Authoritative classroom climate and its relations to bullying victimization and bystander behaviors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Authoritative school climates have been associated with less school bullying and other antisocial behaviors. However, studies focusing on the classroom level, as well as on bystander behaviors, are lacking. The aim of the current study was to examine whether authoritative classroom climates were associated with bullying victimization and various bystander behaviors (reinforcer, outsider, and defender behaviors) in school bullying. We included gender as a covariate at the individual and classroom levels. Participants were 1540 5th-grade students (824 girls) from 104 classrooms in Sweden who completed a questionnaire. The findings revealed that girls and students in classes with greater authoritative classroom climates were more inclined to defend. Boys reinforced more as did students in classes with more boys and more authoritative classroom climates. Boys showed more outsider behaviors as did students in classes with less authoritative classroom climates. Students in classrooms with less authoritative climates were victimized to a higher degree. Thus, the current findings suggest that a warm, caring, supportive, controlled, demanding, and cohesive classroom climate should be considered a vital protective factor against bullying victimization and negative bystander responses, and a facilitator of defending and supporting victims.


External organisations
  • Linköping University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences
  • Applied Psychology


  • authoritative, bullying, bystander, classroom climate, defending, school climate, victimization
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-680
Number of pages18
JournalSchool Psychology International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch