Bullying: Understanding Attitudes toward Bullying and Perceptions of School Social Climate (page 3)

By , and — Bullying Special Edition Contributor
Updated on Feb 11, 2009

For Schools:

  • Conduct a school-wide assessment to gather information from students about their perception of school social climate (e.g., is bullying tolerated, are teachers and staff supportive of students) as well as their knowledge of the bullying policy. Make a commitment to conduct these assessments annually, preferably in the early spring after peer groups have solidified.
  • Promote facts, not myths, about bullying by providing information to students and staff about bullying and the effects of bullying.
  • Involve parents and guardians in the intervention process to help create a common attitude amongst all adults in the students’ lives (10, 11). For example, hold an informational PTA meeting, invite them to participate in school (or classroom) presentations about bullying, or invite them to act as hall monitors.


  1. Orpinas, P., & Horne, A. M. (2006). Bullying prevention: Creating a positive school climate and developing social competence. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  2. National Center for Education Statistics, & Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2005). Indicators of school crime and safety: 2005 (NCES 2006-001, NCJ 210697). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice.
  3. Doll, B., Song, S. Y., & Siemers, E. (2004). Classroom ecologies that support or discourage bullying. In D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (Eds.), Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention (pp. 161-184). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  4. McConville, D. W., & Cornell, D. G. (2003). Aggressive attitudes predict aggressive behavior in middle school students. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 11(3), 179-187.
  5. Rigby, K. (2005). Why do some children bully at school? The contributions of negative attitudes towards victims and the perceived expectations of friends, parents, and teachers. School Psychology International, 26(2), 147-161.
  6. Miller, C. K. (2006). Student and teacher perceptions of school social climate and attitudes toward bullying: Implications for intervention. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
  7. Swearer, S. M., Peugh, J., Espelage, D. L., Siebecker, A. B., Kingsbury, W. L., & Bevins, K. S. (2006). A social-ecological model for bullying prevention and intervention in early adolescence: An exploratory examination. In S. R. Jimerson & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), The handbook of school violence and school safety: From research to practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  8. Unnever, J. D., & Cornell, D. G. (2003). The culture of bullying in middle school. Journal of School Violence, 2(2), 5-27.
  9. Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychological adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(16), 2094-2132.
  10. Pepler, D., Smith, P. K., & Rigby, K. (2004). Looking back and looking forward: Implications for making interventions work effectively. In P. K. Smith  D. Pepler, & K. Rigby (Eds.), Bullying in schools: How successful can interventions be? (pp. 307-324). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  11. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
  12. Hanish, L. D., Kochenderfer-Ladd, B., Fabes, R. A., Martin, C. L., & Denning, D. (2004). Bullying among young children: The influence of peers and teachers. In D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (Eds.), Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention (pp. 141-159). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Biographical Information

Kisha Haye is currently an assistant professor in the school psychology program at The Ohio State University; she is also a licensed psychologist. Research interests include mental health issues, particularly in the areas of bullying, aggression, and internalizing issues. Email:

Courtney Miller is currently a licensed psychologist at Catholic Social Services in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her areas of interest include children and adolescents, family systems, parent training, schools, and consultation. Email:

Susan Swearer is currently an associate professor in the school psychology program at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln; she is also a licensed psychologist. Her program of research examines the relationship between internalizing factors (depression, anxiety, and anger) and outward behavior (bullying, school failure, and conduct problems). Email:

Links and Suggestions for Further Reading

  • Website: Target Bullying Survey & Intervention System: Ecologically Based Assessment & Intervention for Schools. This website provides a wealth of information about bullying and is found at
  • Book: Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Edited by D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (2004).
  • Book: Breaking the culture of bullying and disrespect, grades K-8: Best practices and successful strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Authored by M. Beaudoin & M. Taylor (2004).
View Full Article
Add your own comment
DIY Worksheets
Make puzzles and printables that are educational, personal, and fun!
Matching Lists
Quickly create fun match-up worksheets using your own words.
Word Searches
Use your own word lists to create and print custom word searches.
Crossword Puzzles
Make custom crossword puzzles using your own words and clues.