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Are there differences in the bullying experiences of girls and boys?

Key statement

Many studies have found that there are differences in the bullying experiences of boys and girls. Most of the studies covered here have found that it is more common for boys to be involved in physical bullying. Girls on the other hand are more likely than boys to be involved in psychological bullying (for example ignoring someone or deliberately keeping someone out of a group). However, for both boys and girls, the most common type of bullying is verbal.


The research finding that boys are more likely to be involved in physical bullying than girls is unsurprising. However, we should not assume that because of this, bullying among boys is more serious or damaging than that among girls. It could be that the more obvious methods of bullying used by boys makes it easier to spot - and to stop - than the subtlety of girls' bullying.

It is also worth noting that many of the cases of suicide where bullying has been identified as a cause, have involved girls who have not been physically bullied but 'only' subjected to name-calling and isolation.

This is one of those areas that really does need more research. Another relates to the differing levels of peer support available to older boys and girls. Is it really true (as I and others have observed) that teenage girls are more likely than teenage boys, to have the emotional support of a close friend? And, if this is true, does this then mean that a girl who does not have a 'best friend' will feel far more isolated and inadequate than a friendless boy?
(Andrew Mellor)

Do you want to find out more?

More 1 - 16,000 children surveyed in Strathclyde
More 2 - Sheffield study
More 3 - study in 19 English schools
More 4 - 1987 Scottish survey
More 5 - 26,000 Australian children surveyed
More 6 - study in 25 English schools
More 7 - study in 120 Northern Ireland schools

More 1 - 7 on one page!




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