How is it defined?
Bullying is when a person tries to hurt another person, and does it more than once. It can be physical, verbal, or social, and can also take place over the internet with emails or text messages. The bully is usually in a position of real or perceived power over the person being bullied. Power imbalance is viewed as a characteristic that distinguishes bullying from other similar forms of conflict (Juvonen & Graham, 2014).
The Learning Bar’s framework on the drivers of student outcomes includes measures of quality instruction, school context, classroom context and family context. School context includes measures of advocacy at school, bullying and feeling safe while attending school. Students are asked about their experiences with 4 types of bullying: physical, verbal, social, and cyber.
Why is it important?
- Bullying negatively impacts the physical, mental, and educational well-being of students with potentially severe effects (Nansel et al., 2001; Roland, 2002).
- Cyber bullying most often occurs during the transitional period between elementary and secondary school (Price & Dalgleish, 2010).
- Schools can take steps to reduce the prevalence of bullying, such as stepping in when they observe a student being bullied and ensuring that there are clear consequences for bullying which are consistently enforced (O’Moore, 2000; Pepler, Craig, Ziegler, & Charach, 1994).
How do we measure it?
In the OurSCHOOL elementary and secondary school surveys, students respond to Likert questions about their experiences with bullying. At the elementary level, students are considered to be ‘victims of moderate bullying’ if they had experienced two types of bullying in the past four weeks and students are considered to be ‘victims of severe bullying’ if they had experienced three or more types of bullying in the past four weeks. At the secondary level, students are considered to be ‘moderate victims of bullying’ if they have experienced any physical bullying in the past month, or any one of verbal, social, or cyber bullying more than once a week. Students are considered to be ‘severe victims of bullying’ if they have experienced physical bullying more than once a week, or any one of verbal, social, or cyber bullying at least 4-5 times a week. The results are reported as “the percentage of students who are victims of moderate bullying”, and “the percentage of students who are victims of severe bullying”. The results are also reported separately for each of the four types of bullying, showing the percentage of students that selected each of the Likert response categories. This enables schools to consider the overall prevalence of bullying as well as determine whether one or more specific types of bullying is especially relevant.
Juvonen, J., & Graham, S. (2014). Bullying in schools: The power of bullies and the plight of victims. Annual review of psychology, 65, 159-185.
Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. JAMA, 285(16), 2094-2100.
O'Moore, M. (2000). Critical issues for teacher training to counter bullying and victimisation in Ireland. Aggressive Behavior, 26, 99-111.
Pepler, D. J., Craig, W. M., Ziegler, S. & Charach, A. (1994). An evaluation of an anti-bullying intervention in Toronto schools. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 13(2): 95-110.
Price, M., & Dalgleish, J. (2010). Cyberbullying: Experiences, impacts and coping strategies as described by Australian young people. Youth Studies Australia, 29(2), 51.
Roland, E. (2002). Bullying, depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. Educational research, 44(1), 55-67.