Until recently, researchers have studied forms of bullying separately. For 40 years, research has looked at the traditional forms of bullying, including physical (eg, hitting), verbal (eg, threats), and social (eg, exclusion). Attention focused on cyberbullying in the early 2000s. Although accumulating research suggests that bullying has multiple negative effects for children who are targeted, these effects excluded cyberbullying from the definition of bullying.
This paper responds to the need for a multidimensional measure of the impact of various forms of bullying. We used a comprehensive definition of bullying, which includes all of its forms, to identify children who had been targeted or who had participated in bullying. We then examined various ways in which they were impacted.
We used an online method to administer 37 impact items to 377 (277 female, 100 male) children and youth, to develop and test the Bullying and Health Experience Scale.
A principal components analysis of the bullying impact items with varimax rotation resulted in 8 factors with eigenvalues greater than one, explaining 68.0% of the variance. These scales include risk, relationships, anger, physical injury, drug use, anxiety, self-esteem, and eating problems, which represent many of the cognitive, psychological, and behavioral consequences of bullying. The Cronbach alpha coefficients for the 8 scales range from .73 to .90, indicating good inter-item consistency. Comparisons between the groups showed that children involved in bullying had significantly higher negative outcomes on all scales than children not involved in bullying.
The high Cronbach alpha values indicate that the 8 impact scales provide reliable scores. In addition, comparisons between the groups indicate that the 8 scales provide accurate scores, with more negative outcomes reported by children involved in bullying compared to those who are not involved in bullying. This evidence of reliability and validity indicates that these scales are useful for research and clinical purposes to measure the multidimensional experiences of children who bully and are bullied.