An analysis of the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire using the Rasch measurement model

Br J Educ Psychol. 2006 Dec;76(Pt 4):781-801. doi: 10.1348/000709905X53499.


Background: Bullying is a problem in schools in many countries. There would be a benefit in the availability of a psychometrically sound instrument for its measurement, for use by teachers and researchers. The Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire has been used in a number of studies but comprehensive evidence on its validity is not available.

Aims: To examine the conceptual design, construct validity and reliability of the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ) and to provide further evidence on the prevalence of different forms of bullying behaviour.

Sample: All 335 pupils (160 [47.8%] girls; 175 [52.2%]) boys, mean age 11.9 years [range 11.2-12.8 years]), in 21 classes of a stratified sample of 7 Greek Cypriot primary schools.

Method: The OBVQ was administered to the sample. Separate scales were created comprising (a) the items of the questionnaire concerning the extent to which pupils are being victimized; and (b) those concerning the extent to which pupils express bullying behaviour. Using the Rasch model, both scales were analysed for reliability, fit to the model, meaning, and validity. Both scales were also analysed separately for each of two sample groups (i.e. boys and girls) to test their invariance.

Results: Analysis of the data revealed that the instrument has satisfactory psychometric properties; namely, construct validity and reliability. The conceptual design of the instrument was also confirmed. The analysis leads also to suggestions for improving the targeting of items against student measures. Support was also provided for the relative prevalence of verbal, indirect and physical bullying. As in other countries, Cypriot boys used and experienced more bullying than girls, and boys used more physical and less indirect forms of bullying than girls.

Conclusions: The OBVQ is a psychometrically sound instrument that measures two separate aspects of bullying, and whose use is supported for international studies of bullying in different countries. However, improvements to the questionnaire were also identified to provide increased usefulness to teachers tackling this significant problem facing schools in many countries.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Violence / psychology*