Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology, p. 172-174. Springer, 2010.


Copyright 2010, Springer. Used by permission.


Defines bullying: Bullying may be the most prevalent type of aggression experienced by school-aged youth. Bullying has been defined as any form of aggression in which one student or group of students repeatedly harasses a target (i.e., victim) verbally or physically. The three key components or characteristics of bullying behaviors are (1) the behavior is intended to harm, (2) the behavior occurs repeatedly over time, and (3) there is an imbalance of power.

Discusses prevalence, impact, gender differences, development, and ecological perspectives.

Concludes:Bullying is a complex phenomenon, which is adversely affecting the majority of school-aged youth. There are long-term psychological and behavioral consequences associated with involvement in bullying (i.e., suicidal ideation and criminal behavior). While research is still uncovering new facets of the bullying dynamic, it is important to recognize there are multiple roles that students can employ in bullying interactions. In addition, bullying is not only direct, physical aggression; rather it can take the form of direct verbal aggression or indirect harassment. Bullying is not only a problem among boys but is increasingly being recognized as a problem among girls. Finally, if we are to begin understanding bullying behavior, we must consider it from both ecological and developmental perspectives.