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J Sch Health. 2005 Dec;75(10):384-92.

Bullying perspectives: experiences, attitudes, and recommendations of 9- to 13-year-olds attending health education centers in the United States.

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  • 1Department of Health Education, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-4632, USA.


Because 1 in 5 elementary school and 1 in 10 middle school students in the United States report being bullied, understanding student perspectives is crucial to prevention. This study solicited opinions of 9- to 13-year-olds regarding the magnitude of, causes of, and remedies for bullying. Data were obtained from 1229 students visiting 11 health education centers in seven states. Students responded via anonymous, electronic keypads. Half the respondents said they have been bullied at least once in a while. When bullied, almost half said they fight back, about a fourth tell an adult, and 20% do nothing; only 8% try to talk to the bully. Nearly two thirds claimed they tell or try to stop bullying when they see it, but 16% do nothing, and 20% join in. Almost three fourths believed bullying is "uncool," yet 42% said they bully at least occasionally. Bullies and victims were more likely to be middle school age. Frequent bullies were more likely to think it is cool, to fight back when bullied, and to join in when others are bullied. Two classes of victims were apparent. Victims who also bully often said that bullying occurs because others are not friendly to bullies or because bullies want to get their way; many also admitted that they do not know how it can be stopped. Victims who do not bully were most likely to do nothing when bullied but to try to stop the bullying of others. Recommendations are given for using these findings to customize curricula or programs.

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