Survey takes 10 minutes to tackle bullying

8 May 2018

More than 1200 Queensland high school students have assisted University of Queensland researchers in the development of a survey that measures bullying.

UQ Centre for Clinical Research’s Dr Hannah Thomas said the survey measured the prevalence of being bullied and the bullying of others.

“Being bullied and bullying others are associated with mental health difficulties, so it’s important to measure both types of experiences,” Dr Thomas said.

The multiple-choice survey, which takes five to 10 minutes, asks students about the different types of bullying behaviours they have experienced in the past three months.

“It can be difficult for kids to explain what’s going on, so the survey offers them an opportunity to share their experiences anonymously,” Dr Thomas said.

The survey aims to measure physical, verbal, social and cyber bullying.

“Bullying is a complex issue and it can arise in a number of ways.”

“It is important that we use surveys that capture bullying that happens both in-person and online. 

“Face-to-face and cyber bullying often co-occur, and approximately half of young people who perpetrate bullying are also victims of bullying themselves,” Dr Thomas said.

Dr Thomas said the survey was a powerful tool that could be easily used by schools.

“Having a valid and reliable survey tool is critical to understanding the nature of bullying, as well as for evaluating the effectiveness of anti-bullying efforts.

“We are in the process of developing an online platform to help schools administer the survey with their students to assist them in planning and decision-making.

“The next steps are to make the survey accessible to schools so they can measure bullying on a regular basis, and use the results to assess whether their current anti-bullying activities are meeting the needs of their school community.”

She said 1200 high school students from 10 schools in Queensland had completed the survey as part of a validation study.

The results are published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology(DOI:10.1111/bjep.12223)

Media: Dr Hannah Thomas,, +61 7 3346 6036; Faculty of Medicine Communications,, Claire Usmar, + 61 7 3365 5118.