.806** Teachers at this school are not interested in people like me. 0.730** My teachers take the time to listen to me when I have a problem. 0.576** My teachers treat stude nts fairly. 0.855** My teachers give help in clas s when I ask for it. 0.813** There is at least one teacher or adult at this school I can talk with if I have a problem. 0.876** My teachers talk to me in a friendly way. 0.859** Teachers here respect me. 0.619** I worry about not making friends at school. 0.931** Students in my classes help one another when they need it. 0.916** Students in my classes get al ong with each other. 0.672** I know most of the students in my classes. 0.398 (not sig) I get along with other students at this school. 0.824** There are clear consequences for breaking the rules at school. 0.769**

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58Table 5 (Continued) There are clear rules at our school. 0.765** I can count on the adults at this school to listen to me. 0.752** I work hard on homework for my classes. 0.786** I worry about failing at school. 0.778** My parents/guardians know whats going on in my classes this year. 0.742** My parents/guardians know they can take part in school-related events such as parent nights and field trips. 0.881** People here notice when I am good at something. 0.739** I participate in after-school activities at this school. 0.543** I wish I were at a different school. 0.910** I can really be myself at this school 0.791** I feel like a part of this school. 0.906** I have been taught about not bullying at school. 0.664** ** Correlation is significan t at p<.01 (two-tailed) Internal consistency reliability Within a test, individuals should resp ond in a consistent way. For internal consistency reliability estimation the research er uses a single measurement instrument administered to a group of people on one occasio n to estimate reliability. In effect, the reliability of the instrument is judged, by estimating how well the items that reflect the same construct yield similar results (Ana stasi, 1988; Neuman, 1997). Statistically, relability means that the responses should co rrelate with one another. One method for establishing internal consistency is ca lculating the Cronbach alpha coefficient (McDermott & Sarvela, 1999). The Cronbach alpha coefficients were calculated for all items within the perceptions of school climate subscales, which are relationship with teachers (items 70-77, 84, and 85 in YRBS-M); relationships with peers (items 76, 80, 82); home involvement (items 86, 88, 89, 91); an d sense of belonging (items 90, 92-94). There are only two items that measure student s sense of worry with regards to school

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59(items 78 and 87). For these two items and for the sense of ambiguity (items 81, 83) items, the researcher calculated a Spearmans correlation coefficient. The Cronbach alpha coefficient the sc hool climate subscale relationship with teachers was 0.882. The Cronbach alpha coeffi cient for relationship with peers was 0.769. The Cronbach alpha for home involve ment was 0.705. The Cronbach alpha for a sense of belonging was 0.749. These Cronbach al pha scores reflect that the subscales have good internal reliability, pa rticularly in light that the scores for each item tend to be skewed to the right. The Spearmans corre lation coefficient for the two items that constitute the worries scale wa s .394 and the correlation coeffi cient is significant. The Spearmans correlation coefficient for the two items that constitute the sense of ambiguity scare was .356 and the correlation coefficient is significant. The Spearman correlation coefficients are not strong. However, this result is not surprising, because the correlation coefficient quantifies linear cova riation only. A correlation analysis would not be as helpful if one variable increases as the other variable increases up to a point, and then one variable decreases as the increa ses further. In such a case, one might obtain a low value of r even though the two variables are strongly related. Pilot testing of the survey instrument. The researcher pilot tested the bullying a nd perceptions of school climate portions of the survey. This shorte ned instrument also included questions 1-4 of the YRBS-M (age, sex, grade, ethnicity). The researcher pilot tested the instrume nt by administering the survey to sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students in school A. School A is an alternative school in Sarasota County, with an enrollment of 67 stude nts. This school had a smaller teacher to

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60student ratio (1:4 compared to 1:20). This school also had a higher proportion of male students (56%). Additionally the school had a higher proportion of Black and Hispanic students (40% Black or African American and 24% Hispanic). Additionally, most of the students at this school were eligible for th e free or reduced lunch program (83%). In spite of how different this school was from the others, this middle school was the pilot testing site, because it was th e only school available. There were four rounds of pilot testing. In the first round of pilot testing, the researcher conducted semi-structured intervie ws with ten to 12 re spondents to determine whether draft questions were clear, conve yed consistent meaning across respondents (including across grade levels), and explor ed whether the cognitive processes invoked by the questions matched the researchers obj ectives for those ques tions. The survey instrument did not need to be revised after the first round of pilot testing. The students involved in the first round of the pilot test were not involve d in subsequent pilot testing. For the next two rounds of pilot test ing, the researcher administered an abbreviated instrument to the same gr oup of 30 students on two different days, approximately two weeks apart. This group of students consisted of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders attending school A. With the data gathered from the pilot testing, the researcher calculated test-retest (for students who responde d on both days, N=20 students). The researcher also reviewed intern al consistency to see if questions that are supposed to measure the same concept indeed do. The final pilot test took place with five students and consisted of the students taking the entire survey. This was used to see how long it would take the students to complete the survey and to see if there ar e any previously unencountered problems with

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61the format. Students completed the survey in 40 to 75 minutes. Students did not report any problems with the format. Qualitative Data Collection and Procedures Staff interviews data collection. The staff interviews included both male a nd female professional staff, such as middle school teachers (sixth, seventh, and eighth grades), guidance counselors, and school resource officers. There were a tota l of 22 interviews (19 teachers, 2 guidance counselors, 1 school resource o fficer). Participants were recruited by the School Safety Liaisons, as required by the Sara sota County School Dist rict. There were to have been at least three interviews per sc hool, but no participants were recruited from two schools. Participants were briefed on the purpo se of the study and on confidentiality issues. Participants were also informed th at the researcher woul d take notes during the interview. The staff interviews began and were completed before the student survey (YRBS-M) was administered in December, 2003. The staff interviews were conducted at each of the schools, in either one of the conference rooms, in the guidance office ar ea, or in an available classroom. The interviews were conducted at a time the par ticipant said it was c onvenient and lasted no more than fifteen to twenty minutes. A semi-structured interview guide devel oped by the researcher was be used to conduct the staff interviews. There were two purposes in co nducting the staff interviews. First, the interview was an opportunity to obt ain feedback about the readability and face validity of the bullying and school climate items in the survey. This part of the interview took the most amount of time, since the partic ipant was asked to take a look at a sample

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62of survey questions and provide feedback. The feedback obtained included information on the appropriateness of the words used and suggestions on the survey layout that could affect readability, such as f ont type and size. Second, the interview was to elicit their impressions of what the magnitude of the bully ing problem is in their school and to what they attribute the bullying. To achieve the first purpose, the particip ants were given copies of the bullying and school climate items and were asked to determine if there were any problem words in the survey (Are there any words that you th ink might be difficult for some students to understand? Are there any alte rnative words or phrases you w ould use instead? Is there a word or set of words that better describe s the intended meaning?). The participants were also asked if they thought that the stude nts would read each word, because if a word is not read, the overall meaning of a question can be misinterpreted. Suggestions as to how to deal with such lost words were elic ited, and as a result, certain words that were key in interpreting the meaning of question were typed using a bold face font. Finally, the participants were asked to give feedback on question construction and appropriateness of response options. The s econd purpose of the staff interviews was to elicit impressions of professi onal staff about what they felt was the magnitude of the bullying problem in their school and to what they attributed the bullying. Observational data collection In performing an observational study, ther e are three roles that a researcher can take. The researcher can be a total partic ipant, a participant-researcher, or a total researcher (Grbich, 1999). For this studys observational component, the researcher had planned to be in the role of a total resear cher. A total researcher is emotionally and

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63physically separate. The resear cher planned to be in the re search setting (at the schools) for a limited amount of time, watching a nd recording information in writing. Although any observation of activities, ev ents, behavior, dialogue, and the people were to be recorded, the focus of the resear chers observations were to have been on the buildings, settings, and environment. To aid in the in the collection of data regarding the physical environmental conditions of the schoo l, the researcher had planned to use the physical environmental school conditions checkli st in Appendix J. However, due to understandable safety concerns by the schools, the observationa l activities were limited to watching a teacher in a classroom, and in some instances, the researcher was given a tour of the cafeterias and recreationa l facilities. Due to the li mited amount of observational data obtained at each school, the data were not included in the analysis. Quantitative Data Collection and Procedures School profiles. The researcher had planned to create a profile for each school, by administering a brief questionnaire to the principal or anothe r administrator. The information requested in this questionnaire included student enroll ment levels by grade, average class size, number of teaching faculty, number of non-teaching faculty, a variety of campus characteristics, and student gender ratio by gr ade. This questionnaire also asked for the number of male and female facu lty, number of teaching faculty with five or less years of teaching experience at any school, and the number of teaching faculty with five or more years in the same school setting. The school pr ofile instrument can be found in Appendix A. However, only three of the six schools retu rned a school profile, a nd of these, only one returned a completed version. As a result the researcher obtai ned as much of the

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64information as possible from the Florida De partment of Education website. This information was obtained for the 2002-2003 school year. Administration of the YRBS-M. As in previous years, the school district held an in-service training for a school contact from all participating schools at which the YRBS-M protocol for collecting data was described. At the time of enrollment, each student received a consent form from the school district, advising parents of the surve y. On the day of the survey, approximately half the students enrolled in sixth and eighth grade and all the students in seventh were encouraged to participate, except for those students whose parent s requested their nonparticipation. Only half the students in si xth and eighth grade part icipated, because these students were also scheduled to participate in another survey. School administrators at each school decided how to split the students into the groups taking surveys, and this information was not available to the School District or the researcher. Classroom teachers administered the self-re ported questionnaire to the students during a regular class period. Students recorded their responses using standard electronic answer sheets (bubble sheets or scantron sheets). Students pl aced completed surveys and answer sheets in a manila envelope. Cl assroom teachers gave all completed answer sheets and surveys to the school contact. The school contact gathered all the school surveys and returned them to the school di strict main office (Pitt, Brown, & Reynolds, 2003).

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65Qualitative Data Analysis and Techniques Analysis of staff interview data. Staff interview data were not transcribed verbatim. Instead, the researcher relied on the notes taken during the interview process. The analysis of the staff interview data consisted of categorizing the responses in terms of the questions asked. Although this activity was done without verba tim transcripts, the categoriz ation of the responses of interview participants by que stion was analogous to the ope n coding process, described by Anselm Strauss (1987). Once the data ha d been broken down into categories, further analysis of each category was undertaken to determine what the subcategories were. A brief summary of the interview responses follows. The majority of teachers indicated that a single boy or a group of boys were the most common bullies of students in their cl asses, followed by both boys and girls and a group of girls. Some teachers felt that gi rls were becoming more aggressive, and thus, were becoming more likely to bully. Most bul lies were thought to be in the same grade as their victims. Teachers additionally felt that students within one class, team, or pod were not as likely to bully each other as students from differ ent classes, teams, or pods. All teachers interviewed said that students did not bully each other while he or she was present, so bullying was perceived to occur when students were minimally supervised. All teachers felt that physical and verbal bullying were the most prevalent forms of bullying among sixth graders, and relati onal bullying was most common among eighth graders.

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66 In terms of the perceived frequency of students' intervention in bullying, most teachers believed that students occasionally intervened at school, whereas the majority did not know if students intervened on the way to and from school. Many felt that there was an increasing trend to report bullies, particularly bullies that physically harassed other students. One teacher attributed a higher rate of student intervention on an elementary school campaign called Silence Hu rts. Teachers in general felt that they still intervened much more fr equently than students did. When teachers were asked to speculate about reasons for bullying, the overwhelming majority supported the notion th at students bully their peers to feel powerful. Low self esteem was agreed to be a factor by over half of the respondents, while seeking attenti on, jealousy, boredom, family problem s, and difficulties in school were also cited as possible reasons. Other cau sal factors for bullying included the need to feel in control, frustration, a nd low tolerance of differences. Peer pressure was also cited as a causal factor, particularly for students w ho bully other students to obtain acceptance by a desirable social group. Other teacher s cited victim characteristics as causal such as poor dress, poor hygiene, fear and hesita ncy, poor social relati onships, and shyness. Quantitative Data Analysis and Techniques Data entry. Once the completed surveys were obtained from the Sarasota County School Board Office, an optical scanner was used to read the answer sheets and format questionnaire data to an el ectronic file. The questions, statements, and items were precoded prior to administering the instrume nt. Each response category was assigned a numerical symbol to facilitate entry into EXCEL, SPSS, and SAS for data analysis.

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67Descriptive statistics an d exploratory data analysis. The first stage of the data analysis was to explore the data to determine if any specific patterns exist (McDermott & Sarvela, 1999; Neuman, 1997). At this stage the researcher looked at the descrip tive statistics and exploratory data analysis that included univariate procedures and graphi ng. Exploratory data analysis is an approach to data analysis that postpones the usual assumptions about what kind of model the data follow with the more direct approach of allowing the data to reveal th eir underlying structure and model. It is important that research ers examine and explore these data thoroughly before proceeding to formal statistical methods. Until the researcher gains an understanding of the structures and relationships within the data, and identifies and resolves errors or other problems, it is unhelpful and often meaningless to undertake statistical tests or modeling, because inappropriate methods are likely to lead to misleading results. Because this survey was expe cted to generate larg e amounts of data, it may be difficult to understand the structure of these data without using some sort of visual aid. Suitable aids to visualizing data fall generally into the following categories: graphics and tables. Gr aphics, which give a visual image or picture of the structure of the data and the relationships with in them, and tables, which fac ilitate comparison of values, frequency counts, and so on, between levels of factors, were used at this stage of the analysis. Descriptive statistics answered research questions one, two, and four. Chi-square analyses. The chi-square procedure is an exploratory statistic that gives the researcher a feel for the data. It assesses whether the differe nces between two proportions that occur are likely to be real or occur from chance. Ch i-square is used to examine the relationship

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68between two nominal or ordi nal variables simultaneously. In this study, chi-square statistics were used to address research questions three, five, and six, because the variables addressed by these que stions are either ordinal or nominal in nature. The chisquare statistic is used to te st the hypothesis of no associ ation of columns and rows in tabular data. Chi-square is more likely to find significance if the relationship is strong, the sample size is large, and/or the number of values of the two associated variables is large. A p-value of 0.05 or less is commonl y interpreted by social scientists as justification for rejecting the null hypothesis that the row vari able is unrelated (that is, only randomly related) to the column vari able (McDermott & Sarvela, 1999; Stokes, Davis, & Koch, 2000). Multilevel Analyses. Multilevel regression was used to addre ss research questions seven and eight. The reason behind using multilevel modeling is th at student bullying behavior at school is a function of individual student character istics (including thei r perception of school climate) and school factors. One approach th at could be used to analyze school climate factors that are associated w ith bullying behaviors is to fo cus entirely on student level data, thus ignoring the effect of school vari ation. Another approach is to aggregate student level data. Unfortunate ly, analyses using aggregated student data are prone to ecological fallacy. Ecological fallacy is a situ ation that can occur when an inference is made about an individual based on aggregate data for a group, in which aggregate-level results may substantially differ or even be the reverse of individua l-level results (King, 1999; Umbach & Porter, 2001).

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69In addition to aggregating individual-level data, another approach is to address group level characteristics on a dependent vari able by attaching the group level variables to individual level data and then analyzing th e data with a regression procedure. This approach is flawed at several levels. First, analyzing the data w ith logistic regression violates the assumption that the observations are independent because the students for a particular school are probably more correlated with each other (within cluster correlation) than they are with students of a different school (between cluster correlation) (Umbach & Porter, 2001). Second, it assumes the effect of a school is constant for all students that attend (Kennedy, Teddlie, & Stringfield, 1993). Finally, the attachment of group level variables to an individual does not fully capture the effect of group level characteristics, which may result in a misestimation of the standard error and so lead to erroneous conclusions (Leyland & Goldstein, 2001). Based on the potential pitfalls of not ta king into account the different sources of variability in the data, the researcher propos es to use multi-level regression models in analyzing bullying behaviors. The researcher posits that bullying behaviors will be related to individual characteristics such as the students sex, ethnicity, age, and perceptions of school climate. In addition, the researcher argues that school-level attributes such as enrollment, organization for instruction, student teacher ratio, physical aspects of the campus, and having a policy agai nst bullying will be related to bullying behaviors. The researcher al so looked at grade-level attr ibutes such as the number of students each the grade level and student gender ratio at the grade level.

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70Summary of the Methods Within the framework of Bronfenbr enners ecological theory of human development, this study analyzed the pe rceptions of school climate and bullying behaviors of middle school students in six Sa rasota County, Florida public schools. After performing a thorough literature review, the researcher compiled 10 questions about bullying behaviors and 25 questions about perceptions of school climate. After consulting with an expert pane l to help establish content validity, the researcher pilot tested the perception of school climate and bullying questions with sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from a public Sarasota sc hool. The first round of pilot testing was used to help establish face va lidity. In the next two rounds of pilot testing, the researcher administered the survey instrument to th e same group of 30 students, on two different days, approximately two weeks ap art. With the data gathered from the pilot test, the researcher calculated measures of internal consistency and test-rete st reliability. The final round of pilot testing consisted of 15 st udents responding to the complete survey, to make sure that the procedures, written instru ctions, survey questions, and coding used for the statistical analysis were logistically possible. The full YRBS-M survey, including the perception of school climate and bullying items, was administered to sixth, seventh, and eighth grad e students in six Sarasota County public schools. The students reco rded their responses anonymously using standard electronic answer sheets. An optic al scanner was used to read the completed answer sheets, and the resulting electronic fi le was entered and analyzed using EXCEL, SPSS, and SAS.

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71 In addition to the survey data analyses, the researcher attempted to obtain data from the principals by means of a brief que stionnaire. Had thes e questionnaires been uniformly answered and returned, they would ha ve been used to create a profile of the each school, to be used as school level data. Instead, the researchers used data collected by the School District and submitted to th e Florida Department of Education. The researcher also conducted interviews with pr ofessional staff from the schools, as well as conducting limited observations of each of the schools. The data from the staff interviews were used to make improvemen ts to bullying and school climate questions, before the questions were ever showed to students. Some of the improvements included font size and use of bolding of key words in questions. Additionally, the data from the staff interviews, in combination with the school observations were used to provide possible explanations to patte rns observed in the data. To address the research questions pres ented in this chapter, the researcher analyzed the data using a variety of methodol ogical techniques. These methods included descriptive and exploratory procedur es, as well as multilevel regression.

