Several studies have shown about 20 percent to 30 percent of students are regularly involved in incidents of bullying, either as bullies or as those attacked by bullies. In some cases, children are impacted both ways - they both bully others and are victims of bullies. In all cases, these children have more adjustment problems than their peers who aren't involved in bullying. However, most studies have relied on self-reports when identifying bullying behavior and adjustment difficulties.
Researchers studied a group of 6th grade students, including perspectives not just from the students involved in the bullying incidents, but also from other children and teachers. The research involved about 2,000 mostly Latino and black children from 11 schools in low socio-economic urban areas.
Results show 22 percent of the children were involved in bullying -- 7 percent as perpetrators, 9 percent as victims, and 6 percent as both perpetrators and victims. All demonstrated greater school problems and more difficulty getting along with others than students not involved in bullying. Despite these problems, however, bullies enjoyed a high social standing among their classmates and were psychologically strong. Victims were emotionally distressed and had low social standing. Bully-victims suffered the most, demonstrating the highest levels of conduct, school, and peer relationship problems.
Thus researchers suggest schools develop anti-bullying approaches aimed at changing attitudes among children who support bullying activities.