Characteristics of school bullies and victims as perceived by public school professionals

Jo Lynn V. Carney, Richard J. Hazier, Jeanette Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A large body of international research substantiates the concern with problems of peer-on-peer violence in schools and its common beginnings as taunting, harassment and other forms of bullying. One common difficulty in developing better ways of handling these problems is the professional literature’s inconsistency in the identification of bully and victim characteristics. This study surveyed school professionals (teachers and counselors) who work with youth on a daily basis to see how closely their perceptions of victims and bullies matched the criteria commonly found in the literature. Participants rated 70 characteristics as to their importance in recognizing the potential for children to become bullies or victims. The results demonstrated strong agreement on five characteristics as being exclusively those of victims, 11 as exclusively those of bullies, and 15 as strongly associated with both victims and bullies. These characteristics and additional ones identified by an earlier study of international experts are offered to assist all those related to the school community in more effectively recognizing young people with the potential to develop into bullies or victims. Earlier and more accurate identification of such developing problems would increase the ability to create and implement prevention methods to improve safety and security for all youths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-106
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of School Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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