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

In a study which began in 1990, over 6,000 primary and secondary school children in Sheffield were asked about bullying. Their answers showed that there is not much difference in the number of boys and girls being bullied. However, twice as many boys as girls admitted to bullying others. It was found that boys tended to be bullied by other boys, while girls were bullied by both girls and boys. Pupils' answers also revealed that it was more common for boys to be involved in physical bullying while girls were more likely than boys to be involved in psychological bullying (such as ignoring someone or deliberately keeping someone out of things).
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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 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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