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Effects of Student Participation and Teacher Support on Victimization in Israeli Schools: An Examination of Gender, Culture, and School Type

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 36 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2007 Pages: 225-240
Roxana Marachi; Ron Avi Astor; Rami Benbenishty
Date Published
February 2007
16 pages
In order to identify the contextual factors that might influence the occurrence of violence in schools, this study measured associations between student victimization and student participation in decisionmaking at their schools and teacher support in a nationally representative sample of 10,254 students in 164 junior high and high schools in Israel.
The strongest and most consistent finding was the lower rates of student victimization when students perceived higher levels of teacher support. This finding held across gender, culture, and school type. Student participation in decisionmaking at school was unrelated to all the victimization measures for girls; however, it was significantly and positively related to victimization measures for boys. This may mean that boys are more likely to volunteer for or seek out decisionmaking positions in class and in the student-body. This could increase their involvement in conflict and their potential for victimization from both other students and school staff. Although participation in decisionmaking was unrelated to moderate or severe victimization for Jewish students, it was positively related to the victimization measures for Arab students. Given that the Jewish and Arab school systems are essentially segregated in Israel, this finding suggests cultural differences in the disciplinary climate of the schools. The dataset for this study was obtained from a subset of a large national survey of school violence in Israel. Surveys were administered in the fall of the 2000-2001 school year. The survey asked students questions about school climate, teachers' support of students, personal victimization over a range of low-level (pinching and slapping) to high-level (extortion and gun threats) violent behaviors, observed risky behaviors on campus, and school policies regarding school violence. The primary method of analysis for the study was structural equations modeling with maximum likelihood estimation. 5 figures, 59 references, and appended questionnaire