Children, Families, and the Law, Center on


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Family Violence 30 (2015), pp. 103–111; doi: 10.1007/s10896-014-9651-0


Copyright © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Used by permission.


Extensive bullying research has primarily focused on activities between peers in school settings, but some evidence suggests bullying may occur in other situations. If so, other contexts could potentially benefit from the wealth of peer bullying research. A sample of 392 young adults answered questions about their experiences with sibling and peer bullying behaviors. Participants also provided responses concerning a sibling or peer vignette that focused on reporting bullying behaviors. Results indicated that participants view bullying behaviors between peers and siblings as somewhat similar, but sibling bullying behaviors compared to peer bullying behaviors are reported to be perpetrated and experienced more often. When considering a hypothetical situation such sibling bullying behaviors, however, are less likely to be reported outside the family than peer bullying behaviors. Additionally, females are more likely than males to report outside the family. Participants who had more prior involvement in bullying are less likely to say they would report the described sibling bullying behaviors. Considering sibling bullying may not be thought of as bullying and may not be reported outside the family, implications for policy and future research are discussed.