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72 Chapter 4 Results This chapter presents the results of the tests of five hypotheses. The chapter is organized into four sections: (1) the re search questions, (2) descriptiv e analysis, (3) results related to the research questions, and (4) summary of the results. Research Questions This study addresses the fo llowing research questions: 1. What is the prevalence of bullying in the sample? 2. What type of bullying occurs most frequently (physical verbal, relational)? 3. Are there differences in types of bullying or victimiza tion as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? 4. What are the perceptions of school climate among students in this sample? 5. Are there differences in school climate perception as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? 6. Do the independent variables perception of school climate variables and school membership have a significant re lationship with students reporting being involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? 7. Does the combined effect of inde pendent variables perceptions of school climate variables and school level variable s (enrollment, absences, staff, percent of students classified as di sabled, and percent free or school lunch) explain the

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73observed variation in students reporting be ing involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? 8. Does gender modify the observed effects of dependent variables on students reporting involvement in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? Effect modification occurs when the associati on between the independent variable and the dependent variable is affected by a third factor, in this case sex. Descriptive analysis There were 4593 surveys submitted by middle school students. Of these, 4119 surveys were completed. Because this study looked only at responses from students in traditional middle schools comprising grades sixth through eighth, who answered that they had been truthful in answering th e survey questions, 3178 respondents were ultimately included in the study. Due to the pa rtial completion of some surveys, the total N reported for individual survey items may vary. The age of students included in the study range from ten years of age to 16, with only 13 students reporting bei ng ten years old and seven re porting being 16 years or older. Both the youngest and oldest student s were included in the study. There were 1,668 girls (52.6%) and 1505 boys (47.4%). The sa mple consisted of 739 sixth graders, 1398 seventh graders, and 1028 eighth graders. The ethnicity of the respondents included 118 (3.8%) American Indian or Alaskan na tive; 53 (1.70%) Asian; 308 (9.9%) Black or African American; 327 (10.5%) Hispanic or Latino; 44 (1.4%) Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; and 2261 (72.7%) White. In 2003, according to a school accountability report (Department of Education, 2003), school 0 had an enrollment of 1,289 student s. The percentage of students eligible

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74for free and reduced lunch was 69.4%, and th e percentage of students that were categorized as minorities was 63%. In the present sample, there were a total of 524 respondents. There were 294 (56.2%) girl s and 229 (43.8%) boys. There were 128 (24.5%) sixth graders, 251 (48.1) seventh gr aders, and 143 (27.4%) eighth graders. Students that reported being non-White comprised 62% of the sample. According to the Florida Department of Educations school accountability report (2003), school 1 had an enrollment of 1,354 student s. The percentage of students eligible for free and reduced school lunch was 31.4%, an d the percentage of students that were categorized as minority student s was 19%. In the present sa mple, there were a total of 478 students. There were 262 (54.8%) girls and 216 (45.2%) boys. There were 66 (13.8%) sixth grade students ; 172 (36.2%) seventh grade students, and 237 (49.6 %) eighth grade students. Students that reporte d being non-White student s comprised 27% of the sample. In 2003, school 3 had an enrollment of 1110 students. The percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch was 34.1 %, and the percentage of students categorized as minorities was 19%. In the pres ent, there were a total of 546 students. There were 264 (48.4%) girls and 281 (51.5%) boys. Th ere were 145 (26.6%) sixth graders, 215 (39.4%) seventh graders, and 186 (34.1%) eighth graders. Students that reported being non-white made up 23% of the sample. In the same school year, school 4 had an enrollment of 1312 students. The percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch was 46%, a nd the percentage of students categorized as minorities was 16%. In the present sample, there were a total of 678 students. There were 350 (51.6%) girls and 328 (48.4%) boys. There were 131

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75(19.3%) sixth graders, 333 (49.4%) seventh gr aders, and 210 (31.2%) eighth graders. Students that reported being non-white made up 22.6% of the sample. In 2003, school 6 had an enrollment of 1327 students. The percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch was 17%, and the percentage of students categorized as minorities was 10%. In the present sample, there were a total of 624 students. There were 324 (52.2%) girls and 297 (47.8%) boys. There were 180 (28.9% ) sixth graders, 276 (44.2%) seventh graders, and 166 (26.6%) ei ghth graders. Students that reported being non-white made up 14.1% of the sample. For the last school in the study, in 20 03, school 7 had an enrollment of 705 students. The percentage of students eligib le for free and reduced lunch was 11.1 %, and the percentage of students categorized as minor ities was 7%. In the present sample, there were a total of 328 students. There were 174 (53.0%) girls and 154 (47%) boys. There were 89 (27.1%) sixth graders, 151 (46.0%) seventh graders, and 86 (26.2%) eighth graders. Students that reported being non-white made up 13.4% of the sample. Results Related to the Research Questions Research question 1 Research Question 1: What is the prev alence of bullying in the sample? To address the first research question, the researcher looked at the number of students that reported never having been bulli ed; the number of students that reported never bullying, and the number of students th at reported never having bullied or been bullied. In the sample, 66% of students reported never having been a vi ctim of bullying. Being bullied was defined by five variables: (1) being teased or called names; (2) being

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76threatened; (3) having other students spread rumors; (4) being ostracized; and (5) being physically bullied. When asked about being teased or being called names, 1208 (38%) of students reported never having been teased or called names. Most stud ents fell in the category of reporting moderate levels of being teased or called names, with 1405 (44.2%) students reporting being bullied between 1 and 9 times in the past 30 days. Some students reported high levels of being teased and called names, with 558 (17.6%) students reporting being teased and called names ten or more times. When asked if another student threaten ed to hit or hurt, 2191 (68.9%) students reported never having been threatened. Some students fell in the category of reporting moderate levels of being th reatened, with 820 (25.8%) stud ents reporting being bullied between 1 and 9 times in the past 30 days. A small percentage of students reported high levels of being threatened, with 162 (5.1%) st udents reporting being threatened ten or more times. In response to the question about havi ng other students spread rumors, most students reported having never experienced this type of bullying, with 1981 (62.3%) falling in this category. Some students fell in the category of reporting moderate levels of this form of bullying, with 1049 (33%) report ing that other students had spread rumors about them. A small percentage of students re ported high levels of this type of bullying, with 143 (4.5%) students reporting that another student had spread rumors about them ten or more times in the past 30 days. Most students reported that they had neve r been ostracized (phr ased in the survey as not let you join in), with 2142 (67.4%) reporting that during the past 30 days no

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77students had prevented them from joining in activities. Some students reported moderate levels of being ostracized, with 861 (27.1%) st udents reporting that during the past 30 days another students had prevented them fr om joining in activities between 1 and 9 times. A small number of students reported high levels of ostracism, with 172 (5.4%) reporting that another student had prevented th em from, joining in activities ten or more times. More than half of the students report ed that they had never been physically bullied, with 1180 (50.7%) report ing that during the past 30 days no students had pushed, shoved, slapped, hit, or kicked them. Some students reported modera te levels of being physically bullied, with 1280 (40.3%) students reporting that duri ng the past 30 days another students had been physically bullied between 1 and 9 times. A small number of students reported high levels of physical bul lying, with 280 (8.8%) reporting they had been physically bullied by another student. Nearly 78% of students reported never having bullied another student. Bullying was defined by five variable s: (1) teasing or calling another student names; (2) threatening to hit or hurt a nother student; (3) spreading rumo rs about another student; (4) ostracizing other students; and (5) physically bu llying other students. Some students reported never teas ing other students, with 1180 (37.1%) responding that they never teased or called a nother student names. Over half of the students reported that they ha d engaged in moderate levels of teasing, with 1614 (50.8%) reporting that they had teased or called a nother student names between one and nine times during the last 30 days. Some students reported that they ha d teased or called

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78another student names ten times of more in the previous month, with 378 (11.9%) responding that they had engaged in this type and level of bullying. Most students reported never threatening other students, with 2232 (70.2%) responding that they never threatened to h it or hurt another student. A few students reported that they had engaged in modera te levels of threat ening, with 785 (24.7%) reporting that they threatened another student between one and nine times, during the last 30 days. Fewer still, some students reported that they threatened another student ten times of more in the previous month, with 151 (4.8%) responding that they had engaged in this type and level of bullying. Most students reported never spreadi ng rumors about other students, with 2549 (80.2%) responding that they ne ver engaged in this type of bullying. A few students reported that they had engaged in moderate levels of spreading rumors, with 547 (17.2%) reporting that they threatened another student between one and nine times, during the last 30 days. A small number of students reporte d that they spread rumors about another student ten times of more in the previous month, with 78 (2.5%) re sponding that they had engaged in this type and level of bullying. A majority of students reported never ostracizing other students, with 2134 (67.1%) responding that they neve r kept another stude nt from joining in what they were doing. A few students reported th at they had engaged in moderate levels of ostracism, with 935 (29.4%) reporting that kept another student from joining in activ ities between one and nine times, during the last 30 days. Fe wer still, some students reported that they ostracized another student ten times or mo re in the previous month, with 102 (3.2%) responding that they had engaged in this type and level of bullying.

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79 Most students reported never physica lly bullying other students, with 1788 (56.3%) responding that they never pushed, shov ed, slapped, hit, or kicked another student on purpose. A few stude nts reported that they had enga ged in moderate levels of physical bullying, with 1163 (36.6%) reporting th at they had physically bullied another student between one and nine times, during th e last 30 days. Fewer still, some students reported that they had engaged in physical bullying ten times or more in the previous month, with 218 (6.9%) responding that they ha d engaged in this type and level of bullying. Research question 2 Research Question 2: What type of bu llying occurs most frequently (physical, verbal, or relational)? Physical bullying consists of pus hing, shoving, slapping, hitting, or kicking another student on purpose. Being the aggr essor in physical bullying was measured by one item in the survey: During the past 30 days, how many times did you push, shove, slap, hit, or kick anothe r student on purpose? In th e sample, 1788 (56.3%) students reported that they had never engaged in th is behavior; 1163 (36.6%) reported engaging in this behavior less than ten times; and 218 (6.9%) reported physica lly bullying another student ten or more time dur ing the past 30 days. Being the victim of physical bullying was measure by one item in the survey: During the past 30 days, how many times did another student push, shove, slap, hit, or kick you on purpose? In the sample, 1611 ( 50.7%) students reported never having been physically bullied; 1280 (40.3%) reported having been physically bullied less than 10

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80times in the previous month; and 280 (8.8%) reported having been the victim of physical bullying ten or more time during the past 30 days. The least common form of bullying in this sample was relational bullying. Being the aggressor in relational bullying was measured by two items in the survey: (1) During the past 30 days, how many times did you spread rumors about another student? And (2) During the past 30 days, how many times did you keep another student from joining in what you were doing? High levels of relati onal bullying meant that students bullied by both spreading rumors and ostracizing other st udents or by engaging in either spreading rumors or ostracisms more that 10 times in the past 30 days. Moderate levels of relational bullying meant that students engage d in either ostraciz ing and/or spreading rumors about other students between one and nine times in the past month. In the sample, 387 (12.2%) students reported high leve ls of relational bully ing aggression; 1108 (34.9%) students reported moderate levels of relational bullying aggression; and 1897 (59.7%) never engaged in this type of bullying. Being the victim in relational bullying was measured by two items in the survey: (1) During the past 30 days, how many times did another student spread rumors about you? And (2) During the past 30 days, how many times did another student keep you from joining in what you they were doing? High levels of being a victim of relational bullying meant that students were bullied by both having had rumors spread about them and by having been ostracized by other student s or by having rumors spread or being ostracized more that 10 times in the past 30 days. Moderate levels of relational bullying meant the students were ostracized and/or had rumors spread about them by other students between one and nine times in the previous month. In the sample, 558 (17.6%)

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81students reported high levels of relational bullying victimization; 1108 (34.9%) students reported moderate levels of relational bu llying victimization; and 1506 (47.4%) never having been a victim of this type of bullying. In the sample, the type of bullying th at occurred most frequently was verbal bullying. Being the aggressor in verbal bullying was measured by two items in the survey: (1) During the past 30 days, how many tim es did you tease or call another student names? And (2) During the past 30 days, how many times did you threaten to hit or hurt another student? High levels of verbal bullying meant that students bullied by both teasing and threatening other students or by e ngaging in either teasing or threatening more that 10 times in the past 30 days. M oderate levels of verb al bullying meant that students engaged in either teasing and/or thre atening other students between one and nine times in the past month. In the sample, 844 (26.6%) students reported high levels of verbal bullying aggression; 1232 (38.8%) students reported m oderate levels of verbal bullying aggression; and 1088 (34.2%) never engaged in this type of bullying. Being the victim in verbal bullying was measured by two items in the survey: (1) During the past 30 days, how many times did another student tease or call you names? And (2) During the past 30 days, how many times did another student threaten to hit or hurt you? High levels of bei ng a victim of verbal bullyi ng meant that students were bullied by both being teased and threatened or by being teased or threatened more that 10 times in the past 30 days. Moderate levels of verbal bullying meant the students were teased and/or threatened by other students between one and nine times in the previous month. In the sample, 855 (26.9%) students reported high levels of verbal bullying

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82victimization; 1233 (38.8%) st udents reported moderate le vels of verbal bullying victimization; and 1081 (34.0%) never having been a victim of this type of bullying. Table 6 presents a summary of the prevalence data for relational, verbal, and physical bullying. Table 6. Percent of Students Experiencing Bullying Type Relational Verbal Physical Level High Moderate None High Mode rate None High Moderate None Victimization 17.6 34.9 47.4 26.9 38.8 34.0 8.8 40.3 50.7 Aggression 12.2 34.9 59.7 26.6 38.8 34.2 6.9 36.6 56.3 Research question 3 Research Question 3: Are there difference in types of bullying or victimization as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? To determine whether there was a relati onship between the ty pes of bullying or victimization and another cate gorical variable (school memb ership, gender, ethnicity, or grade), the researcher used the Pearsons chi-sq uare test. This test statistic is based on the idea of comparing frequencies experiment ally observed to the frequencies one might expect by chance alone. The assumptions for the chi-square test were met. There were significant differences in type s of bullying victimiz ation with respect to school membership. Bei ng a victim of verbal bullyi ng differed depending on school membership, Chi-square (10, N = 3169) = 39.77, p<.000. Reports of being a victim of verbal bullying were highest in school 0. Th ere were no significant differences in the levels of reported relational victimiza tion by school membership, Chi-square (10, N=3172) = 11.49, p<.321. Likewise, there were no si gnificant differences in the levels of

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83reported physical bullying vi ctimization by school membership, Chi-square (10, N = 3171) = 16.48, p<.087). There were significant differences in the types of bullying aggr ession with respect to school membership. Reports of being th e aggressor in verbal bullying significantly differed depending on school membership, Chi-square (10, N = 3164) = 53.51, p<.000. The highest levels of verbal bullying aggr ession were reported in school 0. Although it appeared that school 0 also had the highest levels of relational bullying aggression, there were no significant differences in the leve ls of relational bully ing aggression by school membership, Chi-square (10, N = 3170) = 18.27, p<.052). There were, however, significant differences in the levels of re ported physical bullying aggression by school membership, Chi-square (10, N = 3169) = 21.568, p<.017. School 4 had the highest levels of reported physical bullying aggression. There were significant differences in type s of bullying victimiz ation with respect to sex. Boys were more likely to report be ing victims of verbal bullying, Chi-square (2, N = 3164) = 44.66, p<.000. boys were also more likely to report being victims of physical bullying, Chi-square (2, N = 3166) = 120.14, p<.000. On the other hand, girls were more likely to report being victims of relational bullying, Chi-square (2, N = 3167) = 13.36, p<.001. There were also significant differences in types of bullying aggression with respect to sex. Boys were more likely to re port being aggressors in verbal bullying, Chisquare (2, N = 3159) = 54.05, p<.000. Boys were also more likely to report being the aggressors in relational bu llying, Chi-square (2, N = 3165) = 11.13, p<.004. Boys were

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84also more likely to report being aggressors in physical bullying, Ch i-square (2, N = 3164) = 110.05, p<.000. There were no significant differences in types of bu llying victimization with respect to self-reported ethnicit y. As for the rest of the analyses using the ethnicity variable, the variable was collapsed into a dichotomous variable of students identifying themselves as white and students identifying th emselves as other than white. There were no significant differences in the level of reported verbal bullying victimization with respect to ethnicity, Chi-square (2, N = 3105) = 1.24, p<.238. There were also no significant differences in the level of reported relational bullying victimization with respect to ethnicity, Chi-square (2, N= 3106) = 1.651, p<.438. Likewise, there were no significant differences in the level of reporte d physical bullying with respect to ethnicity, Chi-square (2, N = 3105) = 4.96, p<.084. There were significant differences in type s of reported bullying aggression with respect to ethnicity. Reported verbal bully ing aggression was higher among students that self-identified as being other than whit e, Chi-square (2, N = 3099) = 52.59, p<.000. Reported relational bullying aggression wa s also higher among st udents that selfidentified as being other than white Chi-square (2, N = 3103) = 13.28, p<.001. Similarly, reports of physical bullying aggres sion were higher among students that selfidentified as being other than white Chi-square (2, N = 3104) = 7.017, p<.030. There were significant differences in type s of bullying victimization with regards to grade membership. There was a significan t difference between the level of reported verbal victimization and grade membersh ip, Chi-square (4, N = 3156) = 10.394, p<.034. Eighth graders reported lower than expected levels of being victims of verbal bullying

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85than would have been expected by chance alone. Both seventh and si xth graders reported higher than expected levels of bullying, with seventh graders showing the greatest departure from expected values. There were also significant differences in the level of relational bullying victimization, Chi-s quare (4, N = 3159) = 19.04, p<.001, with sixth graders having the highest levels of relati onal bullying victimizat ion, and eighth graders having the lowest. Additionally, there was a significant differe nce in the level of physical bullying victimization, Chi-square (4, N = 3158) = 16.28, p<.003. Seventh grade students reported the highest levels of bully ing victimization and eighth grade students reported the lowest. There were significant differences in the level of bullying aggression with respect to grade membership. There were significant differences in verbal bullying aggression, Chi-square (4, N = 3151) = 46.88, p<.000, with ei ghth graders having th e highest levels of verbal bullying aggression and sixth grader s having the lowest. However, in terms of relational aggression and grade membership, there were no significant differences in the levels of bullying aggression reported, Ch i-square (4, N = 3157) = 4.015, p<.040. With respect to physical bullying aggression a nd grade membership, there was a significant difference, Chi-square (4, N = 3156) = 37.50, p<.000, with seventh grade students reporting the highest levels of physical bul lying aggression and sixth grade students reporting the lowest levels. Table 7 summari zes the results of grade membership and bullying. Table 7. Grade Membership and Bullying Bullying Aggression Bullying Victimization Type Highest levels Lowest levels Highest levels Lowest Levels Verbal 8th grade 6th grade 7th grade 8th grade Relational = = 6th grade 8th grade Physical 7th grade 6th grade 7th grade 8th grade

