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August 2004

Prevalence of School Bullying in Korean Middle School Students

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Hallym University, Anyang, South Korea; Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley, and Harold E. Jones Child Study Center, Berkeley (Dr Kim); the Department of Child and Family Studies, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea (Dr Koh); and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Laboratory of Developmental Neurosciences, Irving B. Harris Center for Developmental Studies, University of Chicago, and Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, Chicago, Ill (Dr Leventhal).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158(8):737-741. doi:10.1001/archpedi.158.8.737

Background  School bullying is the most common type of school violence. Victimization by or perpetration of school bullying has frequently been associated with a broad spectrum of behavioral, emotional, and social problems.

Objective  To investigate the prevalence and demographic characteristics of victims, perpetrators, and victim-perpetrators in a Korean middle school sample.

Methods  We evaluated 1756 middle school students in this cross-sectional study. Students provided demographic information and completed the Korean-Peer Nomination Inventory. Descriptive statistics and the Pearson χ2 test were used.

Results  We found that 40% of all children participated in school bullying. By category, the prevalence of victims, perpetrators, and victim-perpetrators was 14%, 17%, and 9%, respectively. The most common subtypes of victimization were exclusion (23%), verbal abuse (22%), physical abuse (16%), and coercion (20%). Boys were more commonly involved in both school bullying and all 4 types of victimization. The prevalence of bullying was greater in students with either high or low socioeconomic status and in nonintact families.

Conclusions  School bullying is highly prevalent in Korean middle school students. Demographic characteristics can help identify students at greater risk for participation in school bullying.