Victims’ responses to bullying: the gap between students’ evaluations and reported responses

Nicole Sokol*, Kay Bussey, Ronald M. Rapee

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Victims’ responses to bullying have the potential to impact bullying outcomes. This study examined students’ evaluations of and reported likelihood of adopting four different victim responses (angry, sad, confident, and ignoring). Fifth- and seventh-grade students (N = 206; mean age = 11.13 and 13.18 years, respectively) viewed hypothetical videotaped scenarios portraying either physical or verbal bullying among same-sex peers and completed online questionnaires. While students rated the confident and ignoring victim responses as more effective overall, they reported a greater likelihood of adopting sad and angry responses to bullying. This pattern suggests a gap between what students “know” and what students report they would actually “do” if faced with bullying themselves. Some gender and age variations were also identified. Qualitative data exploring participants’ responses to bullying and their associated motivations provided further insights into how students approach bullying problems. These findings may inform interventions designed to train and empower students to adopt more effective responses to bullying.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)461-475
    Number of pages15
    JournalSchool Mental Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


    • Bullying
    • Peer aggression
    • Victim reaction
    • Victim response
    • Victimization


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