Bullying and Cyberbullying

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Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Literature Review: A product of the Model Programs Guide

Bullying involving children and youth has become a topic of national conversation over the past few decades and is a major focus for schools across the United States and internationally (Gladden et al., 2014; Ybarra et al., 2019). Bullying can cause substantial harm to the children and youth who are victimized, to those who engage in bullying behaviors, and to the bystanders who witness bullying (Evans et al., 2018; Gladden et al., 2014; Zych, Farrington, and Ttofi, 2019). To address this problem, numerous antibullying interventions have been developed and implemented (Gaffney, Ttofi, and Farrington, 2019; Polanin et al., 2021). Along with these efforts, there has been a growing field of research on bullying, which strives to understand the causes, effects, and ways of effectively intervening and preventing bullying (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2016).

While multiple definitions of bullying are used in research (Eriksen, 2018; Gladden et al., 2014; Liu and Graves, 2011; Smith et al., 2002; Polanin, 2012; Younan, 2018), bullying is generally considered to be unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youth (who are not current dating partners or siblings) that involves a power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated (Gladden et al., 2014). Although attention to bullying has increased noticeably among researchers since the late 1990s, and many studies have been published, bullying research is still considered “underdeveloped and uneven” (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2016, p. 31).

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