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Illinois Bully Scale (IBS)

Administration Method
Number of Questions
Creator(s) of Tool
Complete measurement tool reference:
Espelage, D. L. & Holt, M. (2001). Bullying and victimization during early adolescence: Peer influences and psychosocial correlates. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 2, 123–142

Complete measurement tool hyperlink:
Scoring / Benchmarking
Point values are assigned to each response as follows: Never = 0, 1 or 2 times = 1, 3 or 4 times = 2, 5 or 6 times = 3, 7 or more times = 4. Summary scores for each subscale can be obtained by adding the responses for associated items.

•Bully subscale: Items 1, 2, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18
•Victim subscale: Items 4, 5, 6, and 7
•Fighting subscale: Items 3, 10, 11, 12, and 13

The Bully subscale score ranges from 0-36; the Victim subscale score ranges from 0-16; and the Fighting subscale score ranges from 0-20). Higher scores reflect higher levels of bullying, victimization, or fighting.

When setting benchmarks, it is helpful to look at recent data on prevalence rates.

In 2008, at least 20 percent of children ages two through 17 experienced one or more forms of bullying during the past year (see Child Trends Databank at

Bully Police USA has produced state-by-state estimates of children involved in bullying as bully, victim, or both. These estimates are modeled on prevalence data from a large Norwegian study. Available here: . Consult these benchmarks to help inform the benchmarks you set for your program.

To obtain prevalence rates for physical fighting among youth, go to:
Background / Quality
This tool is available only in English and has primarily been tested with white students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. The scale has been found to have good validity and reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.88).
Is there a cost associated with this tool?

The Illinois Bully Scale is an 18 item, self-report measure that contains three subscales for measuring the frequency of fighting, peer victimization, and bully behavior.  Consisting of 9 items, the Bully subscale includes items that address how often a youth (8-18 years old) engaged in bullying (perpetration) behavior, primarily in the form of social aggression. Consisting of 4 items, the Victim subscale includes items that address both physical and verbal types of victimization by peers. 5 items assess physical fighting.

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