Background. An important first step in understanding school-based violence is understanding children's subjective perceptions of the phenomena. Under-standing these perceptions is likely to be a major factor in determining the integrity of both prevalence and intervention studies. Aims. We investigated how elementary and secondary aged children perceived school-based violence. Sample. A sample of 979 children from a nested random sample of elementary (grades 3-6) and middle school (grades 7-8) classrooms in Jerusalem participated in this study. Methods. To understand children's perception of school violence, we used an instrument composed of 19 dichotomous items, each presenting a one-line description of a behaviour, which the respondent would define as either 'intentionally harmful' or not. Results. Eighth graders were significantly less likely to label the behaviours described as violent compared to all other grades; and seventh graders were less likely as compared to third, fourth and fifth graders; also, some between-gender differences were found. Conclusion. The respondents often view the behaviours described as intentional and aggressive; this finding should serve as an impetus to widen the scope of school-based violence interventions to include these behaviours, especially for younger children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology