There is growing concern over the problem of bullying behaviour in schools. In response to this concern, this study set out to examine the incidence and characteristics of students who were considered to be bullies or victims, according to teacher and peer ratings and class questionnaires. The rationale behind choosing the seven schools was to include an example of each of the main types of school in the Irish educational system. The study looks at a small number of schools in depth, rather than a large number of schools superficially. Socio-economic and social and family background features are examined as factors in the causation of bully/victim problems. Students identified as bullies or victims are compared under the following headings: 1) Physical Characteristics 2) Psychological Traits 3) Personality Characteristics 4) Behaviour Characteristics Particular students who emerged as bullies or victims are profiled. Information regarding the nature, causation, maintenance, prevention, alleviation, eradication of bully/victim problems was gathered by means of pupil interviews and questionnaires completed by Principals and teachers. The study is organised into five chapters. The first two chapters provide a theoretical framework for the study. Chapter I deals with the purpose and background to the research. Chapter II reviews the literature on aggression and bullying behaviour. Chapter III focuses on the research procedure. Chapter IV is a presentation and discussion of the results of the research. Chapter V presents a summary, conclusions and implications of the study. The major conclusion of the study is that school as an institution does not cause people to become bullies or victims. While it may be the case, that the atmosphere in some schools is conducive to bullying behaviour, it is likely that social and family background features combined with certain physical, psychological, personality and behavioural characteristics are of paramount importance in the causation and maintenance of bullying behaviour.
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