This study examined the effects of the awareness of risky peer group behaviors (e.g., drug use, students carrying weapons, or vandalism on school grounds) on students’ experiences of school victimization. This is one of the few studies conducted in the Middle East that examine issues of school violence. This article (Part I) focuses on elementary school students. Part II is forthcoming in a future article and will focus on junior high school students. The sample was drawn from central and northern Israel and consisted of 1346 Arab and 1478 Jewish students (4th-6th grades). Students completed an anonymous self-report questionnaire, which was based on the California School Climate Survey (Furlong et al, 1997). The findings from a hierarchical regression analysis show that elementary school students’ awareness of risky peer group behaviors in school contexts is one of the strongest predictors of their own personal victimization, controlling for gender, ethnicity, and grade level. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Ron Avi Astor is Associate Professor of Education and Social Work at University of Michigan. Rami Benbenishty is Professor of Social Work at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Roxana Marachi is a doctoral candidate in the Combined Program for Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia is Associate Professor of Social Work at Hebrew University. Anat Zeira is Assistant Professor of Social Work at Hebrew University. Suzanne Perkins-Hart is a doctoral student in the Combined Program for Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Ronald O. Pitner is Assistant Professor of Social Work at Washington University. Address correspondence to: Ron Avi Astor, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, 1080 South University Avenue, Ann Arbor, 48109-1106 MI (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). The authors would like to thank the many students, principals, and teachers who generously gave their time and support to make this study possible. The authors also thank our families for being so supportive during the years it took to conduct this study. Portions of this study and article were funded through a National Academy of Education/Spencer Fellowship, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship to the first author.