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86 Research Questions 4 and 5 Research Question 4: What are the per ceptions of school climate among students in this sample? Research Question 5: Are there differe nces in school climate perception as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? There were 25 school climate questions in the survey. These 25 questions reflected six dimensions of school climate perception. These were: (1) relationship with teachers; (2) sense of ambiguity /certainty; (3) worries; (4) re lationships with peers; (5) sense of belonging; and (6) home involvement. The dimension relationships with teachers consisted of nine survey items. These were as follows: SC1 My teachers expect that students treat each other wi th respect. (Question 70) SC2 Teachers at this school are not inte rested in people like me. (Question 71) SC 3 My teachers take the time to listen to me when I have a problem. (Question 72) SC4 My teachers treat stude nts fairly. (Question 73) SC5 My teachers give help in class when I ask for it. (Question 74) SC6 There is at least one teacher or adult at this school I can talk with if I have a problem. (Question 75) SC7 My teachers talk to me in a friendly way. (Question 76) SC8 Teachers here respect me. (Question 77) SC16 I can count on the adults at this school to listen to me. (Question 85) In response to My teachers expect that students treat each other with respect, almost half (1506, 47.4%) of students responded that they strongly agreed and only 177

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87(5.6%) students disagreed or str ongly disagreed. Sixth grader s were more likely to agree with this statement; whereas eighth grade st udents were the most lik ely to disagree, Chisquare (8, N = 3137) = 23.025, p<.003. Girls are mo re likely to agree with this statement, Chi-square (4, N=3144) = 33.90, p<000. Nonwhite students were more likely to strongly agree or strongly disa gree. White students were mo re likely to have more moderate or neutral responses, Ch i-square (4, N = 3084) = 11.08, p<.026. When asked to indicate how students fe lt about the statement Teachers at this school are not interested in people like me, 1,627 (51.1%) students disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement. There were 660 (20.8%) of the students agreed or strongly agreed with this statement. Eighth grade st udents were more likely to agree with the statement, and sixth grade students were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3142) = 26.711, p<.001. Girls were more likely to disagree with this statement, Chisquare (4, N = 3150) = 12.71, p<.013. Students identifying themselves as being other than White were more likely to respond in th e extremes (that they strongly agreed or strongly disagreed with the statement), whil e White students were more likely to respond using the more moderate or neutral response categories (agree, neithe r agree nor disagree, or disagree), Chi-squa re (4, N = 3088) = 19.57, p<.001. In response to My teachers take the time to listen to me when I have a problem, 1,939 (61%) students agreed or strongly agreed with this statement. There were 530 (16.6%) students disagreed or strongly disa greed with this statement. Sixth grade students were the most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth grade students were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3150) = 72.629, p<.000. There was no significant difference in how boys and girls responded to this statement, Chi-square (4, N

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88= 3158) = 4.31, p<.366. White students were more likely to agree, neither agree nor disagree, or disagree. Non-white students were more likely to respond using the extreme categories of strongly agree or strongly disagree, Chi-square (4, N = 3096) = 23.88, P<.000. When asked to reply how students felt about the statement My teachers treat students fairly, 1,824 (57.4%) studen ts agreed or strongly agr eed with this statement. There were 608 (21.3%) that disa greed or strongly disagreed w ith this statement. Sixth grade students were the most likely to agree with this statement, whereas eighth graders were the most likely to disagree, Chi-s quare (8, N = 3150) = 88.61, p<.000. Girls were more likely to reply in a moderate or neutra l manner, while boys were more likely to have strong feelings in eith er direction, Chi-square (4, N = 3154) = 20.37, p<.000. White students were more likely to be more mode rate or neutral, while Non-White students were more likely to either strongly agree or strongly disagree, Ch i-square (4, N = 3093) = 21.66, p<.000. In responding to the statement My teachers give help in class when I ask for it, 2,326 (73.2%) students agreed or strongly agreed with this statement. There were 291 (9.2%) students that disagreed or strongly disa greed with this statem ent. Sixth graders were the most likely to agree with the statem ent, and eighth graders were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3129) = 45.69, p<.000. Girls were more likely to reply that they neither agreed nor disagreed, while boys were more likely to either strongly agree or strongly disagree, Chi-square (4, N = 3137) = 19.48, P<.001. White students were more likely to respond by choosing th e more moderate or neutral response

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89categories. Non-white student s were again more likely to either strongly agree or strongly disagree, Chi-squa re (4, N = 3078) = 22.42, p<.000. When given the statement There is at le ast one teacher or adult at this school I can talk with if I have a problem, 2,328 ( 73.3%) students agreed or strongly. There were 435 (13.7%) students that strongly disagree d. Sixth graders were the most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth graders were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3145) = 35.01, p<.000. Girls were more lik ely to agree with this statement, Chisquare (4, N = 3153) = 14.19, P<.007. There wa s no significant difference in the way White and students identifying themselves as being of a non-White ethnicity responded to this item, Chi-square (4, N = 3091) = 8.76, p<.067. In response to the statement, My teac hers talk to me in a friendly way, a majority of students expressed a favorable opinion of the statement, Teachers here respect me, 2111 (66.4%) students agreed or strongly agreed. There were 327 (10.2%) students that disagreed or str ongly disagreed. Sixth graders were the most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth grade student s were the most likely to disagree, Chisquare (8, N = 3151) = 42.77, p<.000. Girls were more likely to have moderate or neutral feelings about this statement, whereas boys we re more likely to strongly agree or strongly disagree, Chi-square (4, N = 3159) = 26.30, p< .000. Students identifying their ethnicity as being a category other than White were more likely to either strongly agree or strongly disagree with the statement, while students id entifying their ethnicity as White were more likely to respond by selecting the more middl e-of-the-road options, Chi-square (4, N= 3097) = 1533, p<.004.

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90 A majority of students agreed with the statement, Teachers here respect me. There were 1,995 (62.8%) students that felt favorably about this statement. There were 368 (11.6%) students that disagreed or strongly disagreed wi th the statement. Sixth graders were the most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth graders were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3138) = 72.59, p<.000. Girls were more likely to agree with th is statement, Chi-square (4, N = 3146) = 22.06, p<.000. Many students agreed with the statements I can count on the adults at this school to listen to me. There were 1,770 ( 55.7%) students that favorably viewed this statement and 551 (17.4%) that disagreed or strongly disagreed. Sixth grade students were the most likely to agree with this stat ement, and eighth graders were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3142) = 79.99, p<.000. Girls and boys did not differ significantly in their respons es to this statement, Ch i-square (4, N = 3150) = 7.68, p<.104. White students were more likely to agree, neither agr ee nor disagree, or disagree. Non-white students were more lik ely to strongly agree or strongly disagree, Chi-square (4, N = 3088) = 10.54, p<.032. A second dimension of school cl imate perception is a sense of ambiguity/certainty. The questions that m easured this dimension were as follows: SC12 I know most of the students in my classes. (Question 81) SC14 There are clear consequences for br eaking the rules at sc hool. (Question 83) SC15 There are clear rules at our school. (Question 84) Most students agreed with the statem ent I know most of the students in my classes. There were 2,846 (89.6 %) of students that agreed or strongly agreed and only 127 (4%) that disagreed or str ongly disagreed. There were no significant differences in

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91the response to this statement by grade, Chi-square (8, N= 3154) = 8.91, p<.350. The responses given by girls did not differ significantly from those given by boys, Chi-square (4, N =3162) = 6.42, p<.170. White students we re more likely to select the more moderate or neutral response options. Non-white students we re more likely to strongly agree or strongly disagree, Chisquare (4, N = 3100) = 13.759, p<.008. In response to the statement, There ar e clear consequences for breaking the rules at school, there were 2,460 (77.4%) students th at agreed or strongl y agreed with this statement and 236 (7.4%) that disagreed or stro ngly disagreed. Sixt h grade students were the most likely to agree with this statem ent and eighth grade students were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3144) = 45.80, p<.000. There were no significant differences in the responses given by girl s and boys, Chi-square (4, N = 3152) = 6.41, p<.170. White students were more likely to select the more moderate or neutral responses, while Non-white students were mo re likely to strongly agree or strongly disagree, Chi-square (4, N = 3090) = 15.17, p<.004. When asked how they felt about the st atement There are clear rules at our school, 2,323 (73.1%) students agreed or strongly agreed and 306 (9.6%) strongly disagreed. Sixth grade students were the most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth grade students were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3120) = 60.00, p<000. Girls were more likely to neither ag ree nor disagree, whereas boys were more likely to disagree with the statement, Chi-square (4, N = 3127) = 10.40, p<.034. There were no significant differences in the way White students and Non-white students responded to this statement, Chi-square (4, N = 3068) = 5.624, p<.227.

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92 A third dimension of school climate perception is the level of worry a student senses. The two questions that measur ed this dimension were as follows. SC9 I worry about not making frie nds at school. (Question 78) SC18 I worry about failing at school. (Question 87) When asked to respond to the following statement I worry about not making friends at school, 732 (23%) students ag reed or strongly agreed and 1,851 (58.3%) disagreed or strongly disagree d. There were no significant di fferences in the responses given in reply to this statement by grade membership, Chi-square (8, N = 3133) = 5.75, p<.675. There were no significant differences in the responses given by sex, Chi-square (4, N = 3141) = 7.71, p<.103. Similarly, there were no significant differences in responses to this statement with respect to ethnicity, Ch i-square (4, N = 3080) = 4.139, p<.388. In response to the statement I wo rry about failing at school, 1,484 (46.7%) students agreed or strongly agreed and 1,167 (36.7%) disagreed or strongly disagreed. There were no significant differe nces in the responses given in reply to this statement by grade membership, Chi-square (8, N = 3130) = 14.910, p<.061. The responses given by boys and girls did not diffe r significantly, Chi-square (4, N = 3138) =2.45, p<.654. Students that identified themselves as non-Wh ite were more likely to agree with this statement, while White students were more lik ely to be neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree, Chi-square (4, N = 3076) = 63.28, p<.000. A fourth dimension of school climate per ception is relationship with peers. The three questions that measured th is dimension were as follows: SC10 Students in my classes help one anot her when they need it. (Question 79)

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93SC11 Student in my classes get along with each other. (Question 80) SC13 I get along with other students at this school. (Question 82) In response to the statement Students in my classes help one another when they need it, 1,629 (51.2%) agreed or strongly disagreed with this statement, while 552 (17.4%) disagreed or strongly di sagreed. Sixth graders were more likely to agree with this statement, and eighth grade students were more likely to disagr ee, Chi-square (8, N = 3132) = 24.31, p<.002. Boys were more likely to disagree with this statement, Chisquare (4, N = 3140) = 20.75, p<.000. White stud ents were more likely to choose the middle-of-the road response options. Non-wh ite students were more likely to strongly agree or strongly disagree, Chisquare (4, N = 3079) = 37.02, p<.000. When asked to respond to the statement Students in my classes get along with each other, 1,276 (40.1%) students agree or st rongly agree, and 597 (18.7%) disagree or strongly disagree. There were no significant di fferences in the res ponses given in reply to this statement by grade membership, Chi-square (8, N = 3140) = 15.33, p<.053. Similarly, responses given by male and female students did not differ significantly, Chisquare (4, N = 3148) = 5.8, p<.214. White student s were more likely to select the more moderate or neutral response options. Non-white students we re more likely to select response categories at either extrem e, Chi-square (4, N = 3087) = 26.60, p<.000. In response to the statement I get al ong with other students at this school, 2,419 (76.2%) students agreed or strongly agreed with this statement, and 226 (7.1%) students disagreed or strongly disagreed. Sixth grade students were th e most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth grade students were again the most likely to disagree, Chisquare (8, N = 3148) = 16.99, p<.030. Girls we re more likely to agree with this

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94statement, Chi-square (4, N = 3156) = 20.35, p< .000. White students were more likely to select the more moderate or neutral res ponses, while Non-white students were more likely to either strongly agree or strong ly disagree, Chi-square (4, N = 3094) = 13.76, p<.000. A fifth dimension of school climate per ception is sense of belonging. The four questions that measured this dimension were as follows: SC21 People here notice when I am good at something. (Question 90) SC23 I wish I were at a di fferent school. (Question 92) SC24 I can really be myself at this school. (Question 93) SC25 I feel like a part of this school. (Question 94). In responding to the statement People here notice when I am good at something, 2,025 (63.7%) students agreed or strongly agre ed, and 450 (14.2%) students disagreed or strongly disagreed. Sixth grade students we re the most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth grade students were the most likely to disagree Chi-square (8, N = 3142) = 33.62, p<.000. Boys were more likely to answer strongly agree or strongly disagree, whereas girls were more likely to ag ree or have neutral f eelings regarding the statement, Chi-square (4, N = 3150) = 29.42, p< .000. White students were more likely to pick the more moderate or neutral respons e options. Non-white students were more likely to select responses at either extreme, Chi-s quare (4, N = 3088) = 32.90, p<.000. In response to the statement I wish I were at a different school, 723 (22.8%) students agreed or strongly agreed, and 1,597 (50.2%) disagreed or strongly disagreed. Eighth grade students were the most likely to agree with this statement, whereas sixth grade students were the most likely to di sagree, Chi-square ( 8, N = 3147) = 77.82, p<000.

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95Responses given by boys and girls to this statement did not differ significantly, Chisquare (4, N = 3155) = 2.69, p<.611. Non-White students were more likely to agree with this statement, while White students were more likely to have neutral or negative feelings regarding this statement, Chisquare (4, N = 3093) = 19.51, p<.001. When asked to respond to the statement I can really be myself at this school, 1,911 (60.1%) viewed this statement favorabl y, while 593 (18.7%) students disagreed or strongly disagreed. Sixth graders were the most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth graders were the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3151) = 58.64, p<.000. The responses given by boys and girls to this item did not differ significantly, Chi-square (4, N = 3159) = 8.622, p<.071. Nonwhite students were more likely to strongly agree with this stat ement, while White students were more likely to have moderate or neutral feelings, Chisquare (4, N = 3097) = 41.35, p<.000). In response to the statement I feel like a part of this school, 1,632 (51.4%) students agreed or strongly ag reed with this statement, and 634 (20%) students disagreed or strongly disagreed. Sixth graders were the most likely to agree with this statement, and eighth grade students were the most lik ely to disagree, Chisquare (8, N = 3151) = 73.90, p<.000. Boys were more likely to answ er strongly agree or strongly disagree, whereas girls were more likely to select more moderate or neutral response options, Chisquare (4, N = 3159) = 24.58, p<.000. Non-White students were more likely to strongly agree, while White students were more likely to be moderate or neutral, Chi-Square (4, N = 3098) = 20.75, p<.000. The last dimension of school climate pe rception is home involvement. The four questions that comprise this dimension are the following:

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96SC 17 I work hard on homework for my classes. (Question 86) SC19 My parents/guardians know whats going on in my classes this year. (Question 88) SC20 My parents/guardians know they can take part in school-rela ted events such as parent nights and field trips. (Question 89) SC22 I participate in af ter school activitie s at this school. (Question 91) In response to the statement I work hard on homework for my classes, 2,426 (76.4%) students agreed or strongly ag reed, and 410 (12.9%) st udents disagreed or strongly disagreed. Sixth graders were the most likely to agree, and eighth grade students were the most likely to disagree, Chi-s quare (8, N = 3140) = 63.23, p<.000. Girls were more likely to agree with this statemen t, Chi-square (4, N = 3148) = 14.49, p<.006. There were no significant differe nces in how students respon ded to this statement with respect to ethnicity, Chi-square (4, N = 3086) = 7.68, p<.104. In response to the statement My parent s/guardians know whats going on in my classes this year, 2,085 (65.6%) students agreed or strongly agreed, and 410 (12.9%) students disagreed or strongly di sagreed. Sixth graders were th e most likely to agree with this statement and the eighth graders were the most likely to disagree Chi-square (8, N = 3145) = 52.38, p<.000. There were no significant differences in the responses given by boys and girls, Chi-square (4, N =3153) = 5.863, p<.210. Non-white students were more likely to strongly agree or to disagree with this statement, while white students agreed or were neutral, Chi-square (4, N = 3091) = 22.36, p<.000). In responding to the statement My parent s/guardians know they can take part in school-related events such as parent nights and field trips, 2187 (68.9%) students agreed

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97or strongly agreed, and 396 (12.5%) student s disagreed or strongly disagreed. Sixth graders were the most likely to agree with th is statement, and the eighth graders were the most likely to disagree, Ch i-square (8, N = 3136) = 57.21, p<.000. The responses given by boys and girls did not differ significantl y, Chi-square (4, N = 3144) = 4.33, p<.363. Non-white students were more likely to strong ly agree, disagree, st rongly disagree, or have neutral feelings about this statement, while White students were more likely to agree, Chi-square (4, N = 3083) = 15.72, p<.000). In response to the statement I participat e in after school activi ties at this school, 1,995 (62.8%) students agreed or strongly agr eed with this statement, and 508 (16%) students disagreed or strongly di sagreed. Sixth graders were th e most likely to agree with this statement, while eighth grade students we re the most likely to disagree, Chi-square (8, N = 3151) = 33.62, p<.000. Boys were more likely to strongly agree, agree, or strongly disagree than girls, who were more lik ely to remain neutral, Chi-square (4, N = 3159) = 13.62, p<.009. Non-white students we re more likely to express extreme agreement or disagreement with this statemen t, while White students were more likely to have moderate or neutral feelings Chi-square (4, N = 3097) = 14.76, p<.000). Appendix O summarizes how students in the sample responded to the school climate items in the survey. The following three tables recap the school climate findings. Table 8 lists the frequencies of student responses by sex membership. Table 9 catalogs the frequencies of student responses by ethnicity. Finally, Table 10 gives the frequencies of student responses by grade.

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98Table 8. Perceptions of School Climate by Sex Girls Boys Survey Question Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree Strongly Disagree Relationship with Teachers 70 812 606 172 42 24 690 502 186 40 70 71 146 171 458 448 435 186 156 413 386 351 72 420 596 376 155 117 398 523 317 128 128 73 361 568 375 232 124 392 501 279 176 146 74 508 710 309 79 54 472 631 216 72 86 75 745 504 190 110 111 683 392 205 82 131 76 429 698 399 78 57 420 560 326 95 97 77 467 605 436 76 76 398 522 351 108 107 85 362 571 453 155 118 351 483 380 138 139 Sense of Ambiguity 81 903 599 101 41 22 842 497 93 31 33 83 642 640 260 61 54 597 576 201 53 68 84 560 658 287 68 73 525 575 216 86 79 Worries 78 170 227 298 380 583 154 180 264 301 584 87 474 313 255 270 343 395 300 236 232 320 Relationship with Peers 79 253 642 514 148 99 224 509 447 162 142 80 153 498 706 189 114 156 465 574 177 116 82 545 751 267 66 31 456 663 248 60 69 Belonging 90 417 608 396 140 98 459 540 282 90 120 92 203 166 458 358 480 200 154 381 309 446 93 437 535 365 188 138 425 511 293 135 132 94 323 542 487 176 136 325 437 411 131 191 Home Involvement 86 651 644 275 47 35 514 612 260 56 54 88 454 630 362 138 74 413 584 300 109 89 89 513 645 306 100 92 475 551 258 106 98 91 441 578 375 174 92 437 535 285 131 111 *The shaded areas represent the response category where the observed frequencies were statistically significantly higher than expected. **Due to partial completion of some surveys, the total N reported for individual items may vary. ***See Appendix K for a quick reference to the school climate questions.

