The Exposure of Primary School Teachers to Bullying: An Analysis of Various Variables

Article excerpt

The aim of this study was to analyze the variables involved in the bullying experiences of primary school teachers who attended in-service courses at the Aksaray and Esenköy training centers in Turkey. There were 315 participants in the study. A Turkish adaptation of the Negative Acts Questionnaire Scale (NAQ) developed by Einarsen and Raknes (1997) was used. Cronbach's alpha = .97, factor loads were determined to be between .42 and .82. Frequency, percentage, arithmetic mean, chi-square and variance analysis were also measured. The results were tested at p < .05 level. The research showed that 50% of the Turkish primary school teachers had experienced bullying. There was a significant relationship between the incidence of bullying and the branch of teaching. However, there was no relationship between bullying experiences and the variables of sex, age and marital status.

Keywords: education, school, teachers, workplace bullying, stress, Turkey.

Studies of stress within organizations suggest that conflict and aggression between workers constitute a notable source of stress that adversely affects their health and peace (Einarsen, 2000; Hoel, Rayner, & Cooper, 1999; Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2002). Studies carried out in schools also suggest that there are various factors which negatively affect communication among teachers. These studies show that teachers are exposed to workloads which result particularly in stress and anxiety and that at least one-third of them suffer from stress and fatigue (Boyle, Bong, Falzon, & Baglioni, 1995; Capel, 1991; Dick & Wagner, 2001; Friesen, Prokop, & Sarros, 1988; Friesen & Sarros, 1989). Kyriacou and Sutcliffe (1978) classified stress-causing factors among teachers as being physical and psychological. Other research topics in the literature include the low status of the profession, insufficient pay, managers' attitudes and behaviors, interpersonal relations, conflict of roles, and types of supervision and communication (Asian, 1995; Atakli, 1999; Borg & Riding, 1991; Demir, 1997; Kayum, 2002; ozdayi, 1990; Pehlivan, 1993; Tumkaya, 1996; Yiiksel, 1998).

The literature suggests there is a significant relationship between the bullying experienced by workers within organizations and their stress levels (Brodsky, 1976; Einarsen, Mattheisen, & Skogstad, 1998; Zapf, Knorz, & Kulla, 1996). Einarsen and Raknes (1997) state that 23% of male bullying victims within organizations suffer from psychological disorders and unrest. Psychological and psychosomatic disorders were encountered among most of the bullying victims. It was found that workers suffered from lack of self-esteem, anxiety, depression, concentration disorders, chronic fatigue, sleeping disorders, abdominal disorders, headache, lumbago, nervousness, self-aversion, and suicidal tendencies (Bjorkqvist, Osterman, & Hjelt-Back, 1994; Brodsky, 1976; Einarsen, Raknes, Matthiesen, & Hellesay, 1996; Leymann, 1990).

Also, Leymann (1990) found insomnia, nervousness, melancholy, indifference, lack of concentration and social phobias among bullying victims. Clinical observations show that those who experience bullying within organizations suffer from social discrimination, social disharmony, psychosomatic disorders, depression, longing for help, nervousness, pressures, anxiety, and hopelessness (Leymann) to a greater extent than do those who are not bullied (Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2002). Another study of victims (Janoff-Bulman, 1989) suggests that exposure to bullying behaviors within organizations changes the psychological condition of the victim and his/her view of others. This situation was encountered in most of the people who had psychological and psychosomatic complaints. Most of the bullying victims had doubts about other people (Janoff-Bulman, 1983). Those doubtful and reactive feelings result in severe emotional reactions. In other words, those who are exposed to bullying change their personal understanding of their surroundings (Janoff-Bulman & Frieze, 1983; Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2002). …