Family factors, bullying victimisation and wellbeing in adolescents


  • Dieter Wolke University of Warwick
  • Alexandra J Skew University of Essex



Understanding Society, bullying, victimisation, parenting, family, siblings, material deprivation


Bullying victimisation during adolescence has been found to be associated with a range of individual factors. In contrast, family factors have been poorly investigated or findings have been contradictory. Even less is known about factors related to victimisation in the home by siblings. A range of family factors and their relationship to bullying victimisation in school and at home was investigated in 2,163 adolescents 10-15 years old within the Understanding Society sample. Approximately 12% were victims of bullying in school overall, 4.8% of direct and 10% of relational bullying. In contrast, sibling bullying was widespread with half of all children with siblings involved in bullying each other. In particular bully/victims at home and those victimized at school were at increased risk for behaviour problems in the clinical range and were significantly less happy. Sibling bullying was found to be related to sibling composition, in particular the number of siblings and presence of brothers and to less or negative parental involvement, while school bullying was more frequent in those growing up in material deprivation at home and who were bullied by their siblings. Strengthening families and parenting skills and increasing sibling support may reduce bullying in school and increase wellbeing.

Author Biographies

Dieter Wolke, University of Warwick

Professor of Psychology

Department of Psychology and Division of Mental Health and Wellbeing (Warwick Medical School)

Alexandra J Skew, University of Essex

Senior Research Officer