Original article

International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 54, Supplement 2, pp 225-234

First online:

Cross-national time trends in bullying behaviour 1994–2006: findings from Europe and North America

  • Michal MolchoAffiliated withSchool of Health Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway Email author 
  • , Wendy CraigAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Queen’s University
  • , Pernille DueAffiliated withNational Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark
  • , William PickettAffiliated withDepartment of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University
  • , Yossi Harel-FischAffiliated withInternational Research Program on Adolescent Well-being and Health, Department of Criminology and School of Education, Bar Ilan University
  • , Mary OverpeckAffiliated withMichigan Public Health Institute, National Center for Child Death Review
  • , the HBSC Bullying Writing Group

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To identify trends over 12 years in the prevalence of bullying and associated victimization among adolescents in North American and European countries.


Cross-sectional self-report surveys were obtained from nationally representative samples of 11–15 year old school children in 21 countries in 1993/94 and in 27 countries in each of 1997/98, 2001/02 and 2005/06. Measures included involvement in bullying as either a perpetrator and/or victim.


Consistent decreases in the prevalence of bullying were reported between 1993/94 to 2005/06 in most countries. Geographic patterns show consistent decreases in bullying in Western European countries and in most Eastern European countries. An increase or no change in prevalence was evident in almost all English speaking countries participating in the study (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Canada, but not in the USA).


Study findings demonstrated a significant decrease in involvement in bullying behaviour in most participating countries. This is encouraging news for policy-makers and practitioners working in the field of bullying prevention.