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Bullying Among School Children in the United States (From Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Youth and Violence, P 159-173, 1998, Meredith W Watts, ed. -- See NCJ-180190)

NCJ Number
Susan P. Limber; Vicki C. Flerx; Maury A. Nation; Gary B. Melton
Meredith W. Watts
Date Published
15 pages
Bullying among children is not a new phenomenon, but there has been a recent surge of interest in the issue by researchers, educators, and the media.
Although the concept of bullying among children may hold somewhat different connotations for students, educators, parents, and researchers, bullying is most commonly understood to involve repeated negative acts committed by one or more children against another. Rates of bullying vary somewhat according to age and gender. Age trends in bullying suggest that the likelihood of being bullied decreases as children age, and boys are more likely than girls to bully other children. Many believe that victimized children are singled out for abuse because of external characteristics such as obesity, wearing glasses, or having red hair, but research consistently shows that external characteristics play a relatively small role in the origin of victimization. Further, the common belief that bullies engage in aggressive behavior to compensate for psychological insecurities has not been supported by research. Bullying takes many forms, including physical aggression, verbal assault, and more indirect actions such as social isolation and friendship manipulation. Bullying occurs more frequently on school grounds than on the way to or from school. Despite the high prevalence of bullying in schools and the harm it brings to victims, many children do not report their victimization to teachers, other school staff, or parents. Children's reluctance to inform school personnel about being bullied may reflect a lack of confidence that their concerns will be handled appropriately. Effects of bullying on child victims are briefly examined, and the relationship between bullying and other behavior problems is addressed. Strategies to reduce bullying are described that focus on classroom, individual, and community interventions. 46 references and 1 note


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