Dimensions of bullying: examining face-to-face and cyber-bullying among adolescents with and without emotional and behavioural disorders




Evancio Barker, Laurissa

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Bullying, in its many different face-to-face and cyber manifestations, profoundly impacts involved youth, particularly those with special education needs. Schools have typically focused on policing the bullies, while teaching victims of bullying effective reactive responses. The objective of this study was to identify those students at greatest risk, the factors placing them at risk, and to understand the source of their consequently aggressive social behaviours and communication. Understanding root causes thereby enables schools to shift toward proactively preventing bullying behaviours. Evidence suggests that adolescents with Emotional and Behavioural Disorders (EBD) are overrepresented in the face-to-face bullying dynamic. Through a social-ecological lens, the current study compares bullying involvement among typically developing adolescents (n = 134) with EBD adolescents (n = 30), and considers how within-person characteristics of adolescents with EBD are influenced by and interact with bi-directional microsystem (i.e. family, friends, teachers, school) and macrosystem (i.e. social and educational patterns of programming) factors to increase or decrease face-to-face- and cyber-bullying involvement. As hypothesized, adolescents with EBD were significantly more involved in both face-to-face- and cyber-bullying and –victimization. Predictive factors were uniquely identified for on- and off-line bullying and victimization. The current findings demonstrate a need to approach bullying prevention proactively by aiming resources at the source of social aggression.



Bullying, victimization, face-to-face bullying and victimization, traditional bullying and victimization, cyberbullying and cybervictimization, Special Education Needs, Emotional and Behavioural Disorders (EBD), Inclusion, Segregation