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Keywords:

  • bully;
  • victim;
  • attitude;
  • gender

Abstract

Using large-scale survey data from Italy, and England, findings are reported for attitudes to school bullying; specifically the extent to which children expect their teachers, or other children, to intervene in bullying; and the extent to which children either empathise with victims of bullying, or state that they themselves would do something about it. Findings were broadly similar in most respects, in the two countries. Teachers were thought to intervene fairly often, other children more rarely. Most children had sympathetic attitudes and behaviour toward victims of bullying, but a significant minority, including many self-reported bullies, did not. Girls were more empathic to victims than boys, but were not more likely to intervene. The main cultural difference was that older Italian children were more empathic than younger children, with the reverse difference in England. However in both countries, the likelihood of reported intervention was less with older children. The results are discussed in relation to theoretical viewpoints, and practical implications for schools. Aggr. Behav. 23:245–257, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.