Who escapes or remains a victim of bullying in primary school?
Article first published online: 23 DEC 2010
2009 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 835–851, November 2009
How to Cite
Wolke, D., Woods, S. and Samara, M. (2009), Who escapes or remains a victim of bullying in primary school?. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27: 835–851. doi: 10.1348/026151008X383003
- Issue published online: 23 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 23 DEC 2010
- Received 12 December 2007; revised version received 10 October 2008
The stability of both direct and relational victimization and factors that contribute to remaining, escaping or becoming a victim of bullying were investigated. 663 children at baseline aged 6–9 (years 2–4) were interviewed about their bullying experiences and parents completed a behaviour and health measure. Children's perception of the degree of social hierarchical structuring and social prominence in their class was determined by peer nominations. 432 children participated in the follow-up either 2 or 4 years after baseline aged 10–11 (year 6) and completed a bullying questionnaire. Relational victims and children from classes with a high hierarchical structure were more likely to have dropped out of the study compared to neutral children, and children from classes with a low hierarchical structure. Relative risk analyses indicated a twofold increased risk of remaining a direct victim at follow-up, compared to a child not involved at baseline becoming a victim over the follow-up period. In contrast, relational victimization increased but was not found to be stable. Logistic regression analyses revealed that being a girl, and receiving few positive peer nominations predicted remaining a direct victim. Becoming a relational victim at follow-up was predicted by a strong class hierarchy. The implications for future study of early recognition of likely long term victims and early preventative bullying initiatives are discussed.