Development of a measure for assessing victimisation at UK universities


higher education
factor analysis

How to Cite

Harrison, E., Fox, C. and Hulme, J. 2022. Development of a measure for assessing victimisation at UK universities. Open Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 2, 1 (Oct. 2022), 22–47. DOI:


School bullying has been researched extensively, yet research on student bullying at university is still in the early stages and lacks valid measurement instruments. This paper outlines three studies conducted to develop a new scale to measure victimisation and perpetration at university (ultimately focusing on victimisation). Wider bullying literature from the school context and the workplace was consulted alongside an initial qualitative study exploring students’ perceptions of university bullying. For Study One, an exploratory factor analysis on data from a sample of UK university students (N=243) resulted in a reliable scale with four factors: (1) psychological victimisation, (2) physical act/trace victimisation, (3) social victimisation, and (4) direct verbal victimisation. After modification, Study Two tested the altered structure of the scale on a new sample of UK university students (N=304), finding two alternative two- and three-factor models. Study Three tested the competing models from the first two studies using confirmatory factor analysis (N=441), finding the four-factor structure to be the best model out of the three, but with the scale requiring further work. Although none of the fit indices’ statistics were ideal, this is the first attempt to design a higher education bullying scale based on a multi-phase approach, which shows potential as a useful tool for measuring victimisation following further research.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Emma Harrison, Claire Fox, Julie Hulme