NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ941091
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0261-510X
Definitions of Bullying: Age Differences in Understanding of the Term, and the Role of Experience
Monks, Claire P.; Smith, Peter K.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, v24 n4 p801-821 Nov 2006
We report two studies that examine age differences in pupils' and parents' definitions of the term "bullying," and possible reasons for these including the role of specific experiences. Study 1 compared definitions of "bullying" given by participants in four age groups; 4 to 6 years, 8 years, 14 years and adult. Participants were shown/read 17 different cartoon scenarios and were asked if each constituted an episode of bullying or not. Multidimensional scaling indicated that the groups differed in their definition of "bullying." 4- to 6-year-olds and 8-year-olds used 1 dimension, a distinction between aggressive and non-aggressive acts, when differentiating cartoons; 14-year-olds and adults gave a 2-dimensional solution, also distinguishing between physical and non-physical (social/relational or verbal) acts. Study 2 further investigated definitions of bullying given by 99 children aged 4 to 6 years, and the role of experience. Just over half had some understanding of the term, but tended to be less concerned about power differences and repetition of actions. No significant differences in definitions were found between boys and girls, or between children in involved (aggressor, victim or defender) or not involved (bystander) roles; however, aggressors were more likely than other children to say that 11 of the 13 aggressive behaviours were not bullying. These findings are discussed in relation to age related changes in experiences of bullying and cognitive development. Implications for interventions and research are also raised.
British Psychological Society. St Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester, LE1 7DR, UK. Tel: +44-116-254-9568; Fax: +44-116-227-1314; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A