Why Adolescents Don't Disclose Incidents of Bullying and Harassment

Ellen W. deLara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


While bullying among students is a recalcitrant problem in U.S. schools, research indicates that many students do not disclose bullying they experience or witness despite repeated efforts on the part of adults. The preponderance of research tends to neither include the perceptions of students nor provide understanding about their reluctance to tell or rely on adults for intervention. This qualitative study explored the perspectives of adolescents on their reasons for not reporting incidents or seeking help with bullying. Grounded theory was utilized for data analysis and for detection of patterns in the data. Results revealed several themes: (a) the ubiquitous nature of bullying, (b) a sense of helplessness, (c) concerns over inappropriate adult action, (d) self-reliance, (e) shame, (f) parental omniscience, and (g) a different definition of bullying than adults use. Conclusions reflect the need to understand bullying from the multiple perspectives of adolescents to minimize it and encourage reporting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-305
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of School Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • bullying
  • definition
  • parental omniscience
  • sexual harassment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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