School Built Environments and Bullying Behaviour: A Conceptual Model Based on Qualitative Interviews

Jacinta Francis, Gina Trapp, Natasha Pearce, Sharyn Burns, Donna Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Interest in how the school built environment impacts bullying behaviour has gained momentum in recent years. While numerous studies have identified locations within schools where bullying frequently occurs, few studies have investigated the potential conceptual pathways linking school locations to bullying behaviour. This study aimed to (i) identify school built environment factors that may prevent or facilitate bullying behaviour in primary and secondary schools; and (ii) develop a conceptual model of potential pathways between the school built environment and bullying behaviour for future anti-bullying intervention research. Seventy individual semi-structured interviews were conducted between May and December 2020, with policymakers (n = 22), school staff (n = 12), parents (n = 18), and students (n = 18). School staff, parents and students, were recruited from six metropolitan primary and secondary schools in Perth, Western Australia. Interviews were conducted online and face-to-face using semi-structured interview guides. A thematic analysis was undertaken. Participants identified school bullying locations (e.g., locker areas, bathrooms, corridors) and built environment factors linked to bullying behaviour via (i) visibility and supervision; (ii) physical and psychological comfort and safety; and (iii) social-emotional competencies. The findings have policy and practice implications regarding the design of school built environments to prevent bullying behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15955
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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