Revista Adolescência e Saúde

Revista Oficial do Núcleo de Estudos da Saúde do Adolescente / UERJ

NESA Publicação oficial
ISSN: 2177-5281 (Online)

Vol. 15 nº 4 - Oct/Dec - 2018

Original Article Imprimir 

Páginas 36 a 43

Physical school violence perpetrated against students of public schools in a municipality in northeastern Brazil

Violencia física escolar perpetrada contra alumnos de escuelas públicas de un municipio del noreste brasileño

Violência física escolar perpetrada contra alunos de escolas públicas de um município do nordeste brasileiro

Autores: Gustavo Correia Basto da Silva1; Emanuella de Castro Marcolino2; Alessandro Leite Cavalcanti3

1. Graduation in Dentistry by the State University of Paraíba (UEPB). Master´s degree in Public Health by the UEPB. Campina Grande- PB, Brazil
2. Graduation in Nursing, bachelor´s degree by the State University of Paraíba (UEPB). Master´s degree in Public Health by the UEPB. Campina Grande, PB, Brazil. Doctoral student in Nursing by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). Natal, RN, Brazil
3. Post-Doctorate in Pediatric Dentistry by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil. Doctorate in Dentistry by the Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB). João Pessoa, PB, Brazil. Master´s degree in Dentistry by the São Paulo University (USP). São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Associated Teacher of the State University of Paraíba (UEPB). Campina Grande, PB, Brazil

Gustavo Correia Basto da Silva
Rua Emídio Lucas da Silva, Bairro Universitário
Campina Grande, PB, Brasil. CEP: 58497-000

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How to cite this article

Keywords: Violence, adolescent, bullying.
Palabra Clave: Violencia, adolescente, bullying.
Descritores: Violência, adolescente, bullying.

OBJECTIVE: Describe the profile of physical violence suffered by adolescents in public schools in a municipality in northeastern Brazil.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study using a direct observation technique involving adolescents aged between10 to 19 years old from a municipal school network of Campina Grande - PB. A total of 694 questionnaires were answered by schoolchildren from 6th to 9th grade, in which the frequency of school violence was verified, a scale ranging from "none" to "7 times or more" was used. Using the program SPSS®, association tests were used, and also bivariate analysis, such as Pearson's Chi-square test and Fisher's exact test, with a significance level of 5%.
RESULTS: A total of 678 cases of physical violence were verified among the students. Physical violence was self-reported by 63.27%, predominantly female. The girls suffered more slaps, and the boys were hit harder by punching and kicking.
CONCLUSION: There was a considerable involvement of physical violence against students of public schools, and there is a need to stimulate actions that culminate in the prevention of this problem.

OBJETIVO: Describir el perfil de la violencia física sufrida por adolescentes en escuelas públicas de un municipio del noreste brasileño.
MÉTODOS: Se realizó un estudio transversal, con técnica de observación directa, que involucró a la población de escolares adolescentes, con edad entre 10 y 19 años de la red municipal de enseñanza de la zona urbana de Campina Grande - PB. Se obtuvieron 694 cuestionarios respondidos por escolares del 6º al 9º año, en los cuales se verificó la frecuencia de violencia escolar. Se utilizó una escala que varía entre "ninguna" y "7 o más". Utilizando el programa SPSS® realizamos test de asociación y análisis bivariado, como el test Chi-Cuadrado de Pearson y el test Exacto de Fisher, con un nivel de significación del 5%.
RESULTADOS: Se verificó un total de 678 casos de violencia física entre los alumnos. La violencia física fue auto indicada por el 63,27%, predominando en el sexo femenino. Las niñas sufrieron más bofetadas, ya los niños fueron más agredidos por golpes y patadas.
CONCLUSIÓN: Se verificó un considerable acometimiento de violencia física contra alumnos de escuelas públicas, habiendo la necesidad de la estimulación de acciones que culminen en la prevención de esta problemática.

