Although researchers have identified individual-level predictors of nonphysical bullying among children and youth, school-level predictors (i.e., characteristics of the school environment that influence bullying exposure) remain largely unstudied. Using data from a survey of 1,838 students in 21 Boston public high schools, we used multilevel modeling techniques to estimate the level of variation across schools in student reports of nonphysical bully victimization and identify school-level predictors of bullying. We found significant between-school variation in youth reports of nonphysical bullying, with estimates ranging from 25%-58%. We tested school-level indicators of academic performance, emotional well-being, and school safety. After controlling for individual-level covariates and demographic controls, the percentage of students in the school who met with a mental health counselor was significantly associated with bullying (OR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.01, 1.06). There was no significant association between school-level academic performance and perceptions of school safety on individual reports of bullying. Findings suggest that prevention and intervention programs may benefit from attending to the emotional well-being of students and support the importance of understanding the role of the school environment in shaping student experiences with bullying.
- Mental health
- Multilevel analysis
- School context
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality