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Psychol Assess. 2013 Jun;25(2):651-7. doi: 10.1037/a0031248. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

Identifying bully victims: definitional versus behavioral approaches.

Author information

1
School of Education, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA. jggreen@bu.edu

Abstract

Schools frequently assess bullying and the Olweus Bully/Victimization Questionnaire (BVQ; Olweus, 1996) is the most widely adopted tool for this purpose. The BVQ is a self-report survey that uses a definitional measurement method--describing "bullying" as involving repeated, intentional aggression in a relationship where there is an imbalance of power and then asking respondents to indicate how frequently they experienced this type of victimization. Few studies have examined BVQ validity and whether this definitional method truly identifies the repetition and power differential that distinguish bullying from other forms of peer victimization. This study examined the concurrent validity of the BVQ definitional question among 435 students reporting peer victimization. BVQ definitional responses were compared with responses to a behavioral measure that did not use the term "bullying" but, instead, included items that asked about its defining characteristics (repetition, intentionality, power imbalance). Concordance between the two approaches was moderate, with an area under the receiver operating curve of .72. BVQ responses were more strongly associated with students indicating repeated victimization and multiple forms of victimization, than with power imbalance in their relationship with the bully. Findings indicate that the BVQ is a valid measure of repeated victimization and a broad range of victimization experiences but may not detect the more subtle and complex power imbalances that distinguish bullying from other forms of peer victimization.

PMID:
23244644
PMCID:
PMC3791517
DOI:
10.1037/a0031248
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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