Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 441-455

First online:

Is school bullying really on the rise?

  • Ken RigbyAffiliated withHawke Research Centre, School of Education, University of South Australia Email author 
  • , Peter K. SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London

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Whether bullying in schools is increasing, as is widely believed, was investigated drawing upon empirical studies undertaken in a wide range of countries in which findings had been published describing its prevalence at different points in time between 1990 and 2009. Results do not support the view that reported bullying in general has increased during this period; in fact, a significant decrease in bullying has been reported in many countries. However, there are some indications that cyber bullying, as opposed to traditional bullying, has increased, at least during some of this period. The reported decreases in the prevalence of school bullying are consistent with reports of significant but small reductions in peer victimisation following the implementation of anti-bullying programs in schools world-wide.


Bullying Cyber bullying Victimization School children Prevalence rate