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No Safe Haven: Locations of Harassment and Bullying Victimization in Middle Schools

Project Description


BACKGROUND: Given that adolescent bullying victimization is a significant concern for secondary education and adolescent development, identifying school contexts in which victimization is most likely to occur is salient.

METHODS: An anonymous online survey assessed the prevalence of being harassed or bullied in various locations within 20 middle schools (grades 5-9) in New Jersey and New York (N = 10,668). Seven types of bullying-related victimization (teased in an unfriendly way, called hurtful names, physically abused, excluded from a group to hurt feelings, belongings taken/damaged, threatened to be hurt, and negative rumors spread) were examined in 7 locations where each type of victimization could occur (classroom, lunchroom, hallways, gym, playground, bus, or bathroom).

RESULTS: Prevalence of victimization types ranged from 4% to 38% depending on location. Prevalence of overall victimization was equal or greater in classrooms compared with other school locations (highest prevalence rates in hallways, classrooms, and lunchrooms), regardless of school demographic characteristics. Victimization in classrooms compared with other school settings was most highly associated with feelings of being unsafe.

CONCLUSIONS: Vigilant attention to bullying is needed across all school environments and especially in the classroom context, which may mistakenly be perceived as a more protected area. Indeed, middle school classrooms are not safe havens.

For further information about this project, contact:

Wes Perkins
(315) 781-3437


Perkins, H. Wesley, Jessica M. Perkins, and David W. Craig. "No Safe Haven: Locations of Harassment and Bullying Victimization in Middle Schools." Journal of School Health, 2014, 84 (12), pp 810-818.

Perkins, H. Wesley, David W. Craig, and Jessica M. Perkins. "Using Social Norms to Reduce Bullying: A Research Intervention in Five Middle Schools." Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 2011, 14 (5), pp. 703-722.

**Portions of the information presented on this page were originally prepared by Michael Haines and Richard Rice and are printed here with their permission.