Girls twice as likely as boys to remain victims of bullying

January 12, 2009

Girls targeted by bullies at primary school are two and a half times more likely to remain victims than boys, according to research from the University of Warwick and University of Hertfordshire.

Researchers found girls being directly victimised by bullies (being beaten and suffering physical or verbal threats) at six years old were significantly more likely to still be a direct victim at age ten.

The study also revealed that the nature of bullying changes as children grow older, from direct victimisation (physical bullying and threats) to relational victimisation (spreading of malicious gossip or the withdrawal of friendships leading to social exclusion).

The research team, led by the University of Warwick Professor of Developmental Psychology Dieter Wolke, interviewed 663 children aged 6-9 about their bullying experiences. They also examined the peer hierarchies amongst the children by asking them to nominate the three children they liked most in their class. A follow-up questionnaire was then issued when the children were aged 10-11.

The study also revealed interesting information about the affect of bullying on the 171 children who dropped out of the study because they had actually moved schools . Professor Wolke examined the data collected for all the original participants in the study and found that those who moved schools were actually 9% more likely to have been victims of relational bullying. Professor Wolke noted that these children had significantly fewer friends and were in more hierarchically-organised classes.

Professor Wolke said: "These findings indicate that even at an early age some victims of bullying remain victims over a long period of time. The development and implementation of intervention programmes that help victims to escape further victimization in primary school are called for."

He added that the findings suggested school professionals, health practitioners and parents should be aware of children showing signs of both physical and emotional health problems, as these appeared to be important risk factors for becoming and remaining a victim.

Source: University of Warwick

Explore further: 'Duh' science: Why researchers spend so much time proving the obvious

Related Stories

Easy to bully digitally

December 29, 2010

Two out of three children have experienced bullying via the Internet or mobile phones according to a survey made by Telenor in 2008. The survey also shows that parents are uncertain about what to do about this kind of bullying.

Rebels without applause: New study on peer victimization

September 28, 2010

Loners and antisocial kids who reject other children are often bullied at school - an accepted form of punishment from peers as they establish social order. Such peer victimization may be an extreme group response to control ...

Recommended for you

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

The hand and foot of Homo naledi

October 6, 2015

The second set of papers related to the remarkable discovery of Homo naledi, a new species of human relative, have been published in scientific journal, Nature Communications, on Tuesday, 6 October 2015.

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.