April 13, 2007 -- Many elementary school students report being bullied by their peers and bullying other children, a new study shows.
The study included 270 children in grades 3-6 at two schools in California and one school in Arizona.
The students completed an anonymous survey about their experience with bullying.
The survey included 22 statements about bullying, which included emotional and physical bullying.
Some survey statements focused on being bullied. Those statements included "Other students make me cry," "I want to stay home from school because students are mean to me," and "I am hit or kicked by other students."
The survey also included statements about being a bully, such as "I am mean to other students," "I push or slap other students," and "I say mean things about a student to make other kids laugh."
The students checked boxes marked "a lot," "sometimes," or "never" to indicate how strongly each statement applied to them.
Nearly 90% of the children reported being bullied and 59% said they had bullied other students.
Out of a possible 24 points on the bullying victimization scale, the students' average score was nearly 7 points. Out of 20 possible points on the bullying scale, the average score was 2 points.
The level of bullying victimization was "fairly high," write the survey's developers. They included child psychiatrist Thomas Tarshis, MD, MPH.
Tarshis worked on the survey while at Stanford University's division of child and adolescent psychiatry. He now works for the Bay Area Children's Association in Cupertino, Calif.
Tarshis and colleagues conducted the study to see how well the survey worked. They conclude that the survey is suitable for use in developing tools to curb bullying in schools.
However, the study wasn't designed to gauge bullying in schools nationwide.
The study appears in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.