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Bullying involves teasing, insulting, tormenting, intimidating, or being verbally or physically aggressive toward a victim. Bullying behavior may also be indirect, taking the form of rumors, social exclusion, nasty notes, and other insidious means. Bullying is typically repetitive in nature, with bullies targeting victims repeatedly. This behavior tends to be sustained over a long period of time—it frequently persists over a year or more. Bullying can be carried out by a single child or groups of children. This behavior is more common among children with psychological disturbances and tends to be more frequently seen in boys than in girls. The behavior often creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation among those affected. The bully-victim interaction is characterized by an imbalance of power; that is, the victim is or feels incapable of defending him-or herself, and the bully is or is perceived to be more powerful than the victim.



Boulton, Michael. "Concurrent and Longitudinal Relations between Children's Playground Behavior and Social Preference, Victimization, and Bullying."Child Development 70 (1999):944-954.

Kumpulainen, Kirsti, Eila Rasanen, Irmeli Henttonen, et al. "Bullying and Psychiatric Symptoms among Elementary School-Age Children." Child Abuse and Neglect 22 (1998):705-717.

Olweus, Dan. Bullying in School: What We Know and What We Can Do. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.

Smith, Peter, and Paul Brain. "Bullying in Schools: Lessons from Two Decades of Research." Aggressive Behavior 26 (2000):1-9.

Michele Knox

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 2