Original Articles

Bullying at Rural High Schools in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa: Prevalence, and Risk and Protective Factors at School and in the Family

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 2, 2008 , pages: 261–267
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820195
Author(s): L. Nomfundo MlisaUniversity of Fort Hare, South Africa, Catherine L. WardHuman Sciences Research Council, South Africa, Alan J. FlisherUniversity of Cape Town, South Africa, Carl J. LombardMedical Research Council, South Africa


This study examined bullying and risk and protective factors in school and family domains, in a sample of 1,565 Grade 11 students in 41 high schools in two rural school districts in South Africa. The questionnaire included two questions to identify bullies, victims and bully-victims, as well as measures drawn from the Communities That Care Youth Survey, which addressed risk and protective factors in the school and family. Multinomial logistic regression was used to investigate the association between risk and protective factors on bullying outcome. Students reported that in the last year, 3.90% were bullies, 16.49% were victims of bullying, and 5.45% were bully-victims. Geographical area was significantly associated with bullying status. Achieving relatively higher grades than classmates was significantly associated with victimization, as was rewards for conventional involvement in school. The higher levels of academic achievement were significantly associated with bully-victim status, and a moderate-high level of rewards for conventional involvement with bullying. No family factors were identified as associated with bullying or with victimization. Results provide confirmation that bullying is prevalent in rural South Africa, and suggest that the school domain plays a key role in establishing risk of victimization.

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