Bullies and victims at school: Are they the same pupils?
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2007 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Educational Psychology
Volume 77, Issue 2, pages 441–464, June 2007
How to Cite
Solberg, M. E., Olweus, D. and Endresen, I. M. (2007), Bullies and victims at school: Are they the same pupils?. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77: 441–464. doi: 10.1348/000709906X105689
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 7 March 2005; revised version received 30 January 2006
Background. The reported prevalence of bully-victims and aggressive/provocative victims varies quite considerably in previous research, and only a few studies have reported prevalence rates across grades. There is also a lack of detailed analyses of the extent to which victims are also bullies, and bullies are also victims.
Aims. To study the prevalence of male and female bully-victims across grade/age and to establish the degree of overlap or relative size of the bully-victim group by relating them to all victims, all bullies and all involved students.
Samples. Participants in Study 1 were 5,171 pupils in grades 5–9 from 37 schools. Study 2 comprised 12,983 pupils in grades 4–10 from 66 schools.
Methods. The Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire was administered to the pupils in their ordinary classrooms.
Results. The prevalence of bully-victims was low and mainly declined across grades. There were far more boys than girls in the bully-victim group. Bully-victims resembled victims only (pure victims) in terms of age-trends and bullies only (pure bullies) in terms of sex composition. The overlap of bully-victims with the total victim group was fairly small (10–20%) in all grades. In primary grades, bully-victims constituted about 30–50% of the total bully group, whereas in higher grades these proportions were considerably lower.
Conclusion. Our analyses and overview of previous research suggest that the bully-victim group is small, and that the large variations across studies are mainly due to differences in choice of cutoff point. Bully-victims should generally be seen and treated statistically as a distinct subgroup. The relatively larger proportion of bully-victims in lower grades should be explored further.