Daily interaction with peers root of aggression among students: Study

Daily interaction with peers root of aggression among students: Study

Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 17

A study carried out as part of a global research alliance on levels of bullying and cyber-bullying experienced by school students during and before the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdown across 16 countries has pointed out that the root of harmful aggression among students lies in their daily interaction with peers. The study called for implementation of programmes to assist school students with social-emotional regulation.

Punjabi University’s Associate Professor, Dr Damanjit Sandhu, part of the alliance, said, “The research is being led by Dr Grace Skrzypiec from Flinders University, Adelaide. The findings have been presented during the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology Conference at Punjabi University.”

Researchers compared data collected among school students aged between 11 and 16 years regarding their experiences of bullying and cyber-bullying before and during the pandemic, Dr Sandhu added. The data collected regarding bullying as part of a peer aggression study (PAS) of 2017 was used for the comparative study, said Dr Sandhu.

Students, who participated in the study during the pandemic, reported way less levels of aggression when compared with normal school days, Dr Sandhu added.

During the peer aggression study 99.3 per cent students claimed they experienced bullying in some form, which remained 50 per cent as reported during the lockdown, said Dr Sandhu.

This includes teasing, being laughed at, picked on, calling names, left out, spreading rumours, threatening, hit, kicked or pushed by their fellow schoolmates, Dr Sandhu added.

In the same line, prevalence of cyber aggression among students also decreased among both girls and boys, said Dr Sandhu.

The researchers said 36.1 per cent students reported cyber aggression during the PAS and only 11.3 per cent during the lockdown period. “This points out that peer interaction triggers cyber-bullying,” added Dr Sandhu.

Moreover, 90.1 per cent students before the pandemic perceived maximum harm from experiences of aggression in comparison to only 24.2 per cent during the lockdown, said Dr Sandhu.

They found that social distancing practiced during the lockdown reduced middle school students’ experiences of aggression, Dr Sandhu added. “Students reported experiencing lower levels of aggression during the lockdown in comparison to previous days due to social distancing. This states that the root of harmful aggression among students lies in their daily interactions with peers or with stress experienced at school,” Dr said Sandhu.

“The study, therefore, recommends that programmes to assist students with social-emotional regulation must be implemented in schools,” Dr Sandhu added.

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