School climate, peer victimization, and academic achievement: Results from a multi-informant study.

School psychology quarterly : the official journal of the Division of School Psychology, American Psychological Association

PubMedID: 25198617

Wang W, Vaillancourt T, Brittain HL, McDougall P, Krygsman A, Smith D, Cunningham CE, Haltigan JD, Hymel S. School climate, peer victimization, and academic achievement: Results from a multi-informant study. Sch Psychol Q. 2014;29(3):360-77.
School-level school climate was examined in relation to self-reported peer victimization and teacher-rated academic achievement (grade point average; GPA). Participants included a sample of 1,023 fifth-grade children nested within 50 schools. Associations between peer victimization, school climate, and GPA were examined using multilevel modeling, with school climate as a contextual variable. Boys and girls reported no differences in victimization by their peers, although boys had lower GPAs than girls. Peer victimization was related to lower GPA and to a poorer perception of school climate (individual-level), which was also associated with lower GPA. Results of multilevel analyses revealed that peer victimization was again negatively associated with GPA, and that lower school-level climate was associated with lower GPA. Although no moderating effects of school-level school climate or sex were observed, the relation between peer victimization and GPA remained significant after taking into account (a) school-level climate scores, (b) individual variability in school-climate scores, and (c) several covariates-ethnicity, absenteeism, household income, parental education, percentage of minority students, type of school, and bullying perpetration. These findings underscore the importance of a positive school climate for academic success and viewing school climate as a fundamental collective school outcome. Results also speak to the importance of viewing peer victimization as being harmfully linked to students' academic performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).