A Comparison of Bullying in Four Rural Middle and High Schools

Jody Isernhagen, Sandra Harris


Bullying in rural school settings is clearly a problem and some of our students are suffering as a result.. Bullying is defined in this study of 819 rural middle and high school students as when a student is exposed repeatedly to negative actions by one or more other students. Students responded to a questionnaire about how often and where bullying occurred and who students told. Analysis of the data reported frequencies, and the Pearson chi-square was used to test for significance (p <.05) for gender and school level. Results indicated that while there are many similarities, there are some differences in bullying at these two levels that should be considered when reducing bullying. First, students should be encouraged to develop positive strategies to react to name calling and teasing particularly at the middle school level. Second, administrators and teachers must communicate better with students that they care about reducing bullying, especially at the high school level.


Ambert, A. (1994). A qualitative study of peer abuse and its effects: Theoretical and practical implications. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56, 119-130.

Banks, R. (1997, March). Bullying in schools. ERIC/EECE Publications-Digest, EDO-PS-97-17. Retrieved October 7, 2003 from: http://ericeece.org/pubs/digests/1997/banks97.html.

Batsche, G., & Knoff, H. (1994). Bullies and their victims: Understanding a pervasive problem in the schools. School Psychology Review, 23(2), 165-174. EJ 490-574.

Berthold, K.A., & Hoover, J.H. (2000). Correlates of Bulling and Victimization among Intermediate Students in the Midwestern USA. School Psychology International, 21 (1), 65-78.

Boatwright, B., Mathis, T., & Smith-Rex, S. (2000). Getting equipped to stop bullying: A kid’s survival kit for understanding and coping with violence in the schools. Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corporation.

Craig, W., & Peplar, D. (1996). Understanding bullying at school: What can we do about it? In S. Miller, J. Brodine, & T. Miller (Eds.), Safe by design (pp. 247-260). Seattle, WA: Committee for Children.

Craig, W., Peters, R., & Konarski, R. (1998). Bullying and victimization among Canadian school children. Applied Research Branch Strategic Policy, Human Resources Development Canada. AvailableOn-Line: http://www.hrdcdrhc.ca/arb/publications/research/abw-98-28e.shtml

Dietz, B. (1994). Effects on subsequent heterosexual shyness and depression of peer victimization at school. Paper presented at the International Conference on Children’s Peer Relations. Institute of Social Research: University of South Australia, Adelaide.

Flannery, D., & Singer, M. (1999). Exposure to violence and victimization at school. Choices Briefs, (4), Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. [On-line], Available: http://iume.tc.columbia.edu/choices/briefs/choices04.html.

Garbarino, J., & deLara, E. (2003, March). Words can hurt forever. Educational Leadership, 60 (6), 18-21.

Gilligan, J. (1991). Shame and humiliation: The emotions of individual and collective violence. Paper presented at the Erickson Lectures, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. May 23.

Glover, D., Gough, G., Johnson, M., & Cartwright, N. (2000). Bullying in 25 secondary schools: Incidence, impact and intervention. Educational Research, 42 (2), 141-156.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.

Harris, S., & Petrie, G. (2002). A study of bullying in the middle school. NASSP Bulletin, 86 (633), 42-53.

Hazler, R. (1996a). Bystanders: An overlooked factor in peer on peer abuse. The Journal for the Professional Counselor, 11 (2), 11 - 20.

Hazler, R. (1996b). Breaking the cycle of violence: Interventions for bullies and victims. Bristol, PA: Accelerated Development, Inc.

Hosch, H., & Bothwell, R. (1990). Arousal, description and identification accuracy of victims and bystanders. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 5 (5), 481-488.

Hoover, J., Oliver, R., & Hazler, R.J. (1992). Bullying: Perceptions of adolescent victims in the Midwestern USA, School Psychology International, 13, 5-16.

Isernhagen, J., & Harris, S., (2003). A comparison of 9th and l0th grade boys’ and girls’ bullying behaviors in two states. Journal of school violence, 2 (2), 67-80.

Juvonen, J., Nishina, A., & Graham, S. (2001). Self views versus peer perceptions of victim status among early adolescents. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.). Peer harassment in school: The plight of the vulnerable and victimized (pp. 105-124). New York: Guilford Press.

Kumpalainen, K., Rasanen, E., & Henttonen, I. (1999). Children involved in bullying: Psychological disturbance and the persistence of the involvement. Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, 23(12), 1253-1262.

Lagerspetz, K., Bjorkqvist, K., Berts, M., & King, E. (1982). Group aggression among school children in three schools. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 23, 45-52.

