Bullied by siblings: association with peer victimisation and behaviour problems in Israeli lower secondary school children


Professor Dieter Wolke, University of Bristol, ALSPAC, Division of Child Health, 24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ, UK; Email: Dieter.Wolke@bristol.ac.uk


Background:  The association of bullying victimisation by siblings with a) involvement in bullying at school and b) behaviour problems among lower secondary school children in Israel was investigated.

Method:  Self-report questionnaires of sibling victimisation, peer bullying experiences and behaviour problems were completed by 921 pupils aged 12–15 (mean age 13.7 years).

Results:  Of the sample, 16.2% were directly bullied by their siblings at home and 11.9% were direct victims of bullying by peers at school every week. More than half of victims of bullying by siblings (50.7%) were also involved in bullying behaviour at school compared to only 12.4% of those not victimised by siblings, indicating a strong link between intrafamilial and extrafamilial peer relationships. Children with poor sibling and peer relationships were at a highly increased risk for behaviour problems. Ethnic (Israeli Jewish vs. Arab) and sex differences were small compared to the effects of sibling relationship on behaviour problems.

Conclusion:  Intervention strategies directed at reducing bullying in school should take into account pupils’ experiences of victimisation by siblings at home.