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99Table 9. Perceptions of School Climate by Ethnicity Non White White Survey Question Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree Strongly Disagree Relationship with Teachers 70 433 263 91 29 27 1045 818 261 53 64 71 121 79 217 210 215 205 240 636 608 557 72 256 257 182 67 80 544 840 499 209 160 73 246 263 154 103 79 491 785 493 295 184 74 311 326 126 34 45 648 994 389 112 93 75 401 205 109 55 71 1007 668 273 136 166 76 261 313 185 38 50 570 923 527 132 98 77 289 279 191 36 50 559 828 580 142 131 85 220 267 201 81 72 481 770 614 207 175 Sense of Ambiguity 81 498 262 47 15 33 1212 811 149 54 33 83 371 289 120 24 40 849 898 333 86 80 84 317 305 130 40 42 753 901 362 110 108 Worries 78 94 109 159 163 313 221 289 398 503 831 87 300 189 110 93 147 550 408 370 399 510 Relationship with Peers 79 170 299 232 59 79 300 824 711 248 157 80 113 213 343 107 66 193 732 907 252 161 82 286 358 127 35 39 700 1022 380 87 60 Belonging 90 296 279 158 48 61 566 842 506 176 156 92 139 95 199 163 245 256 219 623 488 666 93 298 267 146 65 70 551 755 500 252 193 94 215 259 216 67 87 422 698 669 232 233 Home Involvement 86 334 300 152 26 26 816 925 372 73 62 88 267 288 156 83 46 584 897 496 159 115 89 273 279 160 62 66 694 895 392 141 121 91 272 283 158 71 61 591 803 491 230 137 *The shaded areas represent the response category where the observed frequencies were statistically significantly higher than expected. **Due to partial completion of some surveys, the total N reported for individual items may vary. ***See Appendix K for a quick reference to the school climate questions.

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100Table 10. Perceptions of School Climate by Grade 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade Survey Question SA Agree Neither Disagree SD SA Agree Neither Disagree SD SA Agree Neither Disagree SD Relationship with Teachers 70 400 225 72 16 20 654 499 153 36 39 444 380 133 31 35 71 75 62 177 187 230159 145 393 370 322 97 119 299 273 234 72 261 254 121 55 44 361 487 320 115 111 193 372 252 113 91 73 246 264 117 61 48 311 461 319 195 101 192 341 219 150 121 74 298 272 108 27 27 416 607 235 67 57 266 457 181 56 55 75 392 183 85 34 43 631 395 172 83 105 404 315 136 74 93 76 250 279 151 28 29 384 551 317 79 61 215 425 254 65 63 77 280 252 138 36 29 373 488 350 85 87 213 384 294 62 67 85 225 278 142 45 47 316 445 377 131 115 172 325 312 118 94 Sense of Ambiguity 81 432 237 38 19 11 769 479 88 34 23 540 377 68 19 20 83 355 251 83 24 21 545 526 211 50 55 335 438 166 39 45 84 323 269 85 27 23 478 529 226 71 72 282 431 191 56 57 Worries 78 89 95 132 152 267132 192 248 297 511 103 121 182 228 384 87 223 153 107 91 158387 264 223 224 281 259 194 160 184 222 Relationship with Peers 79 150 249 218 69 47 190 512 421 149 109 135 385 322 92 84 80 91 226 299 76 43 125 413 551 182 112 93 319 427 108 75 82 259 318 107 28 20 410 630 248 65 37 328 464 159 33 42 Belonging 90 252 267 132 40 43 373 512 290 113 97 247 365 254 78 79 92 64 69 164 137 302176 144 373 315 380 162 107 300 214 240 93 273 239 120 59 46 354 465 292 154 126 233 337 247 109 97 94 225 230 170 47 64 258 426 418 143 146 163 323 304 117 117 Home Involvement 86 353 267 86 17 10 474 570 244 53 42 337 414 204 33 36 88 261 283 126 38 27 375 524 301 120 66 229 403 234 88 70 89 298 275 109 24 28 413 520 259 101 90 274 397 197 81 70 91 250 280 120 55 30 364 495 300 131 101 261 335 239 118 72 *The shaded areas represent the response category where the observed frequencies were statistically significantly higher than expected. **Due to partial completion of some surveys, the total N reported for individual items may vary. ***See Appendix K for a quick reference to the school climate questions.

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101 School membership also affected how students perceived school climate. An individual school climate mean score was cr eated for each student by adding the scores for the 25 items measuring the perceptions of sc hool climate and then taking the average. A school climate mean score for each school was created by taking the mean score of each student in the school and taking the aver age. Comparing the school mean scores resulted in the finding that school 6 had a climate score reflecting the most positive school climate perceptions, followed in orde r from the most positive perceptions to the least positive perceptions by schools 3, 1, 0, 7, a nd 4. To test whether the difference in means was significant, the researcher c onducted the Kruskal-Wallace test. Overall school climate perceptions differed signifi cantly by school membership [H (5) = 3177.0, p<.05]. Because the later analyses in the study were conducted using the factor scores obtained from the principal analysis procedur e, the researcher also looked at whether school climate differed by school membersh ip, ethnicity, sex, and grade. One-way analysis of variance was used to compare the observations. In interpreting the school climate questions, higher scores correlate with more negative perceptions about the school climate. Lower scores re flect more positive perceptions. A one-way between-groups analysis of variance was conducted to explore the impact of school membership on perceptions of school climate. Subjects were divided into six groups, depending on the middle sc hool the students repor ted to attend. All scores were statistically significant. For th e school climate dimension relationship with teachers, [F(5,2921) = 3.663, p = .003], post-hoc comparison indicated that the mean score for school 6 (M = -.12, SD = .97) diffe red significantly from school 7 (M = .10, SD

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102= .97), The mean score for school 6 also di ffered significantly from school 1 (M = .06, SD=.99), and school 7 differed significantly from school 3 (M=-.11, SD = .93). For the sense of ambiguity scores [F(5, 2 921) = 2.775, p = .017], post-hoc comparison indicated that the mean score for school 3( M = -.12, SD = .89) differed significantly from school 4 (M = .06, SD = .97). For the wo rries scores [F(5, 2921) = 7.146, p = .000], post-hoc comparison indicated that the mean worry score for school 0 (M = .01, SD = .99) differed from school 1 (M = .06, SD = .99) school 3 (M = -.11, SD = .93), and school 6 (M = -.12, SD = .97). School 6 also diffe red from school 4 (M = -.03, SD = .91) and school 7 (M = .10, SD = .98. For the relatio nship with peers scores [F(5, 2921) = 2.847, p = .014], post-hoc comparison indicated that the mean peer score for school 3 (M = .11, SD = .92) was significantly different fr om school 4 (M = -.06, SD = .96). For the sense of belonging scores [F(5, 2924 0 = 7.345, p = .000], post-hoc comparison indicated that the mean belonging score for school 4 (M = -.17, SD = 1.06) was significantly different from school 0 (M = .10, SD = 1.01), school 3 (M = .05, SD = 1.00) and school 6 (M = .14, SD = .93). Finally, for the home involvement scores [F(5, 2921) = 6.77, p = .000], post-hoc comparison indi cated that the mean home involvement score for school 0 (M = .08, SD = 1.00) was significantly different from school 1 (M = .11, SD = 1.00), school 3 (M = -.13, SD = .94), and school 6 (M = -.11, SD = .94). School 4 (M = .11, SD = .97) also was significa ntly different from schools 1, 3, and 6. A one-way between-groups analysis of variance was conducted to explore the impact of race/ethnicity on perceptions of school climate. Subjects were divided into two groups: White and Non-White. There was a st atistically significant difference at the p<0.05 in the sense of ambiguity scores for the two groups [F (1, 2865) = 6.006, p =

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103.014] with white students having a higher m ean score (M = .014, SD = .95) than NonWhite students (M = -.086, SD = 1.97). The scor es for worries were also statistically different [F (1, 2865) = 38.281, p = .000]. White st udents were less likely to report being worried (M = .091, SD = .97) than Non-white students (M = .166, SD = 1.66). Finally, differences in sense of belongi ng scores were also statisti cally significant for these two groups [F (1, 2865) = 13.276, p = .000]. White st udents had lower belonging scores (M = .029, SD = 1.01) that Non-white students (M = .124, SD = .998). Table 11 summarizes the perceptions of school climate by ethnicity. Table 11. Summary of the Perceptio ns of School Climate by Ethnicity Ethnicity Factors White Non-White Relationships with teachers = = Sense of ambiguity Less positive perceptions More positive perceptions Worries More positive percep tionsLess positive perceptions Relationships with peers = = Sense of belonging Less positive per ceptions More positive perceptions Home involvement = = A one-way between-groups analysis of variance was conducted to explore the impact of sex on perceptions of school climate, as reflected by the factors scores. There were no statistically significant differences in perceptions of school climate for males and females. Finally, a one-way between-groups analysis of variance was conducted to explore the impact of grade membership on perceptions of school climate. Subjects were divided into three groups: sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. There wa s a statistically significant difference in the relationshi p with teachers scores for the three groups [F(2, 2912) = 34.7]. Post-hoc comparison using the Tukey HS D test indicated that all three grades differed significantly from each other, with sixth graders having scores reflecting the

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104most positive perceptions (M = -.27, SD = .93), seventh graders having the midrange scores (M = -.03, SD = .97), and eighth gr aders scores reflecting the most negative perceptions (M = .14, SD = .99). There were al so statistical significant differences in the sense of ambiguity scores [F(2, 2912) = 3.13] Post-hoc comparisons indicated that the mean score for grade six (M = -.08, SD = .91) was significantly different from grade 8 (M = .04), SD = 1.01). Grade 7 (M = -.01, SD = .98) did not differ significantly from either grade six or eight. Gr ade membership also had a significant impact on sense of belonging scores [F(2, 2912) = 30.47]. Post-hoc comparisons indicated that all three grades differed significantly from each othe r, with eighth grade having the scores reflecting the most negative perceptions (M = .26, SD = .98), seventh grade having intermediate scores (M = -.02, SD = .99), a nd sixth grade having scores reflecting the most positive (M = -.13, SD = .99). Finally, grade membership had a significant impact on the home involvement scores [F (2, 2912) = 39.6]. Post-hoc comparisons indicated that sixth grade scores (M = -.30, SD = .86), which reflected the most positive attitudes toward these school climate variable, differed significantly from seventh grade score (M = .03, SD = .98) and grade 8 (M = .12, SD = 1.01) Grades seven and eight did not differ significantly from one another. Research Question 6 Research Question 6: Do the indepe ndent variables sex, ethnicity, grade membership, relationship with teachers, sense of ambiguity, worries, relationship with peers, sense of belonging, home i nvolvements, and school membership have a significant relationship with st udents reporting being involved in bullying as either bullies or victims?

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105 Multiple regression analysis was perform ed to determine whether a relationship existed between having been bullied and th e independent variables grade, sex, school, and perceptions of school climate. Similarl y, multiple regression analysis was performed to determine whether a relationship exis ted between having bullied and the same independent variables. To obtain a measure of being a bullyi ng victim, responses for questions 14 through 18 were summed. To obtain a measur e of bullying, responses for question 19 through 23 were summed. After exploring the two resulting variables graphically, looking at the skewness and kurtosis values, and examining the boxplots, the variables were found to be skewed. To correct for nonnormality, the scores were transformed. The bullied values were transformed by adding one to the original value and then taking the natural log. The bully values were transfor med by adding one to the original value and then taking the negative fourth root, so results needed to be interpreted as the inverse of the relationship between the variables. Th e optimal transformati ons were obtained by finding the Box-Cox transformation using the SAS transreg procedure as explained by the SAS Customer Support Center (2001). Because multiple regression analysis assumes that the predictors in the regression model are continuous or categorical with onl y to categories, the categorical variables indicating the grade and school memberships we re coded as dummy variables. For the grade variables, grade eight was the base line, and the variable created were Grd1 (comparing sixth grade to eighth) and Grd2 (comparing seventh grade to eighth). For schools, school 0 was the baseline. The school dummy variables created were S1, S2, S3, S4, and S5. Missing values were addresse d through the use of listwise deletion, which

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106means that if a person has a missing value for any variable, then they are excluded from the whole analysis. Using lis twise deletion you get a better correlation matrix, where all correlations are obtained from the same set of observations. Another option is to exclude cases on a pairwise basis, which means that if a respondent has a score missing for any particular variable, then their data are ex cluded only from calculations involving the missing variable. Whereas pairwise deletion ty pically provides for the exclusion of fewer cases the results are difficult to interpret, becau se it is likely that the data analysis will be based on entirely different groups of cases (Field, 2000). Using multiple regression, the dependent variable bullied was regressed on the linear combination of sex, ethni city, grade membership, scho ol membership, and the six school climate factor scores. In a separate analysis, the dependent variable bully was regressed on the same linear combin ation of independent variables. For the multiple regression analysis in which being bullied was the outcome variable, the model containi ng all the predictor variables resulted in the greatest significant increases in the R Square statistic. R square is a measur e of how much of the variability in the outcome is accounted for by the predictors. The model with the school climate predictors accounted for 12.3% of the variance. According to this model, sex, grade and school membership, relationship with teachers, worries, and relationship with peers were significant predictors of being a victim of bullying. Boys were more likely to report being bullied, students in grades six and seven were more likely to report being bullied than students in grade eight, and stude nts in all schools, except school 3, were less likely to report being bullied than students in school 0. School 0 and 3 did not differ significantly in students reporti ng being victims of bullying. For the perception of school

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107climate variables, students that reported ne gative feelings regardi ng relationships with adults at the school were more likely to report being bullied. Also, students that reported more feelings of worry were also more lik ely to report being bulli ed. Finally, getting along with peers and having supportive peers wa s associated with reduced levels of reported levels of being a victim of bu llying. Results are summarized on Table 12. Table 12. Beta Coefficient Summary for Bullying Victimization Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Variables B Std. Error Beta t Sig. Sex .158 .030 .092 5.227 .000 Ethnicity -.063 .037 -.033 -1.725 .085 Grd1 .156 .042 .078 3.721 .000 Grd2 .102 .035 .059 2.902 .004 S1 -.161 .056 -.067 -2.859 .004 S2 -.089 .054 -.040 -1.658 .097 S3 -.151 .052 -.073 -2.919 .004 S4 -.178 .053 -.084 -3.330 .001 S5 -.235 .062 -.085 -3.781 .00 Relationship with Teacher s .057 .018 066 3.246 .001 Ambiguity -.011 .017 -.012 -.649 .516 Worry .182 .015 213 11.763 .000 Relationship with Peers -.173 .016 -.200 -10.520 .000 Belonging -.023 .017 -.027 -1.365 .173 Home Involvement .010 .019 .011 .534 .594 Grd1 Dummy variable for grade membership ; compares sixth grade to eighth grade. Grd2 Dummy variable for grade membership; compares seventh grade to eighth grade. S1 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 1 to 0. S2 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 3 to 0. S3 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 4 to 0. S4 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 6 to 0. S5 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 7 to 0. For the multiple regression analysis in which bullying aggression was the outcome variable, the model containing all the pr edictor variables resulted in the greatest significant increases in the R square statistic. R square is a measur e of how much of the variability in the outcome is accounted for by the predictors. The model with the school climate predictors accounted for 12.8% of the variance. According to this model, sex, grade and school membership, relationship with teachers, worries, a nd relationship with

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108peers were significant predictors of being a victim of bullying. Boys were more likely to report engaging in bullying. Students in grades six and seven were more likely to report being bullies than students in grade eight. Students in schools 0 and 3 did not report significantly different levels of bullying. Students in all othe r schools reported less levels of bullying that school 0. Students reporti ng stronger relationship s with teachers and adults at the school were le ss likely to report bullying. Students reporting being less worried were also less likely to report bu llying. Finally, studen ts reporting better relationships with and among peer were more likely to report bully ing other students. The results are summarized on Table 13. Table 13. Beta Coefficient Summary for Bullying Aggression. Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Variables B Std. Error Beta t Sig. Sex .007 .001 -.098 -5.577 .000 Ethnicity .003 .002 .033 1.753 .080 Grd1 -.007 .002 -.076 -3.674 .000 Grd2 -.004 .002 -.058 -2.866 .004 S1 .007 .002 .070 2.988 .003 S2 .004 .002 .044 1.821 .069 S3 .006 .002 .072 2.904 .004 S4 .008 .002 .085 3.383 .001 S5 .010 .003 .085 3.822 .000 Relationship with Teachers -.002 .001 -.067 -3.298 .001 Ambiguity .000 .001 .011 .587 .557 Worry -.008 .001 -.216 -12.010 .000 Relationship with Peers .008 .001 .204 10.769 .000 Belonging .001 .001 .027 1.358 .175 Home Involvement .000 .001 -.011 -.507 .612 Grd1 Dummy variable for grade membership ; compares sixth grade to eighth grade. Grd2 Dummy variable for grade membership; compares seventh grade to eighth grade. S1 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 1 to 0 S2 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 3 to 0. S3 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 4 to 0. S4 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 6 to 0. S5 Dummy variable for school membership; compares school 7 to 0.

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109 Research Question 7 Research Question 7: Does the combined effect of independent variables school climate variables and school membership explain the observed variation in students reporting being i nvolved in bullying at all? Multilevel analyses can separate determ inants operating at an individual level from those operating at a contextual level. For this reason, the researcher sought to answer this research question using a multile vel approach. School-level variables were obtained from a Florida Department of Educations School Accountability Report. As discussed previously, there appears to be some evidence that the levels of bullying activities differ among schools. To model this between-group variability, the researcher included several school-level co ntextual effects in predicting bullying activities. The research took two appro aches for conducting the multilevel analyses. First the researcher followed the methods described by Singer (1998) using SAS PROC MIXED. As in most studies looking at school-effect, the first multilevel analyses conducted, the covariance structure used was unstructured and the degrees of freedom were determined by the between-within (BW) option. In this type of structure, no mathematical pattern is imposed on the c ovariance matrix. This approach was computationally time intensive and ultimately was not the best approach for a data set of this small size and for the number of dependent variables used in the models. However, some interesting information was obtained fr om the Singer approach. The unconditional means models for both outcome variable s, bullying aggression and bullying victimization, suggested that schools did not differ in the amount of bullying activities,

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110when looking at the covariance paramete r estimates. For bullying aggression, the estimate of intraclass correlation, which tell s the researcher what portion of the total variance occurs between schools, was 0.01 or one percent. For bullying victimization, the portion of the variance occurring between schools was also one percent. These same models conducted with school level variables were also in formative. The only school level variable that explained a portion of the between school variation was the variable representing the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. This variable explained 82% of th e between school variation in bullying aggression and 81% of the explainable variation between schools in bullying victimization. Unfortunately, the more complex models containing both sc hool level and student level variables could not be conducted using this approach. Inst ead the researcher conducted models using a second approach. In this case the analys es were run using the compound symmetry structure (CS) which has only two unknow n parameters, one modeling a homogenous variance and the other a correla tion, which is assumed to re main constant. This CS structure was selected because it had the le ast number of unknown parameters and would better be able to handle a small data set a nd models with a large number of explanatory variables (Littell, M illiken, Stroup, & Wolfinger, 2002). The researcher also used the Kenward-Rogers (KR) adjusted degrees of freedom solution, an approach specifically proposed for small sample settings (Kowal chuck, Keselman, Algina, & Wolfinger, 2004). The results of the second approach follow. Table 17 lists the unstandardized estimates for two models containing school level meas ures. Model I contains only school-level predictors, whereas model II pr esents a full model with a ll individual and school-level independent variables.

