OBJECTIVES. To analyze the prevalence of bullying victims among children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 years in 11 European countries and to investigate the associated sociodemographic, physical, and psychosocial factors.
METHODS. Being a bullying victim was measured by using the social acceptance (bullying) scale from the Kidscreen-52, a health-related quality-of-life questionnaire administered to 16 210 children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 and their parents in postal or school-based surveys in 11 European countries. Standardized mean differences (effect size) were computed to measure the percentage of children/adolescents scoring 1 SD below the mean on the Kidscreen bullying scale. Logistic regression models were used to determine which sociodemographic, physical, and psychosocial factors were associated with being bullied.
RESULTS. The percentage of children being bullied was 20.6% for the entire sample, ranging from 10.5% in Hungary to 29.6% in the United Kingdom. In almost all countries the factors most strongly associated with being bullied were younger age, having probable mental health problems, having a low score on the Kidscreen-52 moods and emotions dimensions, and poor social support. Using the grand mean for all countries as the reference category, there was an above-average likelihood of children or adolescents reporting that they had been victims of bullying in 5 countries (Austria, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), and a below-average likelihood in 3 countries (France, Greece, Hungary).
CONCLUSIONS. This study indicated considerable variation between countries in the prevalence of those perceiving themselves to be victims of bullying but also revealed a clear profile of those likely to be bullied. The study also suggests that the Kidscreen bullying scale could be useful in identifying potential bullying victims.