Open Access

Leading schools that make a difference to bullying behaviour


Student bullying behaviour is a long-standing concern in New Zealand schools. International studies consistently show high rates of student reports of this behaviour. Research suggests that bullying behaviour is a socioecological and systemic phenomenon that is best addressed via systems-based and multifaceted approaches implemented using collaborative processes. Less is known about the most effective components of these multifaceted approaches. This article analyses New Zealand Wellbeing@School survey data to suggest ways forward for schools. A multilevel model was used to associate two student and two teacher measures from the same schools. The findings indicate that a mix of school-wide actions were associated with lower levels of student aggressive and bullying behaviour. Five sub-groups of actions are discussed in the light of recent New Zealand and international research. The article concludes with a call to locate anti-bullying approaches within a multifaceted and holistic framework which has the overall aim of promoting wellbeing and healthy social relationships. A holistic approach enables schools to foster protective factors such as belonging, and address risk factors that influence bullying behaviour, as well as a range of desirable education and health outcomes for young people.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Education, other