Examining ethnic, gender, and developmental differences in the way children report being a victim of "bullying" on self-report measures

J Adolesc Health. 2008 Aug;43(2):106-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.12.011. Epub 2008 May 2.


Purpose: Racial/ethnic differences in children's self-reports of being a frequent victim of bullying were assessed via two commonly used strategies: a definition-based single-item measure and behavior-based multiresponse measure.

Methods: Logistic regression analyses were conducted on survey data from 24,345 youth to examine ethnic differences in youths' responses to definition-based and behavior-based measures of victimization. Separate analyses were conducted for boys and girls at different school levels.

Results: Prevalence estimates were higher using the behavior-based measure than definition-based measure. Several ethnic differences emerged, such that African American youth tended to be less likely than their white counterparts to indicate that they were bullied using the definition-based measure. African American girls and African American and Asian middle-school boys who reported being a victim via the behavior-based measure were less likely to report being a frequent victim of "bullying" via the definition-based measure.

Conclusion: Prevalence estimates vary considerably by the way in which victimization is assessed. African American youth who were victimized tended to under-report being a victim of "bullying." Self-report studies of bullying should carefully consider the measures used to assess victimization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Maryland / epidemiology
  • Self Disclosure
  • Violence / ethnology*
  • Violence / prevention & control
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data