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111 In model I, the researcher examines the hypothesis that the proportion of students in a reduced cost or free school lunch program contribute s to student bullying, both as aggressor and victim. Looking at the estimate and the significance values for this variable, it appears that as the proportion of students on this program increases, so do the reports of being bullied and bullying. Additi onally, this model looks at the possibility that the percentage of students from the total enrollment who were absent 21 or more days during the school year contributes to student bully ing. Again, looking at the estimate and significance values for this variable, it appears that absences and bullying are correlated. The remaining school level variables described previously do not appear to be correlated to bullying. However, in Model II, the model that includes both school level and student level predictors, both form erly significant variables, no longer have a significant effect. Table 14 shows the estimate s for the school level predictor variables in both models. Table 14. Values for School Leve l Variables in Models I and II Bullying Aggression Model I Model II Fixed Effect Estimate SE DF F Pr > F Estimate SE DF F Pr > F Lunch -0.00021 0.000047 3155 21.20 <.0001 -0.00014 0.000077 33.4 3.11 0.0868 Enrollment 3.062E-6 4.857E-6 3155 0.40 0.5285 2.846E-6 7378E-6 30.1 0.15 0.7024 Absences 0.001443 0.000587 3155 6.03 0.0141 0.000163 0.000916 34.2 0.03 0.8596 Staff -0.00002 0.000757 3155 0.25 0.6197 -0.00008 0.000064 27.9 1.71 0.2016 Disability 0.001121 0.000757 3155 2.19 0. 1389 0.000138 0.001205 34.5 0.01 0.9093 Bullying Victimization Lunch 0.004920 0.001082 3155 20.67 <.0001 0.003118 0.001802 25.8 2.99 0.0956 Enrollment -0.00007 0.000113 3155 0.41 0.5236 -0.00004 0.000172 24 0.06 0.8104 Absences -0.03316 0.000954 3155 0.56 0.0153 -0.00496 0.02138 26.5 0.05 0.8183 Staff 0.000534 0.000954 3155 0.56 0.5753 0.001780 0.001483 22 1.44 0.2428 Disabilty -0.02686 0.01762 3155 2.32 0.1276 -0.00778 0.0281 7 26.5 0.08 0.7846 Next, a model (Model III) was examined that included only the variable representing the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and all the individual level variables. In this model, the school level variable lunch was significant as well as the following student level variables: sex, relatio nship with adults, sense of

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112worry, grade membership, and relationship with peers. Finally, a final model was run, with only the variables that were significant in model III. The values for the variables in this model are on Table 15. Table 15. Values for School Level and St udent Level Variables in Final Model Bullying Aggression Final Model Variables Estimate SE DF F Pr > F Fixed Effects Lunch 0.9167 0.002066 23.7 8.24 0.0214 Sex -0.00013 0.000046 7.79 29.82 <.0001 Teachers -0.00711 0. 001302 231 16.34 0.0006 Worry -0.00796 0.000670 18.2 141.39 <.0001 Grd1 -0.00629 0.001776 572 12.55 0.0004 Grd2 -0.00418 0.001502 354 7.75 0.0057 Peers -0.007808 0.000690 20.9 12794 <.0001 Random Effect Variance Estimate SE ZValue Pr>Z School 7.585E -8 0.000551 0 0.25 0.4113 Bullying Victimization Final Model Fixed Effects Lunch 0.003015 0.001095 8.04 7.58 0.0248 Sex 0.1549 0.03065 215 2554 <.0001 Teachers 0.06464 0. 01673 21.6 14.93 .0009 Worry 0.1820 0.01612 18.3 127.47 <.0001 Grd1 0.1485 0.04168 541 12.70 0.0004 Grd2 0.09819 0.03529 331 7.74 0.0057 Peers -0.1780 0.01659 20.7 115.12 <.001 Random Effects Random Effect Variance Estimate SE ZValue Pr>Z School 0.000152 0.000551 0.000551 0.28 0.3913 The final model suggests that bullying aggres sion (the variable in the transformed variable transformed by adding one to the or iginal value and then taking the negative fourth root as a result it is important to keep in mind that the results should be interpreted as an inverse relationship) increases with a decreasing percentage of students on subsidized school lunches. Bullying aggression is also higher for boys that for girls. Additionally, bullying ag gression is higher for students re porting more negative feelings regarding their relationships w ith teachers and adults at th e school. Students in grades sixth and seventh are more like ly to report engaging in bully ing than students in eighth

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113grade. Finally, students that report positive perceptions of peer relationships are more likely to report that they have bullied. The final model suggests that reported bu llying victimization increased with an increase in the percentage of students elig ible for free or reduced-price lunch. The variable free or reduced-price lunch is a proxy variable for some other variable, perhaps a childs neighborhood or environment. This fi nding may then be an indication that the neighborhood or home environment the child comes from affects the childs bullying behavior at school. According to the final model, reports of bullying victimization were also higher among male students, students th at report negative feeling regarding their relationship with teachers and ot her adults at school, students th at report more feelings of worry, and student that report more negative feelings regard ing their relati onships with peers. Students in sixth and seventh grades were more likel y to report being bullied than students in the eighth grade. Research Question 8 Research Question 8: Does gender modi fy the observed effects of independent variables on students reporting involvement in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? Effect modification, also known as intera ction or modulation, is a situation in which the strength of association between one variable and an outcome is affected by another variable. In this case, the researcher analyzed the how the dependent variables used to predict bullying were modifi ed by the sex of the student. To address this question, the research er included interaction terms between sex and the independent variable. The first step taken was to conduct multiple regression

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114analyses of the two dependent variables includi ng interaction terms as predictors. Next, the researcher divided girls and boys into separate sets, and the researcher ran the multiple regression analyses again. Finally, th e same process was repeated using models containing both school level a nd student level variables. For the dependent variable bullying victim ization, the interaction terms that were significant, according to multiple regression analysis were sex by relationship with teachers, sex by the dummy variable Grade2 (seventh grade compared to the baseline, eighth grade), and sex by ethnicity. These same variables were also the significant interaction terms for bullying aggression. The values for the significant interaction terms are on Table 16. Table 16. Summary of the Significant Interaction Terms Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Significant Independent variables B Std. Error Beta t Sig. Sex*teachers -.129 .0 35 -.106 -3.666 .000 Sex*ethnicity -.197 .073 -.077 -2.695 .007 Bullying victimization Sex*Grade2 -.209 .070 -.099 -2.981 .003 Sex*teachers .006 .0 02 .105 3.643 .000 Sex*ethnicity .009 .003 .078 2.764 .006 Bullying aggression Sex*Grade2 .009 .003 .102 3.070 .002 To further consider the nature of the e ffect modification, the researcher evaluated multiple regression analyses carried out sepa rately for boys and girls. In terms of bullying victimization, for girls, interactions with teachers and other adults at school and the dummy variable Grade2 (seventh grade comp ared to the baseline, eighth grade) were significant. Girls that report more negative feelings regard ing relationships with adults at the school are more likely to re port being bullied. Also, girl s in the seventh grade were more likely to report being bullied than girls in the eighth grade. For boys, ethnicity was

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115significant, more boys that re ported being Non-White also reporting being less likely to be victims of bullying. In examining effect modification in terms of bullying aggression, girls, interactions with adults at the school and the dummy variable Grade2 (seventh grade compared to the baseline, eighth grade) were significant. Girls that report more positive relationships with teachers and adults at the school are less likely to report bullying. Girls in grade seven are more likely to repor t engaging in bullying than girls in grade eight. Among boys, Non-White students are less likely to engage in bullying aggression than students that self-re port being white. Table 17 su mmarizes the results of the multiple regression analyses run for the fema le and male student subsets. The same results were obtained using a multilevel appr oach. Results can be seen in Table 18. Table 17. Beta Coefficients of Models I and II Boys Girls Unstandardized Coefficient Standardized Coefficient Unstandardized Coefficient Standardized Coefficient B S.E. Beta t Sig B S.E. Beta t Sig. Bullying Victimization Teachers -.005 .026 -. 005. -.174 .862 .125 .024 .143 5.233 .000 Grade2 .003 .054 .002 .057 .955 .213 .046 .129 4.658 .000 Ethnicity -.166 .056 -.084 -2.976 .003 .032 .048 .017 .657 .511 Bullying Aggression Teachers .000 .001 004 .121 .904 -.005 001 -.144 -5.279 .000 Grade2 .000 .002 .001 .034 .973 -.009 .002 -.130 -4.705 .000 Ethnicity .007 .002 .085 3.033 .002 -.001 .002 -.018 -.686 .493

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116Table 18. Estimates for Interaction Te rms Obtained by Multilevel Approach Bullying Victimization Fixed Effect Estimate S.E. DF F Pr >F Lunch 0.003189 0.001190 13.9 7.17 0.0181 Sex 0.3057 0.05499 1520 30.90 <.0001 Ethnicity 0.02467 0.04864 776 0.26 0.6121 Teachers 0.1351 0.022 71 105 35.40 <.0001 Worry 0.1833 0.01590 24.9 132.98 <.0001 Grd1 0.2028 0.05645 1621 12.91 0.0003 Grd2 0.1951 0.04742 1041 16.92 <.0001 Peers -0.1763 0.01633 28.1 116.56 <.0001 Sex*Teachers -0.1343 0.03121 324 18.52 <.0001 Sex*Grd1 -0.1089 0.08220 2271 1.75 0.1854 Sex*Grd2 -0.1916 0.06957 2117 7.59 0.0059 Sex*Ethnicity -0.1730 0.06841 1391 6.39 0.0116 Bullying Aggression Lunch -0.00014 0.000049 24.3 8.12 0.0088 Sex -0.01380 0.002348 2707 34.55 <.0001 Ethnicity -0.00106 0.002070 2456 0.26 0.6076 Teachers -0.00579 0.0009 62 1046 36.19 <.0001 Worry -0.00802 0.000665 322 145.42 <.0001 Grd1 -0.00879 0.002411 2701 13.29 0.0003 Grd2 -0.00843 0.002023 2567 17.36 <.0001 Peers 0.007733 0.000685 338 127.48 <.0001 Sex*Teachers 0.005670 0.001328 1828 18.24 <.0001 Sex*Grd1 0.005058 0.003511 2803 2.08 0.1498 Sex*Grd2 0.008451 0.002973 2778 8.08 0.0045 Sex*Ethnicity 0.007605 0.002919 2562 6.79 0.0092 Summary of Results The purpose of this study was to acq uire information about bullying among students in six middle schools and to analy ze how of student pe rceptions of school climate (for example, how they view their relationship w ith peers and faculty and how they feel about their role as students a nd adolescents) relates to the self-reported prevalence of peer bullying. The findings ar e based on a sample of 3178 students from grades six to eight. The results indicated that bullying was a common occurrence in the schools, and its nature was comparable with published rese arch literature on bullying. Approximately eight percent of students were bullied on a regul ar basis in school, with verbal bullying as

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117the most common type of bullying and relati onal bullying as the le ast common. Being a perpetrator of physical, verbal, and relati onal bullying was most common among boys. Girls reported higher levels of being victims of relational bu llying. Bullying also varied according to school membership and grade me mbership. Bullying differed according to school climate perceptions, as well. Interestingl y, the effect of some of these variables on bullying was modified by sex. Finally, sc hool context was a signi ficant predictor of bullying, in particular the percen tage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

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118 Chapter 5 Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations This study is concluded by offering a su mmary and discussion of the results in four sections. The first section is an overv iew of the study. The second section presents conclusions and a discussion of the results. The third section pres ents limitations and strengths of the study. The final section pr ovides recommendations for future research. Overview of the Study The purpose of this study was to analy ze the relationship of school climate with the prevalence of peer bu llying among middle school st udents in Sarasota County, Florida. Aggressive behavi ors in childhood and adolescen ce have been the focus of many empirical investigations in the last several decades (e.g., Craig & Pepler, 1997; Crick & Werner, 1998; Pellegrini & Bartini, 2000; Shakeshaft, et al., 1995; Smith & Sharp, 1994). As a result, peer victimization or bullying, a subset of aggression, has been identified as a significant problem that can a ffect the physical and ps ychosocial health of those who are frequently bullied (victims) a nd those students who bully their peers at an early age (aggressors) (Batsche & Knoff, 1994). Bullying can take the form of physical, verbal, or relational bullyi ng (Olweus, 1993). Although cons ensus does not exist on the exact definition of bullying, most researcher s agree that bullying involves a child being repeatedly victimized; that the abuse is unpr ovoked; and that there is a power imbalance that favors the aggressor in the bully a nd victim interaction (Olweus, 1999).

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119When applying Bronfenbrenners ecological theory of human development to the problem of school bullying, the theory dictat es that the school se tting would have an effect on students behaviors. However, the influence of the school setting is not exerted by the objective nature of the setting, but in stead, the school setting influences student behaviors through the students perceptions of thei r school environment (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), what this study refers to as perceptions of school climate. With in the framework of Bronfenbrenners ecological theory of hu man development, this study analyzed the perceptions of school climate and bullying behaviors of middle school students in six Sarasota County, Florida public schools. The study was designed to address these eight research questions: 1. What is the prevalence of bullying in the sample? 2. What type of bullying occurs most frequently (physical verbal, relational)? 3. Are there differences in types of bullying or victimiza tion as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? 4. What are the perceptions of school climate among students in this sample? 5. Are there differences in school climate perception as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? 6. Do the independent variables perception of school climate variables and school membership have a significant re lationship with students reporting being involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? 7. Does the combined effect of inde pendent variables perceptions of school climate variables and school level variable s (enrollment, absences, staff, percent of students classified as di sabled, and percent free or school lunch) explain the

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120observed variation in students reporting be ing involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? 8. Does gender modify the observed effects of dependent variables on students reporting involvement in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? Effect modification occurs when the associati on between the independent variable and the dependent variable is affected by a third factor, in this case sex. To collect data on the school climate variables and bullying behaviors, the researcher added questions regarding school climate perceptions and bullying to the YRBS-M, a survey tool developed to asse ss the prevalence of risk behaviors among middle school students (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003; Fetro, Coyle, & Pham, 2001). The data were analyzed using a variety of methods, including descriptive and exploratory procedures, multiple linear regression, and multilevel regression. The findings are based on a sample of 3178 students from grades six to eight. The results indicated that bullying was a co mmon occurrence in the schools, and its nature was comparable with the other research literature on bullying (Nansel et al., 2001). Approximately eight percent of students were bullied on a regular ba sis in school, with verbal bullying as the most common type of bullying and relational bullying as the least common. Boys were more likely than girls to be perpetrators of all three forms of bullying. Girls reported higher levels of be ing victims of relati onal bullying. Bullying also varied according to school membership and grade membership. Bullying differed according to school climate perceptions, as well. Interestingly, the effect of some of

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121these variables on bullying wa s modified by sex. Fi nally, school context was a significant predictor of bullying, in particular the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Conclusions and Discussion Research questions 1, 2, and 3 1. What is the prevalence of bullying in the sample? 2. What type of bullying occurs most frequently (physical verbal, relational)? 3. Are there differences in types of bullying or victimiza tion as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? Bullying is a significant problem in U. S. school. In a recent national study, Nansel, et al. (2001) found that about 30% of students in grades sixth through ten had been involved in bullying incidents at moderate or high frequencies. This current study has found similar rates, with 34% of student s in the sample reporting being involved in moderate to high levels of bullying, either as a victim or as a bully. As in other bullying studies, the most prevalent type of bullying reported in verbal bullying, with 65.8% of students reporting having been involved as a bully at least once in the past 30 days, and with 66% of students reporting having been a vi ctim of this type of bullying in the past month. There were significant differences in types of bullying victimization and aggression with respect to the school students attended. Being a victim of verbal bullying differed depending on school membership, as did being an aggressor in verbal and physical bullying. Although not analyzed in quite the same way as this study, other published studies give researchers reason to believe that a studen ts bullying behaviors

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122are affected by the school a st udent attends (Brand & Felner 1996; Brand et al., 2003). Whereas school characteristics su ch as class size or school si ze have not been found to be related to bullying behaviors in students, how students interact with the school environment has (Dake, Price, & Tel ljohann, 2003; Whitney & Smith, 1993). For example, studies have found association between bullying and academic competence, school adjustment, and school engagement (C anadian Public Health Association, 2003; Mynard & Joseph, 1997; Natvig, Al brektsen, & Qvarnstrom, 2001). There were also significant differences in the types of bully ing victimization and aggression with respect to sex. Boys were more likely to report being both the victims and the aggressor in verbal bullying and physical bullying. Boys were also more likely to report being the aggressors in relational bullying. However, girls were more likely to report being the victims in rela tional bullying. In ge neral, these finding are also reflected in the published literature. Studies have f ound that boys are more likely to be both the perpetrators and the victims of bullying (Banks 1997; Nansel, et al, 2001). Whereas both boys and girls use verbal bullying most freque ntly, boys are more likely to engage in physical bullying and girls are more likely to use indirect bullying (Ahmad & Smith, 1994; Olweus, 1999). Previous studies looking at relational bullying found that relational bullying seemed to be equally common acro ss gender, though may be demonstrated in gender-specific ways and found that, although this type of bullying is exhibited earlier by girls, boys catch up as their verbal skills in crease (Bjrkvist, Lagerspaetz, Kaukiainen, 1992; Bjrkvist, 1994). Overall, a students repo rted ethnicity was not rela ted to whether he or she reported engaging in bullying, as a victim or as an aggressor. The exception to this

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123finding was that students reporting being of an ethnicity other than White were more likely to report higher levels of verbal a nd physical bullying aggression. However, this effect appears to disappear in later multiple regression analyses, perhaps due to the fact that the school with the highe st levels of reported bullying was also the school with the highest percentage of Non-White students. The finding that bullying does not differ according to ethnicity has been previously reported in the lite rature (Seals & Young, 2003). There were significant differences in the types of bullying victimization and aggression with respect to grade membersh ip. Seventh grade students reported the highest levels of physical a nd verbal victimization. Sixt h grade students reported the highest levels of relational victimization, and eighth grade students reported the lowest levels of all types of bullying victimiza tion. For bullying aggr ession, eighth grade students reported the highest levels of ve rbal aggression, seventh graders reported the highest levels of physical a ggression, and sixth graders repor ted the lowest levels of verbal and physical aggressi on. There were no differences observed in the levels of relational aggression by grade membership. Th ese differences in bullying behaviors with respect to grade membership are not always observed in the literatur e. Seals and Young (2003) reported that there were no significant grade-level difference in the prevalence of the various types of bullying. However, other research suggests that students in lower grades were more likely to be bullied than st udents in higher grades (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001). The researcher expected to see a diffe rence in the levels of bullying by grade membership, specifically more victimization a nd aggression in the sixth grade. This was

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124predicted on the basis of findings reported in the literature. A short-term investigation of over 500 middle school students found an incr ease in bullying behavior among sixthgraders over a 4-month period (Espelag e, Bosworth, & Simon, 2001). The authors speculated that the sixth-graders were assim ilating into the middle school, where bullying behavior was part of the school culture. This speculation was supported by the theory that bullying is a learned behavior and that as they enter mi ddle school, sixth-graders have not yet learned how to interact positively in the social milieu of the school. Many sixthgraders who wish to "fit in" may adopt th e behaviors--includi ng teasing--of those students who have been in the school longer and who have more pow er to dictate the social norm. Two recent studies further examined the hypothesis that middle school students opt to bully their p eers to fit in (Pel legrini & Bartini, 2000; Rodkin, Farmer, Pearl, & Van Acker, 2000). Pellegrini a nd colleagues found that bullying enhanced within-group status and popularity among 138 fifth-graders making the transition through the first year of middle school. Rodkin a nd colleagues reported similar findings in a study of 452 fourth through sixth grade boys. Both the Pelligrini and Rodkin studies, although reporting interesting fi ndings, had low sample sizes that disallowed the drawing of many inferences. This curre nt study, with a larger sample size, saw the highest levels of reported victimization among seventh gr ade students and the lowest levels of aggression among the sixth grade students, wh en looking at the chi-square analyses, However, the results were different when looking at the multiple regression analyses conducted to answer research question six, wh ere student in the sixth and seventh grade reported the highest levels of overall bu llying aggression and victimization.

