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The Dyadic Nature of Bullying and Victimization: Testing a Dual-Perspective Theory


  • This research is part of the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS). Participating centers of TRAILS include various Departments of the University of Groningen, the Erasmus Medical Center of Rotterdam, the Radboud University of Nijmegen, University of Utrecht, and the Trimbos Institute, the Netherlands. TRAILS is financially supported by grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (GB-MW 940-38-011, GB-MAGW 480-01-006, GB-MAGW 457-03-018, NWO 175.010.2003.005, ZonMw 100-001-001, ZonMw 60-60600-98-018), the Ministry of Justice (WODC), and by the participating centers. We are grateful to Ernest V. E. Hodges and Sijmen A. Reijneveld for their useful comments on this article. Earlier versions were presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, San Francisco, CA, March 2006, at a NSF-Sponsored Conference on Modeling Interdependent Data in Developmental Psychology, Lawrence, KA, June 2006, and at the biennial meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Melbourne, Australia, July 2006.

concerning this article should be addressed to René Veenstra, Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology, University of Groningen, Grote Rozenstraat 31, 9712 TG Groningen, the Netherlands. Electronic mail may be sent to


For this study, information on Who Bullies Who was collected from 54 school classes with 918 children (M age = 11) and 13,606 dyadic relations. Bullying and victimization were viewed separately from the point of view of the bully and the victim. The two perspectives were highly complementary. The probability of a bully–victim relationship was higher if the bully was more dominant than the victim, and if the victim was more vulnerable than the bully and more rejected by the class. In a bully–victim dyad, boys were more often the bullies. There was no finding of sex effect for victimization. Liking reduced and disliking increased the probability of a bully–victim relationship.