One of the negative consequences of bullying in schools is its adverse effect on students’ sense of safety. Previous studies yielded mixed results and a nonlinear relationship between bullying and students’ sense of safety and pointed to the need for revealing possible mediating and moderating factors in order to better understand this victimization-fear paradox. The main aim of the current study was to examine the moderating effect of school climate, suggesting that bullying may have a smaller effect on the sense of safety in a positive school climate than in a negative one. The association between different forms (direct, observed) of school bullying and the sense of safety was also investigated with reference to three indicators of safety (risk assessment, fear, avoidance). The sample included 1213 students in sixth (35.5%), eighth (38.3%), and tenth (26.2%) grades. The findings show that school climate moderates the association between victimization and the sense of safety and that a negative relationship exists between bullying and students’ sense of safety in schools characterized by a negative school climate, but not in schools characterized by a positive school climate. The findings point to the importance of the school context in understanding the effect of bullying and specifically the association between bullying and the sense of safety.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported in part by a grant from The Institute for Community Education and Research, School of Education, Bar-Ilan University.
© 2021, Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da Vida.
- School bullying
- School climate
- Sense of safety