Bullying among Australian school children: reported behavior and attitudes toward victims

J Soc Psychol. 1991 Oct;131(5):615-27. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1991.9924646.


The extent of bullying among Australian school children and attitudes toward victims of bullying were investigated in a survey of Australian school children between the ages of 6 and 16 years (n = 685) and their teachers (n = 32). Approximately 1 child in 10 was subjected to peer group bullying. Boys reported being bullied more often than girls, who tended to be more supportive of victims. With increasing age, there was a slight but significant decline in reported bullying; notably, however, attitudes toward victims became less supportive. Attitudes toward victims were examined in detail by using a reliable and validated 20-item Likert scale. Factor analyses of the children's responses yielded three interpretable factors: a tendency to despise the victims of bullies; general admiration for school bullies; and avowed support for intervention to assist the victim. An understanding of such attitudes is desirable for designing effective intervention programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Attitude*
  • Child
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Dominance-Subordination*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Environment*
  • Sociometric Techniques
  • South Australia