Understanding school climate, aggression, peer victimization, and bully perpetration: Contemporary science, practice, and policy

Dorothy L. Espelage, Sabina Low, Shane R. Jimerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Existing scholarship suggests that classroom practices, teacher attitudes, and the broader school environment play a critical role in understanding the rates of student reports of aggression, bullying, and victimization as well as correlated behaviors. A more accurate understanding of the nature, origins, maintenance, and prevalence of bullying and other aggressive behavior requires consideration of the broader social ecology of the school community. However, studies to date have predominantly been cross-sectional in nature, or have failed to reflect the social-ecological framework in their measurement or analytic approach. Thus, there have been limited efforts to parse out the relative contribution of student, classroom, and organizational-level factors. This special topic section emphasizes a departure from a focus on student attitudes and behaviors, to a social-contextual approach that appreciates how much features of the school environment can mitigate or perpetuate aggression. This collection of articles reflects innovative and rigorous approaches to further our understanding of climate, and has implications for theory, measurement, prevention, and practice. These studies highlight the influence of school climate on mental health, academic achievement, and problem behavior, and will hopefully stimulate interest in and further scholarship on this important topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-237
Number of pages5
JournalSchool Psychology Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Aggression
  • Assessment
  • Bullying
  • Peer victimization
  • School climate
  • School-based intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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