Experiences Versus Perceptions: Do Students Agree That They Have Been Bullied?

Nadine M. Connell, Natalie M. Schell-Busey, Richard Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Each year, an estimated 30% of school children experience bullying by their classmates. While research has explored the prevalence of bullying, the causes of bullying, and the consequences of bullying, less attention has been focused on understanding how students define bullying experiences. Utilizing a school-based sample of students ranging from fifth to eighth grade, we examine the concordance between the experience of situations defined as “bullying” to the opinions of students as to whether they felt “bullied.” On average, one third of students report a mismatch between their victimization experiences and their perceptions of being bullied. Logistic regression analyses suggest that the characteristics of students who do not label victimization experiences as bullying differ based on the bullying behavior specified. We examine the students most likely to label bullying and victimization differently and suggest how these findings can be incorporated by school administrators and researchers to better understand how students experience bullying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-416
Number of pages23
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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