Lindsey, D. (2001, March 6). Is there anything left to say? salon.com News. [On-line], Retrieved March 6, 2001, from http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2001/03/06/school_shootings/index.html.

Loeber, R., & Dishion, T. (1983). Early predictors of male delinquency: A review. Psychological Bulletin, 94, 69-99.

Ma, X. (2001). Bullying and being bullied: To what extent are bullies also victims? American Educational Research Journal, 38 (2), 351-370.

Maeda, R. (2000). “Ijime”: An exploratory study of a collective form of bullying among Japanese students. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. Albuquerque, NM, April 1 - 18, 1999.

Miller, D., Verhoek-Miller, N., Ceminsky, J., & Nugent, C. (2000). Bullying in a school environment and its relationship with student satisfaction, performance, and coping reactions. Psychology: A Journal of Human Behavior, 37 (1), 15 - 19.

Mulvihill, G. (2003, July 8). Police say teenager had plans to kill. Houston Chronicle, 3A.

Olweus, D. (1978). Aggression in the schools. Bullies and whipping boys. Washington, D.C.: Hemisphere Press (Wiley).

Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, Inc.

Olweus, D. (1996, Spring). Bully/victim problems at school: Facts and effective intervention. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 5 (1), 15-22.

Olweus, D. (1997). Bully/victim problems in school: Facts and intervention. European Journal of Psychology of Education, XII (4), 495-510.

Olweus, D. & Alsaker, F. (1991). Assessing change in a cohort --- longitudinal study with hierarchical data. In D. Magnusson, L. Bergman, G. Rudinger and B. Torestad (Eds.) Problems and Methods in Longitudinal Research: Stability and Change, 107-132. London: Campbridge University Press.

Patterson, G.R., DeBaryshe, B.D., & Ramsey, E. (1989). A developmental Perspective on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist 44, 329-335.

Pelligrini, A.D., & Bartini, M. (2000). A longitudinal study of bullying, victimization, and peer affiliation during the transition from primary school to middle school. American Educational Research Journal, 37(3), 699-725.

Price L., & Reuters (1999, August 20). Study: Bullying rampant in U.S. middle schools. CNN.com: www.cnn.com/US/9908/20/bullies.

Rigby, K. (1996). Bullying in schools: And what to do about it. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Rigby, K., & Slee, P. (1995). Manual for the Peer Relations Questionnaire (PRQ). Adelaide: University of South Australia.

Roberts, W. (2000). The bully as victim: Understanding bully behaviors to increase the effectiveness of interventions in the bully-victim dyad. ASCA: Professional School Counseling,

(2), 148 - 155.

Safran, J., & Safran, S. (1985). A developmental view of children’s behavioral tolerance. Behavioral Disorders, 10(2), 87-94.

Salmivalli, C., Lagerspetz, K., Bjorkquist, K., Osterman, K., & Kaukialnen, A. (1996). Bullying as a group process: Participant roles and their relations to social status within the group. Aggressive Behavior, 22, 1 - 15.

Schwartz, D., Dodge, K., & Coie, J. (1993). The emergence of chronic peer victimization in boys’ play groups. Child Development, 64, 1755-1772.

Scolforo, M. (2003, June 15). Pennsylvania dad wonders why 5thgrade son killed self. SanAntonio Express-News, 3A.

Shakeshaft, C., Barber, E., Hergenrother, M., Johnson, Y., Mandel, L., & Sawyer, J. (1995). Peer harassment in schools. Journal for a Just and Caring Education, 1(1), 30-44.

Smith, P., & Brain, P. (2000). Bullying in Schools: Lessons from two decades of research. Aggressive Behavior, 26 (1), 1 - 9.

Smith, P., Morita, Y., Junger-Tas, J., Olweus, D., Catalano, R., & Slee, P. (1999). The nature of school bullying: A crossnational perspective. New York: Routledge.

Smith, P. & Sharp, S. (Eds). (1994). School bullying: Insights and perspectives. London: Routledge.

Vail, K. (2000). Words that wound. American School Board Journal, 186(9), 26-28.

Vossekuil, B., Reddy, M., Fei, R, Borum, R., & Modzeleski, W. (2000.) U.S.S.S. Safe School Initiative: An interim report on the prevention of targeted violence in schools. Washington, DC: US Secret Service, National Threat Assessment Center.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Publication of the National Rural Education Association - http://www.nrea.net

Report problems or questions about to the website to jshedd@library.msstate.edu