School, Neighborhood, and Family Factors Are Associated With Children's Bullying Involvement: A Nationally Representative Longitudinal Study

Lucy Bowes, Louise Arseneault, Barbara Maughan, Alan Taylor, Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

251 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To test whether school, neighborhood, and family factors are independently associated with children's involvement in bullying, over and above their own behaviors that may increase their risk for becoming involved in bullying. Method: We examined bullying in the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative 1994-1995 birth cohort of 2,232 children. We used mother and teacher reports to identify children who experienced bullying between the ages of 5 and 7 years either as victims, bullies, or bully-victims. We collected information about school characteristics from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. We collected reports from mothers about children's neighborhood and home environments and reports from mothers and teachers about children's internalizing and externalizing problems when they were 5 years old. Results: Multinomial logistic regressions showed that over and above other socioenvironmental factors and children's behavior problems, school size was associated with an increased risk for being a victim of bullying, problems with neighbors was associated with an increased risk for being a bully-victim, and family factors (e.g., child maltreatment, domestic violence) were associated with all groups of children involved in bullying. Conclusions: Socioenvironmental factors are associated with children's risk for becoming involved in bullying over and above their own behaviors. Intervention programs aimed at reducing bullying should extend their focus beyond schools to include local communities and families. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 2009;48(5):545-553.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-553
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009

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