Bullying in Schools in the United Arab Emirates and the Personal Safety of Students

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Child Indicators Research


© 2018, Springer Nature B.V. Although considerable research has been directed towards understanding and addressing bullying in schools in western countries, comparatively little has been undertaken in Arab countries. This article provides the first detailed examination of the nature and prevalence of peer victimisation and bullying behaviour among students in Grades 6 to 9 in 20 schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Questionnaires designed to assess the prevalence of different forms of bullying, as experienced by students and as perpetrated by their peers, were answered anonymously by 841 boys and 938 girls. In addition, questions were asked on how often students engaged in pro-social behaviour at school and how safe they felt when they were at their school. Approximately 16% of students reported that they usually or never felt safe at school. Boys were significantly more likely to experience and perpetrate all forms of bullying. No significant gender differences were found with respect to acting in general more pro-socially or in feeling unsafe. Results from regression analyses employing multi-item measures of (i) victimisation and (ii) bullying others, independently predicted students reporting feeling less safe, after controlling for gender and grade level. Students reporting relatively high levels of pro-social behaviour also reported significantly higher level of safety. Implication of these findings for increasing the safety of students in the UAE schools are discussed.

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