Bullying in private schools in the United Arab Emirates: a cross-sectional study

Alfan Al-Ketbi, Michal Michal Grivna, Ismail Elkonaisi, Iffat Elbarazi, Bayan Abu-Hamada, Aminu Abdullahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: School bullying is a problematic behavior among children and adolescents because it directly impacts school achievements and the psychological well-being of both victims and perpetrators. Bullying may take many forms, including physical, verbal, cyber, and relational. The study aimed to assess students experiences with bullying victimization, perpetration, and witnessing and reviewed students attitudes toward bullying across their schools. Methods: Three private schools were randomly selected in Al Ain city, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Students in cycle 2 (grades 6-9) filled self-reported validated questionnaire. All students present on the day of data collection participated. IBM SPSS version 28.0. was used for statistical analysis. Results: From a total of 321 students, 41% were UAE nationals. The mean age was 12.5 years (SD 1.13); 51% were females. Total of 47% students reported being bullied in the past 12 months; 25% experienced bullying one or more times a day, 37% one or more times a week, and 38% one or more times a month. The classroom was the most common place of bullying (84%), the playground was the second (35%). Verbal bullying was the major form of bullying; “called me bad names 70%”, “made fun of me” 69%, and “said mean things behind my back” 66%. Physical bullying also occurred, such as “broke my things“ (29%) and “I was attacked” (23%). Most victims stated that the bullying made them feel sad (72%), and 25% did not go to school because of the bullying. 60% of the students witnessed bullying. Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of bullying in private schools in the UAE. The study results fill a major gap in the knowledge of school bullying in the UAE. It can provide useful information to decision-makers to develop national policies against bullying to improve safety at schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327
Number of pages1
JournalPopulation Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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