Bullying experiences and literacy achievement amongst primary school children

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 27, issue 6, 2017 , pages: 561–563
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2017.1399549
Author(s): Jace PillaySouth African Research Chair, Education and Care in Childhood, Faculty of Education,


This study investigated the association between school bullying and literacy achievements in a sample of primary school children from Johannesburg, South Africa. The children (n = 443; females = 56%, males = 44%) attending six primary schools in the Soweto area suburbs, self-reported their experience of bullying by peers. In addition, they completed tests of literacy. The results indicate that learners who self-reported being bullied performed poorly in literacy tests when compared to their peers, who were not subjected to bullying. In particular, those who experienced bullying scored lower on tasks that required literacy skills in phonics, spelling, and word choice. The findings indicate that learner support for school bullying survivors should aim to address the deleterious effects of bullying on literacy development.

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