Students' experiences of aggressive behaviour and bully/victim problems in Irish schools
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Since the 1980s, a greater understanding of the frequency and typology of bullying/victim problems in schools has been accrued in many countries, including Ireland, where a nationwide study of bullying behaviour in schools was undertaken in 1993-1994. However, rather less is known about Irish school students' involvement in other forms of aggressive behaviour. The purpose of the survey described here was to ascertain the prevalence of school students' experiences of certain categories of general aggressive behaviour, as well as the prevalence of bully/victim problems, in Irish schools. Data were obtained via the administration of a specially and extensively modified version of the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire to 5569 participants (2312 primary and 3257 post-primary) in Ireland in the autumn/winter school term of 2004-2005. Principally, it was found that experiences of aggressive behaviour appeared to be widespread; whilst age trends varied according to individual categories of aggressive behaviour, gender differences were more clear - boys were more frequently the targets of 'direct' forms of aggressive behaviour, whereas girls were more frequently the targets of 'indirect' forms. Furthermore, bully/victim problems appear to be persistent in Irish schools, with 35.3% of primary students and 36.4% of post-primary students reporting having been bullied over the last three months. It was contended that inroads into preventing and dealing with bullying and aggressive behaviour in Irish schools might best be made via governmentally-supported nationwide intervention programmes, as has been the case in Norway. © 2010 Educational Studies Association of Ireland.
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