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Physical, Verbal, and Relational Forms of Bullying Among German Students: Age Trends, Gender Differences, and Correlates

The main aims of this study are

  1. ) To survey how often different forms of bullying occur among German students from secondary schools, using a revised version of the Bully/ Victim Questionnaire (BVQ) that explicitly includes relational bullying forms.
  2. ) To investigate whether age trends and sex differences reflect the findings of other countries.
  3. ) To analyse issues relevant to preventive antibullying strategies (e.g., to determine overlapping forms of bullying and to determine the impact of class size on bullying).
  4. ) Finally, on the basis of various items of the questionnaire employed to assess bullying, characteristics or combinations of characteristics (psychosocial correlates) are investigated that are associated with increasing occurrences of bullying, to establish patterns of typical characteristics of bullies and victims

Two schools have been examined as consisting of students from two different German federal states: Wittmund, Lower Saxony and the city state of Bremen

Bullying has been assessed (bullying others and being bullied (victimisation)) with a German version of the BVQ. The BVQ is an anonymous self-report instrument frequently used worldwide to gather information about the extent of bullying and to establish a foundation for schoolwide antibullying initiatives.

In conclusion, this study is one of the first that gives a detailed picture of school bullying among students from a large sample in Germany with consideration of different forms of bullying. We took into particular account the complex influence of gender and age in order to present a comprehensive analysis. This study will hopefully:

  • make a significant contribution to the multitude of international research findings (mainly due to the lack of published German research on bullying),
  • stimulate further research within German-speaking countries (including the publication of study results in international journals) and
  • lead to evidence-based (age- and gender-specific) efforts in the prevention of school bullying.


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