School Personnels Self-Esteem, Sense of Self-Efficacy and Interventions on Weight-Related Bullying According to Their Weight Perception and Dieting Behaviors

Research Article

Ann Hematol Oncol. 2021; 8(2): 1328.

School Personnel’s Self-Esteem, Sense of Self-Efficacy and Interventions on Weight-Related Bullying According to Their Weight Perception and Dieting Behaviors

Aime A1,2*, Gagnon C1, Maiano C1,2, Robert-Mazaye C1 and LeBlanc L1

¹Department of Psychoeducation and Psychology, University of Quebec in Outaouais (UQO), Canada

²Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Canada

*Corresponding author: Annie Aime, Department of Psychoeducation and Psychology, University of Quebec in Outaouais, Campus of Saint-Jérôme, 5 rue Saint-Joseph, Saint-Jérôme, QC J7Z 0B7, Canada

Received: January 13, 2021; Accepted: February 11, 2021; Published: February 18, 2021


To increase academic performance in children, elementary school personnel are encouraged to focus on socio-emotional learning. Better classroom management and safer environments, exempt of bullying and particularly of weight-related bullying, appear like ways of fostering socio-emotional learning in children. However, some school personnel’s characteristics could impact their ability to act on these dimensions. This research is interested in how weightrelated intervention behaviors, self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy vary according to school personnel’s dieting behaviors and weight perception are related to their self-esteem, sense of self-efficacy, and intervention behaviors on weight-related bullying. A total of 164 Canadian participants filled in questionnaires focusing on bullying, self-esteem, and sense of self-efficacy. Results show that most school personnel felt competent to manage their group of students and to intervene on weight-related bullying. Those who were on a diet and who perceived their weight as higher seem significantly more involved in promoting motivation for school and learning engagement in their students as well as more likely to intervene with the bully when encountering weight-related bullying situations. For their part, participants of normal weight who were on a diet had a significantly lower self-esteem than those dieting and having a perception of overweight. These results are encouraging because they suggest that elementary school personnel feel competent with regards to the socioemotional learning of their students and is actively involved in providing them a safe learning environment.

Keywords: Dieting behaviors; Weight perception; Weight-related bullying; Sense of self-efficacy; Self-esteem


BMI: Body Mass Index; HBQ: Handling Bullying Questionnaire; TSES: Teachers’ sense of efficacy scale; RSES: Rosenberg self-esteem scale; MANOVA: Multivariate analysis of variance; ANOVA: Analysis of Variance


Schools play an important role in promoting cognitive as well as socio-emotional development in children [1]. Given the association between school performance, well-being and socio-emotional competencies [2], many school-based interventions aiming at fostering socio-emotional learning have been implanted and assessed [1,3]. Such interventions and programs can, for example, focus on establishing environments in which students feel safe and valued as well as on improving classroom management to enhance behavioral adjustment, prosocial behaviors and academic performance [1]. To achieve equity, security, and well-being of children in their school environment, the involvement of teachers and school personnel is essential [4]. Those with a greater sense of self-efficacy seem effective in encouraging their students’ adopting prosocial behaviors and building a capacity to sustain positive relationships [5], whereas those who promote an environment free from bullying are supporting their students’ feeling of safety and well-being [6-10]. Bullying’s intervention appears in fact very important because only one victimization experience can be enough to compromise students’ feeling of safety and school performance [6]. Among the reasons for bullying, weight has been associated with the highest risk of bullying victimization, with students with obesity and overweight being respectively 1.63 and 1.13 times more at risk to be bullied than those with normal weight [11].

School personnel such as teachers, psychologist, school counselors, social workers or school directors may intervene differently on weight-related bullying according to some of their personal characteristics. For example, some researchers argued that perceived seriousness of the situation and empathy toward the victims are possibly impacting teachers’ responses to weight-related bullying [12]. School personnel’s perception of their own weight as well as weight control behaviors like dieting could also be relevant. Indeed, the perception of overweight is associated with a higher risk of dieting behaviors [13] and both can be nurtured by the belief that weight is controllable and can be modified through behavioral changes [14]. However, no research so far has studied whether or not weight-related bullying intervention behaviors adopted by school personnel can vary according to their weight perception and dieting behaviors.

In adults, perceiving oneself as overweight and being a frequent dieter has been linked to lower self-esteem [15,16]. Given that higher self-esteem is associated with higher sense of self-efficacy and decision making [17], weight perception and dieting behaviors of school personnel could also be pertinent to assess in the context of their ability to promote students’ engagement, provide instructions to students and manage their group of students. To our knowledge, no such study is available. Thus, the aim of this study is to assess how school personnel’s weight-related bullying intervention behaviors, self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy vary according to their weight perception and dieting behaviors.



