Handbook of Bullying in Schools: An International Perspective

Handbook of Bullying in Schools: An International Perspective

Handbook of Bullying in Schools: An International Perspective

Handbook of Bullying in Schools: An International Perspective


The Handbook of Bullying in Schools provides a comprehensive review and analysis of what is known about the worldwide bullying phenomena. It is the first volume to systematically review and integrate what is known about how cultural and regional issues affect bullying behaviour and its prevention.

Key features include the following:

  • Comprehensive - forty-one chapters bring together conceptual, methodological, and preventive findings from this loosely coupled field of study, thereby providing a long-needed centerpiece around which the field can continue to grow in an organized and interdisciplinary manner.
  • International Focus - approximately forty-percent of the chapters deal with bullying assessment, prevention, and intervention efforts outside the USA.
  • Chapter Structure - to provide continuity, chapter authors follow a common chapter structure: overview, conceptual foundations, specific issues or programs, and a review of current research and future research needs.
  • Implications for Practice - a critical component of each chapter is a summary table outlining practical applications of the foregoing research.
  • Expertise - the editors and contributors include leading researchers, teachers, and authors in the bullying field, most of whom are deeply connected to organizations studying bullying around the world.


Bullying is commonly defined as repeated aggressive behavior in which there is an imbalance of power or strength between the two parties (Nansel et al., 2001; Olweus, 1993). Bullying behaviors may be direct or overt (e.g., hitting, kicking, name-calling, or taunting) or more subtle or indirect in nature (e.g., rumor-spreading, social exclusion, friendship manipulation, or cyberbullying; Espelage & Swearer, 2004; Olweus, 1993; Rigby, 2002). Notably, bullying has been documented and studied in countries around the world (e.g., Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States). To date, studies in all countries in which bullying has been investigated, have revealed the presence of bullying. Indeed, the study of bullying at school is decidedly international, with seminal scholarship originating in Sweden, Norway, England, Japan, and Australia.

Recent literature has focused explicitly on considering international perspectives on interventions to address bullying in schools (Smith, Pepler, & Rigby, 2004; Ttofi, Farrington, & Baldry, 2008). Scholars have also attempted to understand the phenomenon of bullying through cross-national studies. For example, Smith, Cowie, Olafsson, and Liefooghe (2002) examined the meaning of bullying in 14 different countries to explore how the use of specific terms (e.g., bullying, teasing, harassment, hitting, excluding) may affect estimates of the prevalence of bullying. Despite the recent increase in the amount of research addressing bullying, much remains to be discovered and understood regarding assessment and measurement of bullying, as well as how to design and implement of effective prevention and intervention programs. Considering the extant research that has emerged during the past four decades from around the world, the Handbook of Bullying in Schools provides an unprecedented compendium of information and insights from leading scholars around the world.

International Interest in Bullying

Research has revealed that students around the world regularly report witnessing and experiencing bullying (Eslea et al., 2003). Although bullying among children and youth is not a recent phenomenon, it has received increased attention internationally during the past several decades.

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