*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on ScienceDaily.
Research has shown that, despite great efforts, one in three children continue to experience bullying in school. However, research also has indicated that environmental and psychological factors might play an important role in minimizing bullying behaviors.
Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that students who feel a greater sense of belonging with their peers, family and school community are less likely to become bullies. Their findings suggest that parents and teachers should consider ways to create a supportive and accepting environment both at home and at school.
For the new study, researchers analyzed survey responses from more than 900 middle school students from rural schools throughout the U.S. The survey addressed their sense of belonging among peers, family and school community as well as bullying behavior. For example, they were asked if they upset others for the fun of it or if they spread rumors.
The results indicate that the more a student feels like they belong among their peers and family, the more likely they will feel like they belong at school. In addition, the more they feel like they belong within their school community, the less likely they were to report bullying behaviors. This indicates that parents might be able to play a proactive role in increasing their child's sense of belonging at school by focusing on improving family belongingness.
The study was published in Emotional & Child Psychology.