Line 2: Bullying at school

Dr Frits Goossens

Victimization is associated with many problems, including those of a social, internalizing, psychosomatic and academic nature. Moreover, bullies too are often exposed to risks (excessive reliance on aggression as a means to an end) and others who witness bullying often suffer from anxiety as a result. There are no winners in bullying. If bullying is to be dealt with effectively, the following questions must first be answered:

  • What exactly do we mean by bullying?
  • How can it be measured?
  • What explanations have been put forward to account for it?
  • What are the contributing factors at the level of the child, the group, school and family?

Within LEARN! there is great interest in the approach to bullying as a group process. Bullying in schools is, in fact, a group process involving perpetrators, hangers-on, encouragers, victims, defenders, outsiders, and children who cannot be assigned to a given role. Research in this area currently focuses mainly on the so-called middle group of children who take no active part in bullying, but who - by adopting a passive attitude - give the impression of tolerating bullying. We want to motivate these children to be more like the defenders and take a more active anti-bullying stance, in the hope that this will influence the group process.
See the news item (in Dutch) on the book by Frits Goossens et al: Bullying at school Backgrounds and interventions.