Peer Victimization

Peer victimization includes being bullied (see “Bullying” for definition) and experiences of being the target of physical, social, emotional, or psychological harm from a peer. According to studies in both the U.S. and other countries, children who are bullied by their peers are more lonely and unhappy, have greater difficulty making friends and have more health problems than their non-bullied peers.  Some bully victims may become suicidal (Child Trends, 2010).

Data on peer victimization are most often gathered through self-report, either from perpetrators or victims, or both. Peer nomination techniques (having children list the names of bullies and/or children victimized by bullies, including themselves, while looking at a classroom or grade-level roster) is another method which can be used, but when collecting these data, the confidentiality and privacy of respondents must be effectively safeguarded (Branson &Cornell, 2009).

Progress in preventing or reducing peer victimization can be assessed by comparing the average number of incidents experienced by participants on a weekly or monthly basis. If the rate of peer victimization (the average number of incidents reported over a specific time interval) or the number of participants who report experiences of victimization is not reasonably low or decreasing, program managers may want to assess issues around program design, implementation, and quality.

By ChildTrends

Surveys / Assessments


Sources Cited

Child Trends, (2010).  Bullying.  Child Trends DataBank.  Retrieved from

National Center for Education Statistics, (2010).  Indicators of school crime and safety. Retrieved from