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Correlates of Bullying Behavior Among Children and Adolescents in Physical Education: A Systematic Review.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Bullying is notably prevalent among children and adolescents, especially within the context of physical education (PE) environments. Understanding the underlying factors that trigger bullying behavior is essential in designing strategies to prevent bullying and formulating more effective interventions in PE. There is a lack of integrated findings regarding the wide range of correlates of bullying behavior among children and adolescents within the PE context. Therefore, this systematic review aimed to synthesize the correlates of bullying behavior among children and adolescents within the context of PE.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic search across four databases (EBSCOhost, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science) for relevant studies published before August 2023. Two reviewers independently examined the articles, assessed their methodological quality, and performed data extraction.

RESULTS: A total of 23 articles met the inclusion criteria. It is found that demographic, physical movement, physical appearance, psycho-cognitive, teacher-related, and contextual factors emerged as six prominent influential factors affecting adolescent bullying behavior. Specifically, demographic factors mainly encompassed age and gender; physical movement factors primarily include physical activity, sedentary behavior, physical exercise, and sports competence; physical appearance factors primarily include being overweight, too thin, too tall, or too short; psycho-cognitive factors chiefly involved cognitive empathy, motivation, enjoyment of physical activity; teacher-related factors primarily comprised activity choices, teachers competence, controlling style, autonomy support; and contextual factors primarily cover desolate climate, perceived caring climate, strong sense of competition and winning setting.

CONCLUSION: The results indicate that bullying is a complex and multifaced behavior primarily determined by demographic, physical movement, physical appearance, psycho-cognitive, teacher-related, and contextual factors. Future studies need to enhance the diversity of research samples and comparative studies on the factors influencing bullying behavior among children and adolescents in different countries. Additionally, a more extensive range of intervention studies addressing bullying behavior among children and adolescents is warranted.

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