Testing how teachers’ self-efficacy and student-teacher relationships moderate the association between bullying, victimization, and student self-esteem

Danelien van Aalst*, Gijs Huitsing, Tim Mainhard, Antonius H. N. Cillessen, René Veenstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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This study investigated how teachers’ self-efficacy for intervening in social dynamics and teacher-student relationships directly impact students’ self-esteem, and indirectly buffer the negative association between both bullying and victimization and students’ self-esteem. Teachers play a key role in shaping the peer relations in the classroom, and they might also be able to lessen the negative impact of bullying and victimization on students’ self-esteem. Multilevel regression analysis on a sample of 59 Dutch teachers and 1,490 of their 5th grade students indicated that student-reported bullying and victimization were negatively related to students’ self-reported self-esteem. Better student-perceived student-teacher relationships were related to higher self-esteem for all students, with additional increases in self-esteem for victims but decreases in the self-esteem of bullies. Teacher-reported self-efficacy was only related to lower self-esteem in bullies. Implications of these results and suggestions for further research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-947
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date15-Apr-2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Teachers' Self-Efficacy
  • Bullying
  • Victimization
  • Self-Esteem
  • Student-teacher relationship

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