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Optimizing Population Screening of Bullying in School-Aged Children

NCJ Number
Journal of School Violence Volume: 9 Issue: 3 Dated: July-September 2010 Pages: 233-250
Tracy Vaillancourt; Vi Trinh; Patricia McDougall; Eric Duku; Lesley Cunningham; Charles Cunningham; Shelley Hymel; Kathy Short
Date Published
July 2010
18 pages
This study examined the accuracy of two screening items used in the Health Behavior of School-Aged Children Survey (HBSC)to identify school-aged children's experiences with bullying.
A two-part screening procedure was used to assess school-age children's experience with bullying. In the first part 16,799 students (8,195 girls, 8,604 boys) in grades 4 to 12 were provided with a definition of bullying and then asked about their experiences using 2 general questions from the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (1996). In the second part, students were asked about their experiences with specific types of bullying: physical, verbal, social, and cyber. For each form of bullying, students were provided with several examples of what constituted such behavior. Results indicated that the general screener has good specificity but poor sensitivity, suggesting that the general screening questions were good at classifying noninvolved students but performed less well when identifying true cases of bullying. Accordingly, reports from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the United Nations may underestimate the prevalence of bullying among school-aged children world-wide. Tables and references (Published Abstract)