Electronic Poster Presentation

Bullying as Perceived by Adolescent Students, School Counselors, and Teachers

Ramon Eduardo Gustilo Villasor, Sr., Ph.D., RPsy, R.G.C., CSCOP
De La Salle University – Manila
Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP)
Electronic Poster Presentation
August 19, 2010


žTheoretical Background —

  • Alfred Adler’s concept of “striving for superiority” wherein if the child cannot get what he needs with a positive behavior, he is likely to try and get it in a negative manner (Dreikurs and Soltz, 1964). —
  • The four basic goals of misbehavior (e.g., Attention, Power, Revenge, and Display of Inadequacy) (Dinkmeyer and McKay, 1990). ž

Statement of the Problem

  • —This study explores the perception of the bully, bullying behavior, and the victim of the first-year high school students, their guidance counselor, and teachers from public and private schools in Metro Manila.  Specifically, from the viewpoints of the adolescent, guidance counselor, and teacher.

žHypothesis —

  • Perception of bullying, bullying behavior, and a victim of bullying. ž

Research Design —

  • Qualitative research design.
  • —Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was conducted with the purpose of eliciting the respondent’s perceptions of a bully and bullying behavior. —
  • FGD findings were then used to develop a questionnaire and interview guide questions. —
  • Frequency was obtained from the questionnaire responses.  While a qualitative analysis of responses from one-on-one interviews with guidance counselors and teachers was also conducted.


Research Subjects —

  • Two groups of 10 student respondents from DLSZ and 10 from MHS underwent FGD.  The DLSZ group consisted for 4 females/6 males ages 12 to 15.  The MHS group had 5 males/5 females ages 12 to 18. —
  • Two sections of 1st year high school students from DLSZ (N = 73) and MHS (N = 77) served as questionnaire respondents.
  • Four guidance counselors from each school (N = 8 ) and 3 year-level teachers from each school (N = 6) were respondents to the interviews. ž

Instruments —

  • Focused Group Discussion (FGD) —
  • Questionnaire —
  • A structured interview guide

žData-Gathering Procedure —

  • Dissemination of invitations to the private and public school explaining the purpose of the study and requesting their participation. —
  • 10 selected students in each school were asked to participate in an independent FGD.
  • —Two sections from MHS were selected to be the respondents of the pre-constructed questionnaire.  Participants of the one-on-one interviews that made use of the interview guide questions were also selected by MHS officials.

žQualitative Analysis of Data —

  • Ranking and frequency of the types of bullying behavior, characteristics of a bully, and the perceived motives for bullying behavior were obtained from the questionnaire. —
  • Content analysis of the responses given to 1st year high school students on the open-ended sections of the questionnaire was also done.


The summary of the findings obtained from FGD, Questionnaire given to first-year high school students in Private (DLSZ) and Public (MHS) schools, and One-on-one interviews of the Teachers and Guidance Counselors from Private (DLSZ) and Public (MHS) schools are as follows:

  • žBullies are perceived to be stronger, bigger and older while victims are perceived as weaker, smaller and younger. žBullies intimidate the victim by using physical and or verbal methods. ž
  • According to the respondents, the bully wants to assert his powerand call attention to himself in the process. ž
  • Bullying behavior is usually done in groups; bullying groups are smaller in private schools and larger in public schools. ž
  • Females tend to be primary targets for bullying in public schools while homosexuals are primary targets in private schools.
  • Respondents in both schools seemed more affected by verbal insults, taunting, teasing and name-calling. ž
  • Public School respondents perceive victims to become fearful of the bully; while Private School respondents perceive victims to avoid the bully.
  • žPublic School respondents are more likely to spontaneously help the person being bullied, while Private School respondents may only do so with caution if they are assured that they will not be bullied themselves. ž
  • Public School respondents are more likely to turn to responsible adults, especially their mothers, when they are bullied; while Private School respondents turn to their friends.
  • žPublic School respondents look to authority figures such as teachers, counselors and police for assistance; Private School respondents do not readily approach adults for assistance. ž
  • Teachers are the first to report incidents such as disruptive classroom behavior, fighting, teasing and taunting.
  • Because of the large number of students, Teachers and counselors in Public Schools are only able to attend to cases of bullying behavior once it escalates. ž
  • The Private School Guidance counselors only deal with the bully and the victim after they have been referred by the level coordinator, teacher, or class adviser. ž
  • The Public School Guidance counselor only deals with the bullying behavior if the student is referred to their center.
  • žTeachers perceived bullies to have problems with self-esteem and a need for attention. ž
  • Handbooks of DLSZ and MHS do not list bullying as a separate offense.  Rather, it is implied in behaviors such as taunting, fighting, intimidating, extortion. ž
  • Understanding the goals of bullying behavior can be the first step in the development of intervention in the classroom as well as in the counselor’s office.



  • In this population, bullying is described to involve three elements: a) bullies congregate; b) act in the presence of others; and c) that the bullying act involves making the victim lose face in the presence of his or her peers.
  • —This experience of embarrassment or loss of face is akin to what earlier researcher in Filipino personality called “Hiya.”  The phenomenon of “hiya” (e.g., shame, embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy) can be pivotal in understanding bullying in Filipino schools.   —
  • Given the findings of the study, there is a need for a forum of school authorities, teachers, counselors, students, and parents for the purpose of coming up with a working definition of bullying behavior in the school setting.  With this working definition, the school can develop appropriate interventions to address this growing problem.


  1. Development of a working definition of bullying behavior in the Filipino school setting derived from  a consensus among teachers, students, parents, and guidance counselors.
  2. With the working definition, the procedures for detection, interventions, and sanctions can be defined and operationalized.
  3. The possible need to further study the impact of predominantly female authority figures (counselors and teachers) on the approach to bullies, victims, and the effectiveness of interventions.
  4. A need for a more balanced male/female ratio among counselors and teachers.
  5. The introduction of a weekly personal growth class for high school students.
  6. Provide parent-education problems on bullying and the goals of bullying behavior.

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