OBJETIVO: Descrever o perfil da violência física sofrida por adolescentes em escolas públicas de um município do nordeste brasileiro.
MÉTODOS: Foi realizado um estudo transversal, com técnica de observação direta, que envolveu a população de escolares adolescentes, com idade entre 10 e 19 anos da rede municipal de ensino da zona urbana de Campina Grande - PB. Obteve-se 694 questionários respondidos por escolares do 6º ao 9º ano, nos quais se verificou a frequência da violência escolar. Foi utilizada uma escala que variou entre "nenhuma" e "7 vezes ou mais". Utilizando o programa SPSS® fizemos testes de associação e análise bivariada, como o Teste do Qui-quadrado de Pearson e Exato de Fisher, com nível de significância de 5%.
RESULTADOS: Foi verificado um total de 678 casos de violência física entre os alunos. A violência física foi autorrelatada por 63,27%, predominando o sexo feminino. As meninas sofreram mais tapas, já os meninos foram mais atingidos por socos e chutes.
CONCLUSÃO: Foi verificado um considerável acometimento da violência física contra alunos de escolas públicas, havendo a necessidade da estimulação de ações que culminem na prevenção desta problemática.


Violence is configured as a major public health problem worldwide1, and it is a multifactorial etiologic profile2 generates physical, emotional and social damage often irreparable and reduce the quality of life, and to devise a considerable expense to public power. The school environment is not exempt from carrying out acts of violence and its most common manifestation in these places is Perceive to by Bullying3, which can be understood by the experience of victimization of hostility practiced by other students and/or employees with a physical or emotional purpose 4. According to the estimates of the World Health Organization, a third of the students reported being victims of bullying in schools, an indicator that signals the need for intervention actions and awareness that enable a reduction to this practice5.

Violence against children and adolescents is a problem constantly discussed around the world by abruptly reaching diverse nations. Being an environment inhabited preferably by young people, there is a great presence of physical violence in schools7. School violence is characterized by intentional and repetitive application of aggressive behavior, desire and not to directly or indirectly causing destructive disorders commonly for development school6. It can manifest itself directly through physical aggressions, threats and insults, and indirectly through the power relations in which individuals use forms of exclusion to gain territorial domains8.

There is a high prevalence of violence between peers in school environments, either by the use of power in an emotionally coercive manner or by physical aggression, resulting in serious harm to the health of students, such as fatigue, insomnia, psychosomatic disorders, anxiety, functional damage by learning disability, absence or dropping out of school, reduced sleep quality and even own committed suicide9.

Some factors can influence the aggressive behavior of students, such as a conflictive family life, the cultural transmission of gender violence practices personified in its majority by the masculine figure like the detainer of the power and the manipulation, previous psychological problems, low income, contact with users of alcohol and drugs10. The fact that the individual as a child exposed to violence - be it physical or psychological - witness certain aggressive situations, lead towards to a higher probability in the future to practice violence in school life11.

In a study12 developed in African territory it was found that almost half (47%) of the children consulted reported being the victim of peer violence in schools, especially groups of girls and homosexuals, since in these groups a strong association was found between violence school and issues of gender. Other very important factor related violence in school is the participation of people with disabilities, because the groups most vulnerable and dependent situations, so it is target of multiple forms of aggression and insults12.

Starting in 1990, with the promulgation of the Statute of the Child and Adolescent, policies for monitoring and confronting violence against children and adolescents in Brazil were developed, resulting in the inclusion of interpersonal violence and self perpetrated in the Compulsory Notification List. In 2001, the notification instruments related to abuse against children and adolescents assisted by the Unified Health System were regulated, causing conflicts among health professionals in the sense of the difficulty of identifying signs and symptoms related to these abuses13.

To the above, he or objet was to describe the profile of physical violence suffered by adolescents in public schools in a city in the Brazilian northeast.


A cross-sectional study with inductive approach and extensive direct observation technique14. The study involved the population of adolescent school children, between 10 and 19 years of age, of the 4th cycle of primary education in the municipal network of the urban area of Campina Grande, the second largest city in the state of Paraíba. The selection of the participants was by means of sampling of the probabilistic type or by conglomerate in a stratum (groups). The calculation of the size of the sample was done taking into account the prevalence of l 50% of school violence, being adopted a confidence level of 95% and margin of error d 5%, design effect (Deff) of 1,7 and an increase of 20% for losses. In that sense, the final sample estimated in 678 adolescents was calculated. The proportional distribution of the sample was carried out considering the number of students per school in order to guarantee the representativeness of the same.

