In this study we describe the PEERS Measure, a computerized assessment instrument that takes an innovative approach to using the peer-nomination method to identify bullying among elementary school children in Grades 1-2. Its psychometric characteristics were measured in 4,017 children from 190 school classes. The intercorrelations between the peer-nomination scores showed congruence of the data (e.g., bullying and peer rejection r =.51, defending and prosocial behavior r =.71). Boys were more involved in bullying, more rejected, and less prosocial. As reports by different informants were used, correlations of peer-reported bullying with aggressive behavior reported by a child him- or herself (r =.37) or by a teacher (r =.42) were in the expected range. Good test-retest reliability as measured by the intraclass correlations (average:.72) further suggests that the instrument has good psychometric properties. In line with earlier research, lower maternal educational levels, younger maternal age, and lower household income were related to more bullying and victimization. Overall, our findings show that the instrument provides a reliable measure of peer relations, thus making the use of peer nominations feasible in early elementary school.

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Psychological Assessment
Pediatric Psychiatry

Verlinden, V., Veenstra, R., Ringoot, A., Jansen, P., Raat, H., Hofman, A., … Tiemeier, H. (2014). Detecting bullying in early elementary school with a computerized peer-nomination instrument. Psychological Assessment, 26(2), 628–641. doi:10.1037/a0035571