Department of Educational Psychology


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Date of this Version



Bullying in North American Schools, 2nd ed., chapter 1, p. 3-10.


Copyright 2011, Routledge. Used by permission.


When the first edition of this book was published in 2004, we argued that bullying had to be studied across individual, peer, family, school, community, and cultural contexts. Like discrimination, bullying is a complex phenomenon, with multiple causal factors and multiple outcomes. We and other authors have continued to frame bullying among school-aged youth from this social ecological perspective. Drawing a parallel to discriminatory behavior, research on bullying has established that bully perpetration includes physical and verbal behavior within an affective framework (i.e., the intent to harm). Bullying comprises a complex set of antecedents, behaviors, and consequences. The reasons why children and adolescents bully one another are complex, multiply-determined, and differentially reinforced. We explicate these factors and frame the content for the second edition of Bullying in North American Schools.