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125 Research questions 4 and 5 Research Question 4. What are the pe rceptions of school cl imate among students in this sample? Research Question 5. Are there differe nces in school climate perception as a function of school, gender, ethnicity, or grade? Overall, students in this sample have a positive perception of the school climate, with more than half of the students feeling pos itive about all aspects of their school. This study found that perceptions of school climate varied by school membership. In looking at the relationship with teachers and adults at the school, school 1 had the most positive scores and school 6 had the lowe st. In looking at the sense of ambiguity or predictability scores, the most positive scor es were also at school 1, while school 3 had the lowest scores. In looking at the sense of wo rry scores, school 0 had the most positive perceptions and school 6 had the most negative. In looking at relationships with peers, school 3 had the most positive student perceptions and school 4 had the most negative. In looking at sense of belonging scores, the sc hool with the most pos itive perceptions was school 6 and school 4 had the most negative. Finally, school 4 had the most positive home involvement scores, while school 3 ha d the most negative. Overall, no one school had an obviously negative or an obviously positive school climate. This finding is not surprising in light of previous soci al-ecological research that school climate perceptions vary as a function of goodness of fit between stud ents social needs and their schools social environment (Brand & Feln er, 1996; Eccles et al., 1993). Studies conducted to assess the variation in school climate perception between schools have found that the between school variances are sm all, ranging between th ree and ten percent

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126(Brand et al., 2003; Griffith, 2000), however, both studies fou nd that students within the schools had a wide range of perceptio ns regarding the school climate. This current study found some statisti cally significant differences in school climate perception by student-reported ethni city. Students reporting being Non-White, had a greater sense of ambiguity (less perc eived control), a highe r level of reported worrying, and a higher sense of belonging. Th is current study did not find a statistical significant difference in percepti ons of school climate for boys and girls, as reflected by the analyses conducted using the factor scores. One pattern that emerged quite clearly, however, was that sixth graders had positive views of their school climate and eighth graders had quite negative views. This is borne out in the publis hed literature (Morse, Anderson, Christenson, & Lehr, 2004; Whitloc k, 2003). Only two factors appear to predict school connectedness: age and, to a lesser extent, th e sex of the student. The relationship between school connectedness and sex is inconsistent across studies while the relationship between age and school connect edness is quite consis tent and persistent: the older youth are, the less connected they feel to school (Whitlock). Research question 6 Research Question 6: Do the independent variables perception of school climate variables and school membership have a significant relationship with students reporting being involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? According to the multiple regression an alysis in which being bullied was the outcome variable, being male, being in grad es sixth and seventh, being in schools 0 and 3, reporting negative feelings a bout relationships with teache rs and adults at the school,

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127reporting a greater sense of worry, and repor ting negative feelings about relationships with peers were all significant predictors of being a victim of bullying. As discussed previously, being male and be ing in younger grades have been found to be predictors of bullying in published research. School membership also was important in the model. School 0 had the highest levels of bullying re ported, and this school is the most different school on the list of schools: the highest number of minority students, the lowest school performance scores, and the highest percenta ge of students on a free or reduced price lunch program. School 3, however, does not stand out for any apparent reason. The school observations and the teacher focus gr oup responses would have been helpful in perhaps elucidating possible reasons for this result. Alternatively, discussing the results with staff at school 3 may also elucid ate possible reasons for the finding. Students perceptions regarding school cl imate were correlated with self-reported bullying victimization. Student s that reported being bullied also tended to report negative feelings about their relationships with t eachers, more sense of worry, and negative feelings about their peer rela tionships. Because this study is cross sectional, it is not possible to say that the negativ e school climate perceptions caused bullying victimization or vice-versa. However, similar findings have been reported in the l iterature. Victims of bullies tend to be socially anxious (Juvone n, Graham, & Schuster, 2003). The victims also report lower levels of sa tisfaction with relationships w ith teachers and adults at the school and with peers, possibly as a result of being bullied (Espelage, Holt, & Henkel, 2003; Pellegrini, 2002; Rodkin et al., 2000).

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128 For the multiple regression analysis in which bullying aggression was the outcome variable, being male, being in the si xth and eighth grade, being in schools 0 and 3, reporting negative feeling a bout relationships with teac hers, reporting less sense of worry, and reporting positive feelings about relati onships with peers were associated with increased reports of bullying aggression. Si milar results have been found in previous studies. Students involved in bullying have a high level of social acceptance by other children (Mynard & Joseph, 1997). In one Canadian study, researchers found that reduced bullying behavior was linked to pos itive teacher relationships (Boyce, 2004). Psychological research has debunked several mi sconceptions associated with bullying, including one that states bullies are usually the most unpopular students in school. A study by Rodkin et al., (2000) involving f ourth-through-sixth-grade boys found that highly aggressive boys may be among the mo st popular and socially connected children in elementary classrooms, as viewed by thei r fellow students and even their teachers. Another misconception is that the tough and a ggressive bullies are basically anxious and insecure individuals who use bullying as a m eans of compensating for poor self-esteem. Using a number of different methods includ ing projective tests and stress hormones, Olweus and others have conc luded that there is no support for such a view (Olweus, 1993). Most bullies had average or better th an average self-est eem (Bjrkvist, 2001; Olweus, 1978; Olweus, 1993). Research question 7 Research Question 7: Does the combined effect of the independent variables school climate variables and school membersh ip explain the observed variation in students reporting being invol ved in bullying at all?

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129 School membership does have an eff ect on student reported involvement in bullying. School 0 had the second highest enrolment number and the highest number of Non-White students. It is in this school the highest numbe r of predictor variables are statistically significant. Grad e level is not a significant pred ictor at school 6. Being in the sixth grade, however, is associated with bullying behaviors in schools 3 and 4. The one predictor variable that remains constant throughout the schools is the perceptions of peer relationships. Perceptions of peer rela tionships are positive for bullies and negative for victims. The results obtained from the multiple regression analyses are summarized in table 19. Table 19. Summary of Predictors Associated with Bullying Victimization and Aggression Obtained from Multiple Regre ssion Analyses Conducted by School School Victim Aggressor 0 Boy White Negative perception of teacher relationships Negative perception of peer relationships High worry Boy Non-White Negative perception of teacher relationships Positive perception of peer relationships Low worry 1 High worry Negative perception of peer relationships Low worry Positive perceptions of peer relationships. 3 Sixth grade Negative perception of peer relationships High worry Sixth grade Positive perception of peer relationships Low worry 4 Boy Sixth grade Negative perception of peer relationships High worry Boy Sixth grade Positive perception of peer relationships Low worry 6 Boy Negative perception of teacher relationships Negative perception of peer relationships High worry Boy Negative perception of teacher relationships Positive perception of peer relationships Low worry 7 High levels of ambiguity, unpredictability Negative perception of peer relationships High worry Low levels of ambiguity, unpredictability Positive perception of peer relationships Low worry

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130To further analyze the differences obser ved between schools, the researcher conducted multilevel analyses using school le vel variables obtained from a Florida Department of Educations School Accountabil ity Report. Not surprisingly, the between school variation was not great. According Br onfenbrenners ecological theory, it is not the environment itself that affects behavior, bu t students perceptions of that environment. This is important, because it accounts for w hy two students in similar environments may exhibit radically different be haviors (Thomas, 1996). Furt hermore, these schools were quite similar to each other, with the excep tion of school 0, reduci ng the researchers ability to observe effects of school level differences on student behaviors. The one school-level variable that was significant in the full multilevel model was the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. This variable is most likely a proxy of low-income status. Additionally, schools wi th a high percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, are also sc hools where students are less homogeneous. One characteristic that res earchers have found affects bully ing is perceived differences: The perception of difference is at the root of teasing and bullying among young children. Almost any perceived difference gender, race, ethnicity, language, social class, disability, sex can become fodder for hurtful words and actions (Froschl and Gropper, 1999, p. 73). Research question 8 Research question 8: Does gender modify the observed effects of independent variables on students reporting i nvolvement in bullying at all, as a bully or as victim?

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131 Sex was significantly associated with bullying behavior, with boys engaging in higher amounts of bullying behavior than girls. Because of the potential influence of gender on the associations test ed, the researcher examined the extent to which gender modified these relationships. That is, regression models incl uded the main effect of the predictor variable (e.g., rela tionship with teachers and adults) and sex and sex by relationship with teachers and adults (e.g, sex x anger) interaction term. Sex was a significant modifier of percepti on of relationships with teachers, grade membership, and ethnicity. Girls that report more positive relationships with teachers and adults at the school are less likely to re port bullying. Also, girl s in seventh grade are more likely to report engaging in bullying than girls in eighth grade. Most research looking at the effects of sex or gender on bu llying have focused on the prevalence of different types of bullying, with most studies pointing to girls us ing social forms of relational bullying. The findings of this current study suggest that girls are more likely to experience relational bullying, at least as victims, but also indicates th at how girls interact with teachers and other adults at the school has an impact on their bullying aggression. Also, younger girls are more likely to engage in bullying than older girl s. This indicates that there may be a critical grade level in which schools should address bullying among female students. Among boys, Non-White students are less lik ely to engage in bullying aggression than students that self-report being white. On ly a few studies have looked at the role of ethnicity or race on bullying, and this area of research warrants further investigation. Nansel and colleagues (2001) f ound that Hispanic students re ported bullying others more than White or Black students, whereas Black students reported being bullied significantly

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132more that White or Hispanic students. In another study, Graham and Juvonen (2002) found that Black and Hispanic students were mo re likely to be named as aggressive. It appears that the prevalence of bullying with re spect to ethnicity is less important than understanding how ethnic character istic are part of the bullyi ng harassment itself. This current study does not shed light on this pa rticular issue, but suggests that this phenomenon is more predominant in male that female students. Limitations and Strengths Several limitations lend caution to interpre tation of the findings. First, the data were from student self-reports. Corroborating data from other informants (e.g., teachers, parents, or other students) w ould have made the findings more robust. However, several studies have reported that bullying behavior s occur in locations (e.g., bathroom, school bus) and at times in which adult supervis ion is limited or nonexistent (Bosworth, Espelage, & Simon, 1999; Kikka wa, 1987). For example, Kikkawa found in a sample of secondary school teachers in Japan, that it wa s difficult for teachers to notice bullying in the classroom because bullying activities were often subtle and indirect. The researcher sought to mitigate this limitation by includi ng a question regarding how carefully the questions had been read and a question regard ing the veracity of the responses. The literature suggests that these types of questions are useful in reducing the problem of exaggerated or untruthful responses (Corne ll & Loper, 1998; Furl ong & Morrison, 1994). Second, the data presented in this pape r were cross-secti onal, allowing for a snapshot of these behaviors and thus preclud ing any statement about the stability or instability of bullying behavior over time or the directionality or causality of the associations tested.

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133 Third, bullying was measured in terms of be havior in the past thirty days. Thus, the systematic or chronic nature of bullyi ng behaviors was not asse ssed. The researcher attempted to address this caveat by crea ting composite bullyin g victimization and bullying aggression scores. In this manner, the scores ranged from zero (never bullying or having been bullied) to 25 (having been bulli ed or bullying in all categories of bullying activities at a high frequency). Fourth, although the researcher originally sought the participa tion of all students in the six schools, since the sixth and eighth grade students were scheduled to participate in another survey at the same time, only about half of the sixth and eighth grade students took the modified middle school YRBS. Al so, students with l earning or reading disabilities would have found understandi ng and completing the survey nearly impossible, and were excluded from the analys is. During the pretesting of the survey, the researcher had th e opportunity to meet with st udents from some of the middle schools, and at this time, the researcher de termined that there might be students that would be unable to complete the survey una ssisted and would ther efore most likely not be represented in the study. Thus, it is highly probable that some of the students at the greatest risk for bullying and particularly fo r being bullied may be under-represented in the sample. Finally, the context in which these beha viors were exhibited was not explored. For example, teasing was included as bullyin g behavior; however, in certain contexts teasing might be a common part of socia lization. Although the researcher used a definition of bullying to place the behaviors in to context, nonetheless it is possible that students forgot the definition as they answered the questions or that, given a definition of

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134bullying, students may have felt uncomfortable describing their beha viors towards others as bullying. Despite the limitations discussed, the cu rrent study extends the body of literature on bullying in several ways. First, the meas urement of bullying in this study differed from previous conceptualizations of bullyi ng behavior as a dichotomy (yes or no). Studies that dichotomize bu llying behaviors focus on the ends of the continuum by excluding students who report low and modera te levels of bullying behavior or by collapsing participants into categories of students who are more or less extreme on a bullying scale. Categorizing students in th at way results in redu ced precision in the measurement of bullying behavior. Second, measures used to assess bullying required participants to report the fr equency with which they did or said certain things (e.g., teasing, pushing) to other stude nts rather than asking partic ipants to report how much they bullied others. It was assumed that students were more truthful about their behavior toward others when they were not given the value-laden definition of bullying. Finally, in contrast to previous investig ations of bullying an d aggression, this study attempted to take an ecological approach that took into account how the individual perception of the school environment affected bullying victimization and aggression. Recommendations for Future Research After reviewing the results of this st udy, the following recommendations are made for future research: 1. Future studies should include a vari ety of different schools. This middle school sample is not representative of other middle school populations in Florida. The possibility exists that the levels of bully ing differ among other middle school populations.

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135Sarasota Countys schools are fairly homoge neous, so replicating the study across middle schools in different counties may lead to grea ter variation in the schools and the schools student composition, which would allow research ers to ascertain how student and school differences affect bullying behaviors. 2. Researchers should take into account other types of emerging bullying types, such as Internet and text messaging bullying (so-called high tech bullying) (Butterfield, 2006) as well as other non-verbal behaviors such as staring daggers or death stares (Owens, Shute, & Slee, 2004). 3. Future studies should follow a prosp ective research desi gn, beginning in sixth grade and following students through their middle school e xperience. This type of longitudinal study may allow for establishing the stability or instabil ity of bullying rates as well as the directionality of the associations tested. 4. Future studies should expand the school climate factors studies. Every attempt should be made to complete the school pr ofile, expanded to include teacher ethnicity data, and to conduct teacher and staff focus groups. Obtaining this information would require a real buy-in from the school district and from the ad ministration of every school involved. 5. Future studies should conduct additional analyses of the data to determine if other variables such as academic performance that have been found to be associated with school connectedness are a ssociated with bullying. 6. Future studies should expand the parame ters of the variable s sought to include more information on the family environment. Little research has been conducted on the

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136familial characteristics of bullies and their victims. However, some investigations have found significant associations between parenting types and bullying (Olweus, 1993). 7. Future studies should conduct sc hool bullying studi es seeking more information on the surrounding community. If this study had been conducted in different schools, in different school district s, differences among the communities and neighborhoods may have come into play. The impact of the larger social milieu of the community most likely affects both how st udents perceive school climate and their bullying behaviors. These differences would ha ve implications on how to best create and deliver anti-bullying interventions. Implications for School Health The debate on bullying is currently very in teresting for those involved with health promotion in schools. There is still a de gree of disagreement over the nature and definition of the problem. Many psychologist s for example, are attempting to define bullying as a mental health issue, and thus are focusing on characteristics of the individual student, such as de pression and self esteem, to explain the behavior (Delfabro et al., 2006; Mynard & Joseph, 1997). Although some aspects of bullying probably can and should be addressed as mental health issues, for schools, taking an ecological approach to the problem of bullying makes more sense. Schools can then focus on drafting anti-bullyi ng and safe school policies an d creating supportive social environments. From an ecological perspectiv e, bullying is a school organization issue, a teacher professional development issue, a resource and budget issue, and across the school policy issue, a social/relationship i ssue, a home-school link issue, and even possibly an architectural issue. Addressing the problem of bullying from an ecological

