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August 15, 2001

Systemic vs Individualistic Approaches to Bullying

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(7):787-788. doi:10.1001/jama.286.7.787

To the Editor: In their study of bullying, Dr Nansel and colleagues1 cite the work of Olweus2 to highlight individual pathology and suffering in bullies and those bullied. While Olweus indeed addresses such issues in his work, the primary characteristic of his model of bullying and his recommended interventions is an emphasis on systemic factors, especially the role of adult and institutional inaction in enabling bullying. In contrast to this systemic approach, there are 2 major problems with emphasizing the individual pathology of bullies and their targets.

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