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How common is bullying?

In 1990, over 6,000 children from junior/middle and secondary schools in Sheffield were asked about their experiences of bullying. Over a quarter of the children (27%) from the junior/middle schools said they had been bullied 'sometimes' or more often and 10% said they were being bullied at least once a week. The numbers dropped when secondary pupils were asked, with 10% saying they had been bullied 'sometimes' or more often and 4% saying that they were bullied at least once a week. When asked about bullying others, 12% of the junior/middle pupils admitted to bullying 'sometimes' or more often and 4% to bullying once a week or more. 1% of the secondary school pupils in the study admitted to bullying once a week or more.
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Article details

I Whitney and P Smith (1993) 'A Survey of the Nature and Extent of Bullying in Junior/Middle and Secondary Schools', in 'Educational Research', Volume 35, Number 1, Spring.
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Graph details

'Percentage of boys and girls (averaged by class and school) who reported being bullied and bullying others during this school term' from the Whitney and Smith article above, table 1, page 8.

Junior/Middle Schools Secondary Schools
Sometimes or more Once a week or more Sometimes or more Once a week or more
Been bullied:        
Boys (N = 1271) 28 10 12 5
Girls (N = 1352) 27 10 9 4
Overall (N = 2623) 27 10 10 4
Bullied others:        
Boys (N = 2152) 16 6 8 2
Girls (N = 1983) 7 1 4 1
Overall (N = 4135) 12 4 6 1

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Author details

Peter SmithProfessor Peter K Smith is Head of the Unit for School and Family Studies, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, London. He has been involved in bullying research for a number of years and has published widely on this topic.

Peter Smith may be contacted by email, and the website of the Unit for School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths College may be found here.
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