Discrepancies in school staff’s awareness of bullying

A Nordic comparison


  • Ingunn Marie Eriksen NOVA - Oslo Metropolitan University
  • Lihong Huang NOVA - Oslo Metropolitan University




school bullying; whole school approach; students; teachers; principals


Bullying is a severe problem for school students in many education systems. We know that the role of principals and teachers is vital for detecting and following up on bullying, and for implementing appropriate measures. Staff awareness of bullying in schools is commonly reported to be far lower than students’ own reports, but this is rarely studied from a comparative perspective. This study assesses reported bullying from the perspectives of students, teachers and principals in schools in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. We examine the association between the school administration’s awareness of bullying among their pupils, student reports of bullying, and the information and measures put in place at schools in each country. We use comparative analyses of the International Civic and Citizen-ship Education Study (ICCS 2016) data from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden (students, N = 18,962; teachers, N = 6,119; school principals, N = 630). The prevalence of students’ reports of bullying are similar across the four countries, but we find large discrepancies in the prevalence of bullying re-ported by students, teachers and principals. Whereas Norwegian schools are most active in employing measures to inform and raise awareness about bullying for staff, parents and students, Finnish teachers and principals were observed to be far more aware of their students’ bullying than their Nordic counter-parts.



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How to Cite

Eriksen, I. M., & Huang, L. (2019). Discrepancies in school staff’s awareness of bullying: A Nordic comparison. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 3(1), 51–68. https://doi.org/10.7577/njcie.3332