Konstantinos M Kokkinos, Bullying and victimization: Review of Greek research evidence, Προσχολική & Σχολική Εκπαίδευση, 5|2017, 2-45

The current review aims at providing an understanding of factors implicated in traditional and cyber-bullying/victimization (TB, TV, CB, CV). More specifically, the purpose of the present review is to critically analyze and synthesize empirical findings from Greek samples and organize them within the theoretical framework of General Aggression Model (GAM). According to the GAM, some person and situational factors based on pre-existing knowledge structures could lead to specific behavioral outcomes through cognitive, affective and arousal routes. The interplay among these routes reflecting the individual’s internal state may be associated with appraisal and decision- making processes which in turn may be linked to bullying or victimization experiences. Using the GAM as a theoretical framework, a synthetic review of past empirical research of person and situational factors related to TB/TV and CB/CV is presented. Socio-demographic (e.g., gender, age, academic achievement), personality factors (e.g., big five, psychopathic traits, self-esteem, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, sensation seeking, empathy), psychological states (e.g., depression), attachment style, online disinhibition, skills (e.g., social/internet), maladaptive behaviors (e.g., Specific Learning Difficulties), beliefs (e.g., low self-efficacy),  and values/perceptions (e.g., moral disengagement), (i.e. person factors), as well as specific parenting styles/practices, low friendship quality, and perceived school climate (i.e. situational factors) are proposed as risk factors of such experiences. Furthermore, possible mechanisms and processes (i.e. present internal state; cognition, affect, arousal), which may serve as routes for both TB/TV and CB/CV experiences are described. In this vein, Hostile Attribution Bias, Theory of Mind, expectation of reward and expectation of victim suffering (i.e. social cognition) are suggested as paths through which specific individual or situational factors could lead to bullying and victimization. The present review also focuses on appraisal and decision-making processes, and specifically on coping strategies, through which individual and situational factors, as well as present internal states, could be linked to bullying and victimization. Moreover, some possible psychological and behavioral consequences (e.g., low self-esteem, internalizing and externalizing problems, aggressive behaviors) of experiencing TB/TV and CB/CV are suggested. Overall, the present review provides indications that some person and situational factors, which in many cases are common in both physical contexts and cyberspace, could be associated through specific processes to TB/TV and CB/CV. However, there are some differentiations among the factors linked with TB/TV and CB/CV suggesting that these phenomena, although partially related, may not be similar. The factors and processes, which could lead to aggression, seem also to be in line with the GAM. However, some empirical findings attest that a cluster of person, cognitive and emotional factors, as well as appraisal processes might interact (e.g., personality, social cognition and coping factors) to predict specific behavioral outcomes such as bullying and aggressive behaviors. These interactive relationships are not currently considered by the GAM. Thus, the present review provides further insights into the strengths and the limitations of the aforementioned theoretical framework. In this direction, it underlines the need for reconsidering past theory and integrating several theoretical models, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors and mechanisms implicated in bullying and victimization experiences. Some possible explanations about the proposed linkages are provided, while limitations and suggestions for future studies are discussed.

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