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1. What is school bullying?

1.1 Defining bullying

Bullying is a subtype of aggressive behaviour, documented as early as the 18th century, but not considered a significant social problem until about 40 years ago. There is no unified definition of bullying. A vague definition carries the risk of an overestimation of the phenomenon and of an overclassification of children as bullies or victims. Olweus (1993) defined bullying as repeated aggression towards a relatively powerless peer.

Smith, Schneider, Smith, and Ananiadou (2004) defined bullying as “a particularly vicious kind of aggressive behaviour distinguished by repeated acts against weaker victims who cannot easily defend themselves” (p. 547). Recently, a revised definition has been proposed, based on three key attributes: goal-directed behaviour, power imbalance and victim harm [Bullying is aggressive goal-oriented behaviour that harms another individual within the context of power imbalance (Volk et al., 2014)]. This revised definition recognises the power imbalance as an important feature of bullying, and as pivotal to developing
effective anti-bullying interventions...


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