An investigation of the relationship between self-efficacy, peer relations and conflict resolution strategies in female adolescent bullying
A cross-sectional survey design was used to establish the prevalence and form of bullying behaviour in a saturation sample of 385 Grade Eight and Nine female students in a KwaZulu-Natal high school. Relationships between peer relations, self-efficacy, conflict resolution strategies and bullying behaviour were investigated using well established measures with robust psychometric properties. The majority (79%) of students had been involved in bullying behaviour. Both direct and indirect forms of bullying were present. A significant predictive relationship between self-efficacy and peer relations was found (α.001 p<.005); quantity of friends was significant in predicting peer attachment style (Beta=.000 P<.005); level of victimisation predicted peer attachment style (Beta=.018 p<.05); and bullying roles were associated with specific dominant conflict resolution strategies (Victim & Accommodating 12%; Bully & Competing/Avoiding 10%; Bully-Victim & Competing/Avoiding 4%; Bystander & Collaborating 2%; Not bullied & Avoiding 6%). These findings are discussed in the context of the relevant empirical and theoretical literature on bullying and female psychosocial development. While the bully, victim, bully-victim and bystander differed in several important respects, further research is recommended to differentiate these roles in term of social relations, self-efficacy, identity development, psychosocial development and conflict resolution strategies in order to inform anti-bullying interventions within a school setting.