Youth Perceptions of Bullying: Thinking Outside the Box
Bullying, aggression, and intimidation are common phenomena in U.S. schools and can lead to a decline in academic functioning, isolation, distress, and other symptoms of trauma. Although a plethora of research has been conducted on the types, rates, and effects of bullying, none asks students their perceptions of bullying behaviors. In this study Q methodology and interviews with fifth through eighth grade students found differing descriptions of the behaviors they perceive as "bullying". Q factor analysis revealed eight distinct perceptions of bullying behaviors including direct and indirect behaviors. Additionally, some of the youths in the sample did not identify with any of the factors, indicating that there are probably other perceptions of bullying behaviors as well. Recommendations are given for professionals who work with youths.