A convenient sample of 164 Canadian school personnel (89% women, x age=37.49, SD=9.73) filled in online questionnaires. Among the participants, 59 (36,0%) were on a diet and 86 (52.43%) perceived themselves as overweight. As for objective weight measured with body mass index (BMI=kg/m²), 79 had a normal weight (BMI<25); 52 presented overweight (BMI>=25 and < 30), and 33 presented obesity (BMI>=30). While 98 (59.8%) were elementary school teachers, the other 66 (40.2%) were other elementary school personnel (e.g., psychologists, counselors, directors, social workers).


School personnel were informed of the study through emails sent from school directors, advertisements, and Facebook groups in the Province of Quebec, Canada. They could read the description of the study and access the survey link directly. The ethical certificate was obtained from the ethical committee of the first author’s University.

When measures had already been translated in French, the available versions were used. For the one not already translated (i.e., Handling bullying questionnaire), the back-translation technique [18] was used. Accordingly, an iterative process of independent forward- and back-translation was realized. At least two professional translators were involved in the translation process. Moreover, an expert committee was formed to discuss and resolved any inconsistencies between versions of the questionnaires, as well as to ensure that translated items were adequate and understandable by the participants.


Handling bullying. The Handling Bullying Questionnaire (HBQ) [19] was used to measure the type of intervention when facing bullying situations. It comprises two parts. The first one corresponds to a brief bullying scenario representing direct and indirect form of bullying. This scenario was adapted to correspond to weightrelated bullying. The second part consist of 22 items measuring five dimensions: 1-Disciplining the bully (3 items); 2-Working with the bully (5 items); 3-Working with the victim (4 items); 4-Enlisting other adults (5 items); 5-Ignoring the incident (5 items). Based on the scenario, participants have to answer to each item using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (“I definitely would not”) to 5 (“I definitely would”). A higher score on a subscale indicates a higher tendency to endorse the corresponding strategy. The English validation of the questionnaire provides modest to acceptable internal consistencies coefficients (Cronbach’s a=0.52 to 0.78) and provided support for the five factors structure [19]. The present French translation shows weak internal consistency for the Ignoring the incident subscale (a=0.39), and modest to acceptable internal consistencies coefficients for the other four subscales: Disciplining the bully (a=0.69); Working with the bully (a=0.58); Working with the victim (a=0.79); and Enlisting other adults (a=0.69).

Sense of efficacy. The Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale Long Form (TSES) was used to measure school personnel’ perception regarding their capacity to manage different school activities with their students. The long form of the TSES comprises 24 items measuring three dimensions: 1-Efficacy in student engagement (8 items), 2-Efficacy in instructional strategies (8 items), 3-Efficacy in classroom management (8 items). Participants answer to each item using a 9-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (“nothing”) to 9 (“a great deal”). A higher score indicates an elevated sense of efficacy on the dimension questioned. The French version [18] used for this study shows good internal consistencies coefficients for all dimensions of the TSES (Global score: a=0.95; efficacy in student engagement: a=0.84; efficacy in instructional strategies: a=0.90; efficacy in classroom management: a=0.90).


Four groups of participants were formed based on their answers to “diet” (i.e., yes or no) and “weight perception’s” (i.e., considering themselves as having a normal weight or as presenting overweight). They were as follow: 1-absence of dieting behaviors and perception of normal weight (No diet-normal weight; n=47); 2- absence of dieting behaviors and perception of overweight (No diet-Overweight; n=35); 3-presence of dieting behaviors and perception of normal weight (Diet-Normal weight; n=16), and 4- presence of dieting behaviors and perception of overweight (Diet-Overweight; n=35). Then, a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was used to examine group differences on intervention behaviors in weightrelated bullying situations, sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem. In case of significant MANOVA (p<.05), separate univariate ANOVA were performed.


Results show that the diet-overweight group has the highest means on almost all the measures. With regards to self-esteem, all four groups reported high total mean scores, but the diet-normal weight group had the lowest mean. The four groups also reported a high mean for sense of self-efficacy and the same trend was observed for handling bullying situations, with the four groups presenting high means on the sub-scales, except for ignoring the incident. The no-diet normal weight group reported a lower mean compared to the other three groups on the subscale “working with the bully” (Table 1).

Citation: Aime A, Gagnon C, Maiano C, Robert-Mazaye C and LeBlanc L. School Personnel’s Self-Esteem, Sense of Self-Efficacy and Interventions on Weight-Related Bullying According to Their Weight Perception and Dieting Behaviors. Ann Hematol Oncol. 2021; 8(2): 1328.