The data collection instrument used is called Scale of school violence (EVE). This is characterize by the scale like Likert type with the objective of investigating the frequency and severity of school violence, as well as identifying the victims and aggressors15. In the items to verify the frequency of school violence, the scale is in the order of none, one or 2 times, 3 or 4 times, 5 or 6 times, 7 times or plus. The EVE for students is composed of four subscales defined by factor analysis: victimization of students by students; the victimization of students by school officials; authorship of violence to students by students; risk behavior of students15.

Data collection

The data collection was performed by the responsible researcher and two researcher collaborators. The collaboration team went through a inter-examiner calibration process developed during the execution of the pilot study.

At the end of the data collection, 694 questionnaires were answered by school children from the 6th to the 9th year of the municipal schools of Campina Grande.

Data Analysis

The elaboration of the data bank and the statistical analysis of it was based on the statistical program Statistical Package for the Social Sciences - SPSS®, version 18.0. The descriptive analysis was delineated by means of the absolute distributions, in percentages and the statistical measures: mean, median and deviated or standard, in order to characterize the frequency and severity of the school violence. Regarding the bivariate analysis, it was used the the test of association Chi- square and Fisher's Exact. The level of significance to be adopted in the statistical tests was 5% and the 95% confidence interval.

For the analysis of the intensity of school violence - bullying - was use a cut point: more than four victimizations of the same act of school violence, in according with the study16.

Ethical Aspects

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the State University of Paraíba (CAAE 27623214.3.0000.5187). In accordance with Resolution No. 466/2012 of the National Health Council, participants in the survey were asked the permission from parents or guardians through the signing of the Term of Free and Illustrious Consent and Term of Free and Informed Consent.


In the study period check test, a total of 678 cases were verified for physical violence experienced by students in the public schools. In relation to the self stories, 63.27% of the students indicated to have suffered physical violence; of these, 59.91% were female and 40.09% male (Table 1).

With respect to the variable "suffer slapping", girls were the most affected (58.03%). When consulted the fact repetition, most cases present a profile of one or two repetitions, however sixteen students reported having experienced more than seven slaps at the time of the survey. All occasions "suffer slapping" and "suffer kicks" the young girl suffered more, indicating a total of 67 and 92 patients, respectively (Table 2).


It was possible to verify a high frequency of victims of physical violence among adolescents from public schools in Campina Grande. Both studies conducted in Brazil and studies from other countries showed similar results in terms of the high rate of adolescent girls, either directly or indirectly7, 13, what it causes a concern with regard to violence in this age group, since the relationship between adolescence and vulnerability to violence is quite clear be a group more prone to acquire harmful habits.

Violence against women is present in all age groups in an amazing way - fact notorious historically by gender inequality and involving the inferiority cultures of women. Even with the promulgation of the Maria da Penha Law in Brazil, there is still a high attack against women, especially the one perpetrated by their partners, in spite of this scenario being modified, by the number of complaints register and punishment of these attackers17.

A study carried out in Quebec, Canada, has shown that adolescents are more prone to violence, especially psychological, constant threats and sexual abuse. This information is aggravated from the moment in which takes in consideration the fights between boyfriends, which characterizes a picture fear, anxiety and traumatic post stress18. In Brazil, in addition to the high prevalence of violence against female adolescents, there are also concerns frequent s abuses against pregnant women, reaching an alarming scenario, since among the notifications of violence against women, almost half of them were pregnant. This type of violence is perceived due to the fact that in the period of gestation women are at greater social and emotional vulnerability, because the psychological state and physical and emotional dependence inherent in the range of pregnancy facilitate the practice of violence against this group. This fact is justified based on knowledge historical-social, from which it is perceived that since prehistoric times women occupy a subordinate social position, giving rise to the appearance of violence against her. In this study there was a higher record of violence against girls, although the difference is not statistically significant according to the findings in the literature13, 20.

