November 7-11, 2009

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting

Philadelphia, PA

Where Does Bullying Take Place among Adolescents When They are at School?

H. Wesley Perkins, Ph.D., Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology
Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Jessica Perkins, M.S., Department of Health Policy
Harvard University

David W. Craig, Ph.D., Dept. of Chemistry
Hobart & William Smith Colleges


Bullying is a significant public health concern for adolescents in the United States and in many other countries. Both engaging in bullying behavior and being a victim are associated with negative health outcomes. Not much is known, however, regarding where bullying takes place within the school context. Anonymous online surveys were conducted to assess the location of bullying incidents in school contexts among youth in 20 middle schools (grades 6 to 8) from 2006 to 2008 in New Jersey and New York (n= 10,728). Students reported if they had experienced any of seven types of bullying-related behaviors (physical bullying, belongings taken, forced behavior, teased, called names, rumors spread, physically threatened) and all the places where each type of bullying was experienced (playground, lunch room, classroom, gym, hallways, bathroom, bus, or email/phone message). Prevalence of victimization ranged from 5% to 38% depending on the type of bullying and the location. Overall, prevalence of victimization was equally or more likely to occur in the classroom as in other locations.