Using the Sociological Perspective to Reduce Bullying in Schools: The Case for a School Sociologist

Christopher Donoghue, Alicia Raia-Hawrylak, Brent Harger, Noushig Ohanian, Stephen Shahin, Ash Steimle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most anti-bullying curricula in schools are based on the social-ecological perspective on bullying. The resulting whole-school approaches to anti-bullying policy hold the potential to empower school communities to deal with aggression by including parents, teachers, administrators, and community members in their efforts. In this paper, we consider ways in which sociological theories of interaction, power imbalances, structural inequalities, and social networks can improve upon the social-ecological approach to anti-bullying programs. In doing so, we argue for the creation of a school sociologist position to facilitate a multi-tiered approach to improving the overall school climate and culture while reducing bullying. We also discuss the feasibility and purpose of this new position in the USA and offer guidance for other countries to explore implementation in other contexts. By drawing upon the theoretical perspectives and methodologies that are integral to their own discipline, sociologists are well-positioned to incorporate theoretically grounded and data-driven decisions into the design and delivery of school programs to reduce bullying.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Bullying Prevention
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Aggression
  • Anti-bullying curricula
  • Bullying
  • Social-ecological perspective
  • Sociology


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