Examining Ethnic, Gender, and Developmental Differences in the Way Children Report Being a Victim of "Bullying" on Self-Report Measures

Anne L. Sawyer, Catherine P. Bradshaw, Lindsey M. O'Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Purpose: Racial/ethnic differences in children's self-reports of being a frequent victim of bullying were assessed via two commonly used strategies: a definition-based single-item measure and behavior-based multiresponse measure. Methods: Logistic regression analyses were conducted on survey data from 24,345 youth to examine ethnic differences in youths' responses to definition-based and behavior-based measures of victimization. Separate analyses were conducted for boys and girls at different school levels. Results: Prevalence estimates were higher using the behavior-based measure than definition-based measure. Several ethnic differences emerged, such that African American youth tended to be less likely than their white counterparts to indicate that they were bullied using the definition-based measure. African American girls and African American and Asian middle-school boys who reported being a victim via the behavior-based measure were less likely to report being a frequent victim of "bullying" via the definition-based measure. Conclusion: Prevalence estimates vary considerably by the way in which victimization is assessed. African American youth who were victimized tended to under-report being a victim of "bullying." Self-report studies of bullying should carefully consider the measures used to assess victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-114
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Bullying
  • Measurement
  • Prevention and intervention
  • Race
  • School violence
  • Victimization
  • Violence prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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