The relationship between staff maltreatment of students and bully-victim group membership

Mona Khoury-Kassabri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objectives: The current study presents the prevalence of students' reports of physical and emotional maltreatment by school staff and examines the differences between these reports according to the students' category of involvement in school bullying (only bullies, only victims, bully-victims, and neither bullies nor victims). Method: This study is based on a large, nationally representative sample of 16,604 students in grades 7-11 in 324 schools across Israel, who completed questionnaires during class. Using Multivariate Analyses of Variance (MANOVA), the study explores the differences between bully-victim group memberships on their reports of staff maltreatment. It also examines the interaction of students' gender, nation (Jewish vs. Arab students) and school level (junior high vs. high school student) with physical and emotional maltreatment. Results: Significant MANOVA results were found for gender (boys more than girls), nation (Arabs more than Jews) and bully-victim group membership for both emotional and physical maltreatment. Post hoc follow-up analyses revealed that bully-victims reported significantly more staff maltreatment than other students, followed by bullies and victims. Students who were not involved in bullying reported the lowest levels of staff maltreatment. In addition, the interaction analysis revealed that differences in bully-victim subgroup membership vary by gender, nations and school level in both physical and emotional maltreatment. Conclusion: The findings showed that levels of staff maltreatment toward students vary according to the category of students' involvement in bullying, with bully-victims boys being at the highest risk. These findings mirror past research suggesting that bully-victims present multiple challenges for school staff and they are in need for special attention. Practice implication: The findings emphasize the need to invest more efforts in helping bully-victims that were found at highest risk for staff maltreatment in both Jewish and Arab schools. Furthermore, it is essential to support teachers to help them cope effectively with difficult situations without resorting to aggression. To achieve this goal, training opportunities for teachers in Israel and other countries need to be expanded. This intervention should be designed and implemented from a "whole school" approach that includes students, school staff, and parents.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)914-923
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Education.


  • Bully-victims
  • Educational staff
  • Gender
  • Maltreatment


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