This article aims to analyze the prevalence of bullying victims among children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 years in 11 European countries and to investigate the associated sociodemographic, physical, and psychosocial factors.
Being a bullying victim was measured by using the social acceptance (bullying) scale from the Kidscreen-52, a health-related quality-of-life questionnaire administered to 16 210 children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 and their parents in postal or school-based surveys in 11 European countries.
The percentage of children being bullied was 20.6% for the entire sample, ranging from 10.5% in Hungary to 29.6% in the United Kingdom. In almost all countries the factors most strongly associated with being bullied were younger age, having probable mental health problems, having a low score on the Kidscreen-52 moods and emotions dimensions, and poor social support. Using the grand mean for all countries as the reference category, there was an above-average likelihood of children or adolescents reporting that they had been victims of bullying in 5 countries (Austria, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), and a below-average likelihood in 3 countries (France, Greece, Hungary).
This study indicated considerable variation between countries in the prevalence of those perceiving themselves to be victims of bullying but also revealed a clear profile of those likely to be bullied. The study also suggests that the Kidscreen bullying scale could be useful in identifying potential bullying victims.