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137perspective thus allows for teachers, peers, parents, and members of the community to be part of the solution. Furthermore, a holistic approach to bullying will likely have other positive impacts such as improved school connectedness, improved academic performace, and increased graduation rates. An additional implication for middle school health is that the problem of bullying is already present in the sixth grade. The problem of bullying is not as readily apparent in at this grade level as demonstrated by the results of the teacher interviews, in which teachers expressed the belief that bullyi ng was most prevalent among eighth grade students. Ideally, to amerio late the problem of bullying among sixth graders, the school system should be addressing bullying at th e elementary school level. Additionally, middle schools could institute a middle schoo l orientation session during which focus could be placed on building positive peer re lationships among incoming students. Peerled programs should be avoided, since the dang er exists that the more popular bullies may end up in the positions of peer leaders. In spite of limited evaluations that indicate that these programs are ineffective, peer-l ed programs have become popular in schools (Department of Health and Human Services, 200 1; Elliott, 1998). One peer-led program currently used in a Florida county is the Ophe lia Project. This program currently has not been evaluated and relies on testimonials to demonstrate its effectiveness (Ophelia Project, 2006). Instead of selecting popular programs, schools should seek to implement programs that have been evaluated, and a good resource for finding some of these programs is the Substance Abuse and Ment al Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA) Model Programs Web site. An example of a program that has been evaluated and has been widely used is th e Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, which

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138has three components: a school-wide com ponent, a class-level element, and an individual-level sec tion (SAMHSA, 2006). Another implication for school health is the need to look at the bullying problem among girls. Most of the original bullying research focused on boys (Olweus, 1993). Girls in middle school experien ce bullying, and for them the problem appears to peak in the seventh grade. Programs designed to a ddress specific issues f acing adolescent girls, especially if implemented before these girl s reach middles school, ma y help schools deal with the problem of middle school bullying proactively. Implications for Public Health Bullying has negative short-term and l ong-term consequences. Among victims, there is a three-fold increased likelihood of having missed whole days of school due to fear (Epidemiology, Planning, and Evaluati on Unit of Seattle & King County Public Health, 2002). For victims, bullying is asso ciated with frequent changing of school, increased likelihood of dropping out altogether, loneliness, soci al isolation, and has even been linked with increased suicidal thought s and attempts (Cohn & Carter, 2003; Olweus, 1993). Finally, among victims, bullying has been linked with rage and, in rare cases with other contributing factors, homicide (Tweml ow, 2003). For the bull y, bullying also has negative consequences. Olweus (1993) reports a four-fold increase of future criminal behavior. Bullying is also associated with poor academic achievement and increased likelihood of drug-use and other self-enda ngering behavior (N ansel et al, 2001). Not only can bullying have far-reaching effects on children, bullying behaviors have no single cause. In fact studies show that the probl em is generally triggered by something at home in the childs environmen t (Bosch & DeFrain, 2003). Given that the

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139source of some of the problem is outside the sc hools scope of influence, a more systemic approach is needed to help children affected by bullying. Bullying prevention endeavors will benef it from collaborative policy development and school initiatives on bullying preventi on. What these policies should be and who best to target with interv entions, however, is not always clear. The prevalence and distribution of bullying in sc hools is often underestimated or misjudged. For example, in this study school staff believed th at physical and verbal bully ing were the most prevalent forms of bullying among sixth graders, a nd relational bullying was most common among eighth graders. However, analysis of the data revealed that sevent h graders reported the highest levels of physical a nd verbal victimization and th e highest levels of physical aggression. Devising policy with informati on from the children themselves may help ensure that the best outcomes for health are secured. Bullying is ge nerally managed as an issue detracting from the core purpose of th e school learning; however schools and the health of children may benefit from viewi ng patterns of bullying and victimization as a threat to health status and future wellbe ing. When looking at bullying in this wider context, schools cannot be expected to act al one, and the field of public health, with its reliance on a research-based epidemiologic ap proach, has the expert ise to address the problem.

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164 Appendices

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165 Appendix A School Profile Information Obtained from Principal or Administrator Responses 1. Name of Middle School 2. Enrollment 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade 3. Average Class Size 4. Number of Teaching Faculty 5. Numbers of Non-teaching Faculty 6. Organization for Instruction Emphasis placed on a special subject (yes or no) If yes, name subject Use of streaming (yes or no) Number of special education classes. 7. Facility Number of buildings Number of classrooms Number of portable classrooms 8. Teacher Mix : Number of teach ing faculty with 5 or fewer years of experience 9. Teacher Turnover : Number of teaching faculty with 5 or more y ears of experience in the same school setting. If school is less that 5 years old, then write not applicable. 10. Teacher Gender Ratio Number of male teachers Number of female teachers 11. Student Gender Ratio Number of 6 graders that are female Number of 7 graders that are female Number of 8 graders that are female. 12. Number of substitute days since the beginning of the year. 13 Bullying prevention : Have there been any bullying prevention programs, events, or activities in the following academic years: 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 14. Does your school have a formal policy regarding bullying? (yes or no) 15. If your school has a formal policy regarding bullying, is it in the parent/school handbook? Please feel free to elaborate on previous questions or provide additional information that would be helpful in our study. Thank you!

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166 Appendix B Bronfenbrenners Ecological System Model Applied to a Classroom System

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167 Appendix C Sarasota County Profile Population Population size 329,000 Percent of population that is female 53% Median age 49.5 years Percent of population under age 18 17% Percent of population 65 years and older 30% Race/Ethnicity Percent reporting White alone 93% Percent reporting African American or Black 5% Percent reporting American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.5% Percent reporting Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander 0.5% Percent reporting some other race 2% Percent reporting two or more races 1% Percent reporting Hispanic 5% Household Information Number of households 150,000 Average household size 2.19 Percent of Households that are families 66% Percent of households that are not families 34% Nationality Foreign born 11% Native 89% Languages Spoke a language other than English at home 10% Of those that spoke another language at home, reported speaking Spanish 39% Of those that spoke another language at home, reported speaking other 61% Leading industries in Sarasota County, employing population 16 years and older Educational, health, an d social services 17% Retail 17% Professional and business services 12% Leisure and hospitality 11% Finance, insurance, and real estate 10% Most common Occupations Sales and office 33% Management, professional, and related 29% Service 21% Production, transportation, and material moving 10% Construction, extraction, and maintenance 7% Income Median household income 40,715 Households receiving income from earnings 62% Households receiving retirement income other than Social Security 32% Households receiving Soci al Security income 45%

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168 Appendix D Sarasota Public Middle School Grade Profiles 2003 Middle School ABCDE F GSchool Grade 0 4846805863 59 99C 1 6769866672 65 98A 3 6765936769 70 99A 4 5158865769 57 97N* 6 8179957273 78 100A 7 6664897067 76 99A A Percent meeting high standards in reading B Percent meeting high standards in math C Percent meeting high standards in writing D Percent making gains in reading E Percent making gains in math F Percent of lowest 25% maki ng learning gains in reading G Percent tested N* No grade Florida Department of Education. (2004). School accountability report: Middle schools Sarasota County. In School Accountability Reports Tallahassee, FL: Author. Retrieved May 13, 2006, from http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/0203/school_grades.cfm

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169 Appendix E School Profiles Middle School Enrollment Suspension Rate % Absent 21+ days % Eligible Lunch Program % minority School 0 1289 18.210.564.9 63 School 1 1354 7.114.031.4 19 School 3 1110 4.712.634.10 19 School 4 1312 9.813.246 16 School 6 1327 3.78.517 10 School 7 705 15.511.111.1 7 Florida Department of Education. (2004). School accountability report: Middle schools Sarasota County. In School Accountability Reports Tallahassee, FL: Author. Retrieved May 13, 2006, from http://www.firn.edu/ doe/evaluation/schact98/d58mp01.htm

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170 Appendix F Tagiuris Organizational Model Applied to School Climate Categories (Climate Dimensions) Related Variable Physical and material environment School building characteristics, school size, class size, use of portable classrooms Social milieu (social aspects including individual and group characteristics) Student and teacher morale, characteristics of the student body; characteristics of teaching faculty Social system ( patterns of relationships or interactions that exist between individuals or groups or both) Formal and non-formal relations between principals, teachers and students. Principalteacher relationship; teacher-teacher relationship; teacher-student relationship; parent-school relationship; teachers involvement in decision making. Culture ( values, belief system, trust cognitive structure and meanings) Values, norms and trust, teachers commitment, group and team work, teacher expectation, academic achievement, discipline, rewardpunishment system, school regulation. Tagiuri, R. (1968). The concept of organizational climate. In R. Tagiuri & G. H. Litwin (Eds.), Organizational climate: Exploration of a concept (pp. 11-32). Boston, MA: Harvard University Press, Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration.

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171 Appendix G Research Questions Research Questions YRBS-M Questions Data Analysis 1. What is the prevalence of bullying in the sample? Questions 14-23 Descriptive statistics 2. What type of bullying occurs most frequently (physical, verbal, relational)? Questions 14-23 Descriptive statistics 3. Are there differences in type of bullying or victimization as a function of school, gender, or grade? Questions 14-23 What school do you go to? Questions 5 and 6 What is your sex? Question 2 In what grade are you? Question 3 Bi-variate Statistics ChiSquare 4. What are the perceptions of school climate among sixth and eighth graders? Questions 70-94 Descriptive statistics 5. Are there differences in school climate perception as a function of school, gender, or grade? Questions 70-94 What school do you go to? Questions 5 and 6 What is your sex? Question 2 In what grade are you? Question 3 Bi-variate Statistics ChiSquare One-Way ANOVA 6. Do the independent variables of school climate and school have a significant relationship with students reporting being involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? Independent variables: Questions 70-94 OR What school do you go to? Questions 5 and 6 Dependent variables: Questions 14-23 Multiple regression analysis 7. Does the combined effect of the independent variables school climate by school explain the observed variation in students reporting being involved in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? Independent variables: Questions 70-94 AND What school do you go to? Questions 5 and 6 AND What grade are you in? Question 3 Dependent variables: Questions 14-23 Multiple regression analysis by school Multilevel analysis 8. Does gender modify the observed effects of independent variables on students reporting involvement in bullying at all, as a bully or as a victim? Independent variables: Questions 70-94 AND What school do you go to? What is your sex? Dependent variables: Questions 14-23 Multiple regression analysis Multilevel analysis

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172 Appendix H School Board of Sarasota County Consent Forms

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173 Appendix H (Continued)

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174 Appendix I Teacher/Staff Focus Group Moderators Guide Bullying & School Climate Introduction Hello. My name is Irene Pintado and Im the moderator for todays group discussion. ____________ will be taking notes. We appreciate your taking the time to participate in this discussion that is part of a study being conducted as part of a research project. The goal of the study is to learn how school climat e and peer bullying are related. This discussion is one of a series being held with teachers in 5 middle schools in Sarasota County. We want to learn about peer bullying in your schools and the factors that either support or interfere with it. Before we get started, here are some ground rules and points of information: Disclosures 1. Confidentiality. Everything that you say here will be kept strictly confidential. Nothing said in this group will ever be associated with any individual by name. We would also ask that you similarly maintain the confidentiality of what is said in the group. Neither will schools be named in any reports. 2. Voluntary Participation Your participation in this gr oup is entirely voluntary. You may stop participating or withdraw from the group at any time. You do not have to answer any questions that you do not wish to answer. The consent forms provide more detailed information regarding confidentiality and the vol untary nature of participation. If you havent already done so, please sign the consent form and p ass it to __________. 3. Audio-taping. This session is being taped so that we can write an accurate report about the issues that are raised during the discussion not of who said what. If there are any objections we will not tape the session. We can also st op the tape during the discussion if necessary. 4. Thanks. Thank you for arranging your schedule to be here for this session today. We appreciate your time and your contributions to this study. The following are ground rules about how the discussion should work: Ground Rules 1. Please talk one at a time in a voice as loud as mine. 2. Avoid side conversations with your neighbors. 3. We would like to hear from everyone in the course of the discussion, but you dont have to answer every question.

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175 Appendix I (Continued) 4. Feel free to respond directly to someone who has made a point. You dont have to address your comments to me. 5. Say what is true for you and your school. We are not looking for consensus opinions, but are expecting to hear diverse perspectives. Group Introductions: Please introduce yourself to the group and tell us: Your name and grade(s) you teach How long you have been a teacher How long you have been a teacher at this school Part I. School Climate A. General Characteristics of Schools with Positive School Climate Lets begin by talking about what a positive school climate means to you. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term positive school climate? In general, how important is the physical environment (school buildings, bulletin boards, lighting, etc.) in establishing a positive school climate? How important are teacher-student interactions in establishing a school climate? In general, how important are student-student interactions in establishing a school climate? How important is parental i nvolvement to school climate? Having clearly states rules and clearly stat ed consequences to breaking those rules? Now we will discuss school climate characteristics in your school. B. School Climate Characteristics of Your School What aspects of your schools physical environmen t have a positive effect on how students feel about being school? In your opinion, are there any aspects of the schools physical environment that have a negative effect What kinds of activities or programs does the school engage in to create an inviting school climate for students? Schoolwide? In your own classrooms? How would you rate the student-teacher relationshi p at this school? Give it a letter grade. What factors did you consider to come up with this grade? In what areas of the student-teacher relationship does the school excel? In what areas of the student-teacher relationship could the school improve? How do you think your students would rate the student-teacher relationship at this school? What in your experience leads you to say this? Do you think that students in different grade leve ls feel differently about the student-teacher relationship? 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade

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176 Appendix I (Continued) If there is a difference, why? Do you think that girls and boy would feel differe ntly about the student teacher relationship? Why? Would there be any cultural differences? Would students from different ethnic groups feel differently? Why? How would you rate the student-student relations hip at this school? Give it a letter grade. What factors did you consider to come up with this grade? Would you say that students at this school have a more cooperative or a more competitive/adversarial relationship? How do students from different grades interact with each other? Same grade students interact with each other? How do you think your students would rate the student-student relationship at this school? Why Do you think that students in different grade leve ls feel differently about the student-student relationship? Why? Do you think that boys and girls would feel differently about the student-student relationship? Why? Would there be cultural differences in how stude nts rate peer relationships at this school? Why? Do you feel that students worry about rules at school and not knowing what is expected? Do you think that grade level affects how students feel about rules and not knowing what is expected? Why? How would your students rate the clarity of the schools rules and consequences? Give it a letter grade. Explain. The next are questions about how your students feel about their role of students. What aspects of schoolwork do you feel that your students worry most about? Is it tests, homework, giving presentations in class, reports, etc.? Do the worries change as students get promoted from one grade level to another? How would you rate parent involvement at your school? Give it a letter grade. What factors did you consider to come up with this grade ? Do you have specific goals for parent involvement in your schools? How close are your schools to meeting those goals? Can you provide some examples of specific activ ities or events that parents are typically involved in at your schools? How involved are the parents? Do more th an half the parents typically come to school-sponsored events? Overall, how would you rate the school climate at your school? Please give it a letter grade.

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177 Appendix I (Continued) Part II. Bullying Does you school have a stated policy on bullying among students? What are the rules regarding bullying? What happens if a student bullies another? What has been your personal experience with students bullying other students at this school? Is there a particular type of student that gets bullied? Do you feel that bullying is an issue that students in this school are concerned about? Do you think that bullying is an issue that parent s of students at this school are concerned about? Do you think that bullying is an issue at this school? Have there been any anti-bullying programs or other programs that have addressed bullying or peer victimization at this school? Part III. Closing Person writing the notes gives a recap Did we miss anything? Is there anything you would like to add? We really appreciate all the information youve shared with us today. Thank you very much for your time.

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178 Appendix I (Continued) Demographic Survey Perceptions of School Climate and Bullying in Middle Schools Name of the school where you teach Grade level(s) you currently teach: ____ ____________ _____ Subject(s) you currently teach: _______ _______________ How many years of teaching experience do you have (at any school)? How many years have you taught at the current school? ________________________________________________________________ What is your sex? [ ] 1. male [ ] 2. female What age range would you say you best fall in? [ ] 1. 15-20 [ ] 2. 21-30 [ ] 3. 31-40 [ ] 4. 41-50 [ ] 5. 51 and above How would you describe your ethnicity? [ ] 1. Hispanic or Latino [ ] 2. Not Hispanic or Latino How would you describe your race? Select one or more. [ ] 1. American Indian or Alaska Native [ ] 2. Asian [ ] 3. Black or African American [ ] 4. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander [ ] 5. White

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179 Appendix J Physical Environmental School Checklist Perceptions of School Climate and Bullying in Middle Schools Physical Characteristics Observations Entrance area Pathways and promenades Centralized locations of administration Circulation Patterns Display of Student Work Lighting Window views Green Areas Interior Colors Graffiti Litter Furniture Condition Furniture Arrangement

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180 Appendix K Student Perceptions of School Climate Concept Questions in YRBS-M SC1 My teachers expect th at students treat each other with respect. (Question 70) SC2 Teachers at this school are not interested in people like me. (Question 71) SC 3 My teachers take the time to listen to me when I have a problem. (Question 72) SC4 My teachers treat stud ents fairly. (Question 73) SC5 My teachers give help in class when I ask for it. (Question 74) SC6 There is at least one teacher or adult at this school I can talk with if I have a problem. (Question 75) SC7 My teachers talk to me in a friendly way. (Question 76) SC8 Teachers here respect me. (Question 77) SC15 There are clear rules at our school. (Question 84) Relationship with Teachers SC16 I can count on the adults at this school to listen to me. (Question 85) SC12 I know most of the students in my classes. (Question 81) SC14 There are clear consequences for breaking the rules at school. (Question 83) Predictability Sense of Ambiguity SC9 I worry about not making friends at school. (Question 78) Worries about student/adolescent roles SC18 I worry about failing at school. (Question 87) SC10 Students in my classes help one another when they need it. (Question 79) SC11 Student in my classes get along with each other. (Question 80) Relationships with Peers SC13 I get along with other students at this school. (Question 82) SC21 People here notice when I am good at something. (Question 90) SC23 I wish I were at a different school. (Question 92) SC24 I can really be myself at this school. (Question 93) Sense of Belonging SC25 I feel like a part of this school. (Question 94) SC 17 I work hard on homework for my classes. (Question 86) SC19 My parents/guardians know whats going on in my classes this year. (Question 88) SC20 My parents/guardians know they can take part in school-related events such as pa rent nights and field trips. (Question 89) Home/School (mesosystem) SC22 I participate in after school activities at this school. (Question 91)

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181 Appendix L Bully/Victim Questions Survey respondent as the victim: Verbal During the past 30 days, how many times did another student tease or call you names? (Question 14) During the past 30 days, how many times did another student threaten to hit or hurt you? (Question 15) Relational During the past 30 days, how many times did another student spread rumors about you? (Question 16) During the past 30 days, how many times did another student not let you join in what they were doing? (Question 17) Physical During the past 30 days, how many times did another student push, shove, slap, hit, or kick you on purpose? (Question 18) Survey respondent as the aggressor: Verbal During the past 30 days, how many times did you tease or call another student names? (Question 19) During the past 30 days, how many times did you threaten to hit or hurt another student? (Question 20) Relational During the past 30 days, how many times did you spread rumors about another student? (Question 21) During the past 30 days, how many times did you keep another student from joining in what you were doing? (Question 22) Physical During the past 30 days, how many times did you push, shove, slap, hit, or kick another student on purpose? (Question 18)

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182 Appendix M Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2003 MIDDLE SCHOOL QUESTIONNAIRE This survey is about health behavior. It has been developed so you can tell us what you do that may affect your health. The informati on you give will be used to develop better health education for young people like yourself. DO NOT write your name on this survey. The answ ers you give will be kept private. No one will know what you write. Answer th e questions based on what you really do. Completing the survey is volunt ary. Whether or not you answ er the questions will not affect your grade in this cla ss. If you are not comfortable answering a question, just leave it blank. The questions that ask about your background will be used only to describe the types of students completing this survey. The information will NOT be used to find out your name. No names will ever be reported. Make sure to read every question. Use a #2 pencil only. Fill in the ovals completely. When you are finished, follow the inst ructions of the person giving you the survey. Thank you very much for your help.