The high frequency of violence in the school environment was reported and discussed in other studies National is 14.21, however this article specifies the type of violence among public school students. Thus, a division was made as to how the school suffered violence and, thereafter, was subdivided into events suffer slaps, punches and kicks.

As for slapping, female sex was the hardest hit, fact justified by the fact that this nomenclature was commonly related to the less aggressive form, perpetrated more frequently by girls in school environment, showing statistically significant.

The National School Health Research look for, in the years 2009, 2012 and 2015, carry out a study of the prevalence of bullying in public and private schools of the 26 brazilian capitals, with ninth-year primary school students. It was observed an increase in the prevalence of bullying between the years of the investigations, reaching 19.8%. In this scenario, vulnerable social profiles were identified, particularly in the sense of the familiar context in which there is a reality of frequent aggression and faults to school without justification. The use of drugs, including tobacco, the experience of premature sexual intercourse and maternal schooling were strongly associated to the bullying. The children suffered more bullying in the three editions of the survey, which confirms the findings of this study22. Thus, the need for inclusion of school violence in patterns of parliamentary debates was perceived, with the goal of formulary public policies aimed at mitigating of the effects of this type of violence, taking into account its potential growth and destructive effect on society, especially in adolescence, because it is considered a period in which the personality and ideals of the world are in consolidation.

In some studies that analyzed the relationship between school violence and the family context, data could be obtained that showed a relationship between the experience of violence in school and coexistence in a family environment in which bad behavior prevails, physical violence, death, assault, use and trafficking of drugs, favoring the adherence of these young people to this Reality17.23.

It is possible to infer that, to hold a debate at school level that included to the issue of violence - in their various aspects - and adoption of the students into a high level language to try to introduce respectful social practices, awareness and even satisfactory results may be achieved in the fight against the spread of violence among24.

In addition to the physical violence observed in schools, in a review study25 a great prevalence of psychological violence was verified, especially against the female gender, as well as experience of humiliations, contempt, bullying and the preconception. These aspects were fundamental for the increase of the lack of schooling due to the feeling of insecurity, which often causes devastating reactions such as social isolation and a psychological picture suggestive of stress and depression.

When performing an analysis of school violence in relation to gender issues, there is a greater involvement of men, both in the sense of victimization, such as carrying out acts of violent aggression, as seen in this study26. It is justifiable when these acts are related to machismo as territorial domain, when individuals of the male sex are conditioned to exercise and, with this, reaffirm their masculinity before society, through the practice of aggression, be it physical or psychological, historical fact that accompanies society27.

It can be highlighted as fragility of the study the breadth of the methodological approach limited to public schools, given the high probability that these schools are located in urban areas with greater social vulnerability, in which school violence is more prevalent, in addition to the damage when refers to external validity, since a group of students limited to primary education has been studied, with the characteristics of age, making it difficult to extrapolate the data to secondary school, although there are records of higher prevalence of physical violence among elementary school students28. Despite the ratification of this inference, there is a difference in the pattern of school physical violence according to different social classes, among which is public school students have more access to weapons, compared to private schools29. Another observed fragility is due to the transversal delineation, since a cause and effect relationship can´t be established.

In counterpart, despite such frailties verified, this study is notable for data indicating the seriousness of violence among students from the public school, noting the exposure situation of those adolescents to physical violence. As violence is considered a phenomenon of complex consistency, it is suggested the development of studies that seek to relate such phenomenology to socioeconomic, religious, cultural and psychosocial aspects, in order to broaden the analysis of the factors that influence its emergence.


In view of a verified juncture, it is possible to establish the inference from which it is affirmed that the violence in these school camps represents the reality of these students, leading to health-related physical damage.

There was a high prevalence of physical violence among adolescents in public schools. Male adolescents were the most affected in the most aggressive form of violence.

Therefore, violence in the school context must be understood as a multifaceted phenomenon, requiring the actions of the various actors who act in this environment, in the sense of expanding actions that encourage the prevention of this problem.


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