Appraisal and coping strategy use in victims of school bullying

Simon C. Hunter, James M.E. Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Transactional models of coping (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) can contribute to our understanding of why some children cope effectively with bullying while others suffer negative outcomes. However, previous research has relied on coping measures that are not comparable with adult measures, restricting investigation of developmental trends. Additionally, previous research has not included appraisals when measuring coping using an established coping measure.Aims: To examine the factor structure of a coping measure that is directly comparable with the adult literature; to examine the content of pupils' threat and challenge appraisals concerning bullying; and to examine the relationships between appraisals and coping strategy use within the victims of school bullying.Sample: Participants were 459 children aged 9 — 14 years.Method: A self‐report bullying questionnaire, incorporating Halstead et al.'s (1993) adolescent version of the Ways of Coping Checklist, was completed by participants. Also included were control, threat and challenge appraisal items.Results: Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed that Halstead et al.'s four‐factor model of coping is valid for a population of school bullying victims. Content validity of items used to measure threat and challenge appraisal was demonstrated. Ambiguity of challenge appraisal influenced the use of Wishful Thinking, Seeks Social Support and Problem Focused coping. Wishful Thinking was also influenced by control appraisal. Avoidance coping was not influenced by the appraisals measured.Conclusion: Halstead et al.'s Revised Ways of Coping Checklist can be used to measure coping amongst child and adolescent victims of bullying. Furthermore, including appraisal variables improves our understanding of individual differences between victims' coping strategy choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-107
Number of pages25
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • school bullying
  • bullying
  • child care
  • children's health
  • child psychology


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