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183 Appendix M (Continued) 1. How old are you? A. 10 years old or younger B. 11 years old C. 12 years old D. 13 years old E. 14 years old F. 15 years old G. 16 years old or older 2. What is your sex? A. Female B. Male 3. In what grade are you? A. 6th grade B. 7th grade C. 8th grade 4. How do you describe yourself? A. American Indian or Alaska Native B. Asian C. Black or African American D. Hispanic or Latino E. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander F. White 5. What school do you go to? A. School 1 B. School 2 C. School 3 D. School 4 E. School 5 F. School 6 G. School 7 H. School 8 I. School 9

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184 Appendix M (Continued) 6. What school do you go to? A. School 10 B. School 11 C. School 12 D. School 13 E. School 14 The next 17 questions ask about personal safety and violence-related behaviors. 7. How often do you wear a seat belt when riding a car? A. Never B. Rarely C. Sometimes D. Most of the time E. Always 8. When you ride a bicycle, how often do you wear a helmet? A. I do not ride a bicycle B. Never wear a helmet C. Rarely wear a helmet D. Sometimes wear a helmet E. Most of the time wear a helmet F. Always wear a helmet 9. When you rollerblade or ride a sk ateboard, how often do you wear a helmet? A. I do not rollerblade or ride a skateboard B. Never wear a helmet C. Rarely wear a helmet D. Sometimes wear a helmet E. Most of the time wear a helmet F. Always wear a helmet 10. Have you ever ridden in a car dr iven by someone who had been drinking alcohol? A. Yes B. No C. Not sure

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185 Appendix M (Continued) 11. Have you ever carried a weapon, su ch as a gun, knife, or club to school? A. Yes B. No 12. Have you ever been in a physical fight at school? A. Yes B. No 13. Have you ever been in a physical fight at school in which you were hurt and had to be treated by a doctor or nurse? A. Yes B. No DID YOU KNOW? Definition of Bullying : Bullying is anything from teas ing, saying mean things, writing mean notes, or leaving someone out of th e group, to physical atta cks (hitting, pushing, kicking) where one person or a group of people picks on another person over and over again. Kids who are bullied have a hard time defending themselves. The next 10 questions ask about bullying at school during the last 30 days 14. During the 30 days, how many times did another st udent tease or call you names ? (BULLIED1) A. never B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times

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186 Appendix M (Continued) 15. During the 30 days, how many times did another stude nt threaten to hit or hurt you? (BULLIED2) A. 0 times B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times 16. During the 30 days, how many times did another student spread rumors about you? (BULLIED3) A. 0 times B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times 17. During the 30 days, how many times did other students not let you join in what they were doing? (BULLIED4) A. 0 times B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times 18. During the 30 days, how many times did another st udent push, shove, slap, hit, or kick you on purpose? (BULLIED5) A. 0 times B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times 19. During the 30 days, how many times did you tease or call another student names? (BULLY1) A. 0 times B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times

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187 Appendix M (Continued) 20. During the 30 days, how many times did you threaten to hit or hurt another student? (BULLY2) A. 0 times B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times 21. During the 30 days, how many times did you spread rumors about another student? (BULLY3) A. 0 times B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times 22. During the 30 days, how many times did you keep an other student from joining in what you were doing? (BULLY 4) A. 0 days B. 1 or 2 days C. 3 to 5 days D. 6 to 9 days E. 10 or more times 23. During the 30 days, how many times did you push, shove, slap, hit, or kick another student on purpose? (BULLY 5) A. 0 times B. 1 or 2 times C. 3 to 5 times D. 6 to 9 times E. 10 or more times The next 3 questions ask about attempted suicide. Sometimes people feel so depressed about the future that they may consider attempting suicide or killing themselves 24. Have you ever seriously thought about killing yourself? A. Yes B. No

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188 Appendix M (Continued) 25. Have you ever made a plan about how you would kill yourself? A. Yes B. No 26. Have you ever tried to kill yourself? A. Yes B. No The next 10 questions ask about tobacco use. 27. Have you ever tried cigarette smoking, even one or two puffs? A. Yes B. No 28. How old were you when you smoked a whole cigarette for the first time? A. I have never smoked a whole cigarette B. 8 years old or younger C. 9 years old D. 10 years old E. 11 years old F. 12 years old G. 13 years old H. 14 years old or older 29. During the past 30 days, have you smoked cigarettes even one or two puffs? A. Yes B. No 30. During the past 30 days, on how many days did you smoke cigarettes? A. 0 days B. 1 or 2 days C. 3 to 5 days D. 6 to 9 days E. 10 to 19 days F. 20 to 29 days G. All 30 days

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189 Appendix M (Continued) 31. During the past 30 days, on the days you smoked, how many cigarettes did you smoke per day? A. I did not smoke cigarettes during the past 30 days B. Less than 1 cigarette per day C. 1 cigarette per day D. 2 to 5 cigarettes per day E. 6 to 10 cigarettes per day F. 11 to 20 cigarettes per day G. More than 20 cigarettes per day 32. During the past 30 days, how did you usually get your own cigarettes? (Select only one response) A. I did not smoke cigarettes during the past 30 days B. I bought them in a store, such as a conve nience store, super market, or gas station C. I bought them from a vending machine D. I gave someone else money to buy them for me E. I borrowed (or bummed) them from someone else F. A person 18 years or older gave them to me G. I took them from a store or family member H. I got them some other way 33. When you bought or tried to buy cigarettes in a store during th e past 30 days, were you ever asked to show proof of age? A. I did not try to buy cigarettes in a store during the past 30 days B. Yes, I was asked to show proof of age C. No, I was not asked to show proof of age 34. Have you ever smoked cigarettes daily, that is, at least one ciga rette every day for 30 days? A. Yes B. No 35. During the past 30 days, on how many days did you use chewing tobacco or snuff, such as Redman, Levi Garrett, Beechnut, Skoal Bandits, or Copenhagen? A. 0 days B. 1 or 2 days C. 3 to 5 days D. 6 to 9 days E. 10 to 19 days F. 20 to 29 days G. All 30 days

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190 Appendix M (Continued) 36. During the past 30 days, on how many days did you smoke cigars, cigarillos, or little cigars? A. 0 days B. 1 or 2 days C. 3 to 5 days D. 6 to 9 days E. 10 to 19 days F. 20 to 29 days G. All 30 days The next 4 questions ask about drinking alco hol. This includes drinking beer, wine, wine coolers, and liquor such as rum, gin, vodka, or whiskey. For these questions, drinking alcohol does not include drinking a few sips of wine for religious purposes. 37. Have you ever had a drink of alcohol, other than a few sips? A. Yes B. No 38. How old were you when you had your first dr ink of alcohol other than a few sips? A. I have never had a drink of alcohol other than a few sips B. 8 years old or younger C. 9 years old D. 10 years old E. 11 years old F. 12 years old G. 13 years old H. 14 years old or older 39. In the past 30 days have you had any alcohol to drink? A. Yes B. No 40. In the last year, have you had five or more drinks of alcohol in one day? A. Yes B. No

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191 Appendix M (Continued) The next 2 questions ask about marijuana us e. Marijuana also is called grass or pot. 41. Have you ever used marijuana? A. Yes B. No 42. How old were you when you tried marijuana for the first time? A. I have never tried marijuana B. 8 years old or younger C. 9 years old D. 10 years old E. 11 years old F. 12 years old G. 13 years old H. 14 years old or older The next 4 questions ask about other drug use. 43. Have you ever used any form of cocaine, including powder, crack, or freebase? A. Yes B. No 44. Have you ever sniffed glue, or breathed th e contents of spray cans, or inhaled any paints or sprays to get high? A. Yes B. No 45. Have you ever used drugs or medicine to get high? A. Yes B. No 46. Have you ever used a needle to inject any illegal drug into your body? A. Yes B. No

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192 Appendix M (Continued) The next 7 questions ask about body weight. 47. How do you describe your weight? A. Very underweight B. Slightly underweight C. About the right weight D. Slightly overweight E. Very overweight 48. Which of the following are you trying to do about your weight? A. Lose weight B. Gain weight C. Stay the same weight D. I am not trying to do anything about my weight 49. Have you ever exercised to lose weight or to k eep from gaining weight? A. Yes B. No 50. Have you ever eaten less food, fewer calories, or foods low in fat to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight? A. Yes B. No 51. Have you ever gone without eating for 24 hours or more (also called fasting) to lose weight or to k eep from gaining weight? A. Yes B. No 52. Have you ever taken any diet pills, powders, or liquids without a doctors advice to lose weight or to k eep from gaining weight? (Do not include meal replacement products such as Slim Fast.) A. Yes B. No 53. Have you ever vomited or taken laxatives to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight? A. Yes B. No

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193 Appendix M (Continued) The next 5 questions ask about physical activity. 54. On how many of the past 7 days did you exercise or participate in physical activity for at least 20 minutes that made you sweat and breathe hard, such as basketball, soccer, running, swimming laps, fast bicycling, fast dancing, or similar aerobic activities? A. 0 days B. 1 day A. 2 days D. 3 days E. 4 days F. 5 days G. 6 days H. 7 days 55. On an average school day, how many hours do you watch TV? A. I do not watch TV on an average school day B. Less than 1 hour per day C. 1 hour per day D. 2 hours per day E. 3 hours per day F. 4 hours per day G. 5 or more hours per day 56. Do you play on any sports teams? (In clude any teams run by your school or community groups.) A. Yes B. No 57. Have you ever been injured while exerci sing, playing sports, or being physically active and had to be treated by a doctor or nurse? A. Yes B. No

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194 Appendix M (Continued) The next question asks about AIDS education. 58. Have you ever been taught about AIDS or HIV infection in school? A. Yes B. No C. Not sure The next 4 questions ask about sexual intercourse. 59. Have you ever had sexual intercourse? A. Yes B. No 60. How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time? A. I have never had sexual intercourse B. 8 years old or younger C. 9 years old D. 10 years old E. 11 years old F. 12 years old G. 13 years old H. 14 years old or older 61. With how many people have you ever had sexual intercourse? A. I have never had sexual intercourse B. 1 person C. 2 people D. 3 or more people 62. The last time you had sexual intercourse, did yo u or your partner use a condom? A. I have never had sexual intercourse B. Yes C. No

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195 Appendix M (Continued) The next 2 questions are about health-related behaviors 63. How often do you wear sunscreen or sun block when you are outside for more than an hour? A. Never B. Rarely C. Sometimes D. Most of the time A. Always 64. On an average school day, how many hours do you spend playing video games or using a computer for fun? (Include activ ities such as Nintendo, Game Boy, Play Station, and computer games.) A. I do not play video games or use a computer for fun B. Less than 1 hour C. 1 hour D. 2 hours E. 3 hours F. 4 hours G. 5 hours H. 6 or more hours The next 5 questions are about delinquent behaviors. 65. Since school started this year how many times have you skipped school? A. Never B. 1 time C. 2 times D. 3 times E. More than 3 times 66. Since school started this year how many times have you received an in-school suspension? A. Never B. Once C. 1 time D. 2 times E. More than 3 times

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196 Appendix M (Continued) 67. Since school started this year how many times have you received an out-of-school suspension? A. Never B. 1 time C. 2 times D. 3 times E. More than 3 times 68. During the past 12 months, how often have you shoplifted (stolen something from a store)? A. 0 time B. 1 time C. 2 or 3 times D. 4 or 5 times E. 6 or more times 69. During the past 12 months, have you been a member of a gang? A. Yes B. No The next 27 questions are about your school. 70. My teachers expect that st udents treat each ot her with respect. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 71. Teachers at this school are not interested in people like me. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree

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197 Appendix M (Continued) 72. My teachers take the time to listen to me when I have a problem. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 73. My teachers treat students fairly. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 74. My teachers give help in class when I ask for it. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 75. There is at least one teacher or adult at th is school I can talk with if I have a problem. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 76. My teachers talk to me in a friendly way. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree

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198 Appendix M (Continued) 77. Teachers here respect me. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 78. I worry about not making friends at school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 79. Students in my classes help one another when they need it. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 80. Students in my classes get along with each other. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 81. I know most of the students in my classes. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree

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199 Appendix M (Continued) 82. I get along with other students at this school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 83. There are clear consequences for breaking the rules at school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 84. There are clear ru les at our school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 85. I can count on the adults at this school to listen to me. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 86. I work hard on homework for in my classes A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree

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200 Appendix M (Continued) 87. I worry about failing at school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 88. My parents/guardians know whats going on in my classes this year. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 89. My parents/guardians know they can take part in school-related events such as parent nights and field trips. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 90. People here notice when I am good at something. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 91. I participate in afterschool activities at this school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree

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201 Appendix M (Continued) 92. I wish I were at a different school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 93. I can really be myself at this school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 94. I feel like a part of this school. A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neither Agree nor Disagree D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree 95. Have you been taught about not bullying at school? A. Yes B. No C. Not sure 96. During the past 30 days, how many days did you not go to school because you felt you would be unsafe at school or on your way home from school? A. Never B. 1 day C. 2 or 3 days D. 4 or 5 days E. 6 or more days

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202 Appendix M (Continued) The next 3 questions are about your grades in school. 97. How would you describe the grades you usually get on Math assignments or tests? A. Mostly As B. Mostly As and Bs C. Mostly Bs D. Mostly Bs and Cs E. Mostly Cs F. Mostly Cs and Ds G. Mostly Ds H. Mostly Ds and Fs I. Mostly Fs 98. How would you describe the grades you usually get on English assignments or tests? A. Mostly As B. Mostly As and Bs C. Mostly Bs D. Mostly Bs and Cs E. Mostly Cs F. Mostly Cs and Ds G. Mostly Ds H. Mostly Ds and Fs I. Mostly Fs 99. How would you describe the grades you usually get on Science assignments or tests? A. Mostly As B. Mostly As and Bs C. Mostly Bs D. Mostly Bs and Cs E. Mostly Cs F. Mostly Cs and Ds G. Mostly Ds H. Mostly Ds and Fs I. Mostly Fs

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203 Appendix M (Continued) The next questions ask about your answers on this survey. 100. In general, how often did you tell the truth in answering the questions on this survey? A. All of the time B. Most of the time C. About half of the time D. Less than half the time E. None of the time 101. I read this survey carefully A. All of the time B. Most of the time C. About half of the time D. Less than half the time E. None of the time Thank you very much for your help!

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204 Appendix N Minimum Values of the Content Validity Ratio Minimum Values of the Content Validit y Ratio for Significance at p<.05 (one-tailed test) Number of Panelists Minimum Value 5 .99 6 .99 7 .99 8 .78 9 .75 10 .62 11 .59 12 .56 13 .54 14 .51 15 .49 20 .42 25 .37 30 .33 35 .31 40 .29 Taken from: Venziano & Hooper (1997)

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205 Appendix O Summary of School Climate Perceptions Summary of School Climate perceptions of school climate among students in this sample. The table reflects the percen t of students that responded strongly disagree or agree, neither agree nor disa gree, or disagree or strongly disagree. Due to some incomplete surveys, the pe rcentage values may not add to 100%. Dimension Survey Question Strongly Agree or Agree Neither Strongly Disagree or Disagree Teachers 70 82.3 11.3 5.6 71 20.8 27.4 51.1 72 61 21.8 16.6 73 57.4 20.7 21.3 74 73.2 16.5 9.2 75 73.3 12.4 13.7 76 66.4 22.8 10.2 77 62.8 24.8 11.6 85 55.7 26.2 17.4 Ambiguity 81 89.6 6.1 4.0 83 77.4 3.6 7.4 84 73.1 4.8 9.6 Worries 78 23 21.5 58.3 87 46.7 15.8 36.7 Peers 79 51.2 9.8 17.4 80 40.1 11.5 18.7 82 76.2 4.0 7.1 Belonging 90 63.7 7.3 14.2 92 22.8 21.0 50.2 93 60.1 10.2 18.7 94 51.4 9.7 20 Home 86 76.4 3.2 6 88 65.6 7.8 12.9 89 68.9 6.5 15.2 91 62.8 9.6 16.0

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206 Appendix P USF Institutional Review Board Approval Letter

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Irene Pintado received an undergraduate degree in Biology from Barry University in 1990 and a masters de gree in molecular biology from the University of Utah in 1994. Ms. Pintado in currently workin g at the Lee County Health Department in Fort Myers, Florida.


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Perceptions of school climate and bullying in middle schools
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ABSTRACT: Bullying has been identified as a problem that can affect the physical and psychosocial health of both the aggressors and victims. Given the consequences for those who bully, for victims, and for the school environment, early intervention is important to minimize these risks. School staff need additional data to understand the scope of bullying and to adopt effective strategies. This study seeks to meet this need by analyzing the association of bullying behaviors and school climate perceptions of middle school students within the context of school membership. This study used Bronfenbrenner's ecological system theory. Within this framework, a bullying interaction occurs not only because of individual characteristics of the child who is bullying, but also because of actions of peers, teachers and staff; physical characteristics of the school environment; and most importantly, of student perceptions of these contextual factors.^ This study used survey data to analyze the effect of student perceptions of school climate on self-reported bullying behaviors of students in six Sarasota County middle schools. Data sources include student- and school level data. The researcher gathered student level data from a modified middle school YRBS survey the Sarasota School District administered to middle school students, in December 2003. The school level data were gathered from the Florida Department of Education Web site. The data were analyzed using multiple regression analyses and within multilevel models. The results indicated that bullying was a common occurrence in the schools. Approximately eight percent of students were bullied on a regular basis in school, with verbal bullying as the most common type of bullying and relational bullying as the least common. Bullying aggression for physical, verbal, and relational bullying was most common for boys.^ ^Girls reported higher levels of being victims of relational bullying. Bullying also varied according to school membership and grade membership. Bullying differed according to school climate perceptions, as well. Interestingly, the effect of some of these variables on bullying was modified by sex. Finally, school context was a significant predictor of bullying, in particular the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
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