This study demonstrates the usefulness of an innovative approach in investigating the mediating role of aggressive attitudes in associations between reports of school climate and the prevalence of teasing and bullying.
Traditional observed variable multilevel models for evaluating indirect effects are limited by their inability to quantify measurement and sampling error. They are further restricted by their inability to fully separate within and between-level effects without bias. Doubly latent models reduce these biases by decomposing the observed within-level indicators into within and between-level latent components. This decomposition simultaneously controls for both measurement error at each level, and sampling error in the aggregation of individual values that serve as indicators of higher-level constructs. In the current application of this method, teacher perceived justness and support in schools were both found to be indirectly associated with the prevalence of teasing and bullying through aggressive attitudes, and teacher perceived support was found to be directly associated with teasing and bullying. In illustrating the proposed statistical modeling approach, however, this report advises that no statistical modeling approach can in itself establish causal inferences and that such claims related to mediational relationships may require longitudinal data. More simulation work in this area is needed to better understand the behavioral model estimates under different design conditions. 2 tables, 1 figure, and 70 references (publisher abstract modified)