04 SES 14 E, Insights into the Resilience of Children and Adolescents – A Different Approach
According to a report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a high number (19.1%) of Austrian students reported being bullied at school at least a few times a month (OECD, 2017). Taking into account the consequences of bullying and negative long-term-effects, such as depression, anxiety or other internalizing problems, this number is alarming and a cause for action. Although the consequences are well researched, the question is why only a subgroup of victims develop negatively (Lösel & Bender, 2014). One answer is a capacity named resilience, defined as an individual capacity, which manages to maintain a positive development, whereas others give up (Rutter, 1987). Therefore, the main object of this study is to develop an instrument, which measures the tendency towards resilience, even before a threat, such as bullying, occurs. Moreover, the study surveys if the tendency of resilience has a buffering effect on bullying and factors that could explain the tendency of resilience of primary school students. In total, 535 4th grade students (268 boys, 267 girls) of Austrian primary school classes were surveyed. Their tendency of resilience was measured on four selected items of the German resilience scale (Schuhmacher, Leppert, Gunzelmann, Strauß & Brähler, 2004) on the basis of a paper-pencil-questionnaire at the beginning and the end of the school year 2016/2017. The results indicate that the developed scale is a valid and reliable instrument (Cronbach’s ALPHA = .66), which could be quickly applicable in the pedagogical field to reveal at-risk students. First of all, it has to be noted positively that all students generally reported to have a relatively high tendency towards resilience. The relationship to the mother and the social inclusion in the classroom could explain the tendency towards being resilient. Other variables (e.g. educational background of the parents, relationship with the teacher, school-well-being) did not contribute significantly to the explanation of students’ tendency towards resilience. Furthermore, the tendency of being resilient was not able to have a buffering effect on bullying.
OECD (2017), PISA 2015 Results (Volume III): Students' Well-Being, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264273856-en.
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