The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grants to States Program has established 15 National Performance Measures for the 2015-2017 grant cycle. Performance Measure 9 is the percent of adolescents, ages 12-17 years, who are bullied. This evidence brief points to a selection of resources for state MCH programs about bullying prevention, with emphasis on evidence-based information.


The Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States Program guidance1 defines the significance of this goal as follows:
Bullying, particularly among school-age children, is a major public health problem. Current estimates suggest nearly 30% of American adolescents reported at least moderate bullying experiences as the bully, the victim, or both. Specifically, of a nationally representative sample of adolescents, 13% reported being a bully, 11% reported being a victim of bullying, and 6% reported being both a bully and a victim. Studies indicate bullying experiences are associated with a number of behavioral, emotional, and physical adjustment problems. Adolescents who bully others tend to exhibit other defiant and delinquent behaviors, have poor school performance, be more likely to drop-out of school, and are more likely to bring weapons to school. Victims of bullying tend to report feelings of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and isolation; poor school performance; suicidal ideation; and suicide attempts. Evidence further suggests that people who are the victims of bullying and who also perpetrate bullying (i.e., bully-victims) may exhibit the poorest functioning, in comparison with either victims or bullies. Emotional and behavioral problems experienced by victims, bullies, and bully-victims may continue into adulthood and produce long-term negative outcomes, including low self-esteem and self-worth, depression, antisocial behavior, vandalism, drug use and abuse, criminal behavior, gang membership, and suicidal ideation.

Read More about Performance Measure 9

Performance Measure 9

Percent of adolescents, ages 12-17 years, who are bullied


To reduce the number of adolescents who are bullied


Numerator: Parent report on adolescents (in NSCH), and adolescent report (in YRBSS), for adolescents ages 12-17 years, who were bullied

Denominator: Number of adolescents, ages 12-17 years

Units: 100

Text: Percent

Healthy People 2020 Objectives

Related to Injury and Violence Prevention (IVP) Objective 35: Reduce bullying among adolescents. (Baseline: 19.9%, Target: 17.9%)

Data Sources and Data Issues

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), and the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). States can use data from the 2013 YRBSS and/or from the 2011-2012 NSCH as a baseline. (The state will be able to use both data sources as the YRBSS is reported by the adolescents and the NSCH is reported by the parents. The YRBSS is available every other year, and the NSCH will be available annually).

Data and Statistics

Key Websites

STRYVE: Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere. Tools to plan, implement, and evaluate sustainable adolescent-violence-prevention strategies that are based upon the best available evidence. Includes online training modules, data, research documents, educational materials, and success stories.

Policy Recommendations


Further Reading

Related NCEMCH Resources

1 Health Resources and Services Administration. 2014. Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States Program: Guidance and Forms for the Title V Application/Annual Report, Appendix F, p. 82.

Bullying: Evidence Brief, 1st ed. (November 2014).

Author: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., with contributions from Jolene Bertness, M.Ed., CHES, Beth DeFrancis, M.L.S., and Olivia K. Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., NCEMCH

National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health

Georgetown University