• Research article
  • Open access
  • Published: 14 December 2021

Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a repeated cross-sectional study

  • Håkan Källmén 1 &
  • Mats Hallgren   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0599-2403 2  

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health volume  15 , Article number:  74 ( 2021 ) Cite this article

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To examine recent trends in bullying and mental health problems among adolescents and the association between them.

A questionnaire measuring mental health problems, bullying at school, socio-economic status, and the school environment was distributed to all secondary school students aged 15 (school-year 9) and 18 (school-year 11) in Stockholm during 2014, 2018, and 2020 (n = 32,722). Associations between bullying and mental health problems were assessed using logistic regression analyses adjusting for relevant demographic, socio-economic, and school-related factors.

The prevalence of bullying remained stable and was highest among girls in year 9; range = 4.9% to 16.9%. Mental health problems increased; range = + 1.2% (year 9 boys) to + 4.6% (year 11 girls) and were consistently higher among girls (17.2% in year 11, 2020). In adjusted models, having been bullied was detrimentally associated with mental health (OR = 2.57 [2.24–2.96]). Reports of mental health problems were four times higher among boys who had been bullied compared to those not bullied. The corresponding figure for girls was 2.4 times higher.

Conclusions

Exposure to bullying at school was associated with higher odds of mental health problems. Boys appear to be more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of bullying than girls.

Introduction

Bullying involves repeated hurtful actions between peers where an imbalance of power exists [ 1 ]. Arseneault et al. [ 2 ] conducted a review of the mental health consequences of bullying for children and adolescents and found that bullying is associated with severe symptoms of mental health problems, including self-harm and suicidality. Bullying was shown to have detrimental effects that persist into late adolescence and contribute independently to mental health problems. Updated reviews have presented evidence indicating that bullying is causative of mental illness in many adolescents [ 3 , 4 ].

There are indications that mental health problems are increasing among adolescents in some Nordic countries. Hagquist et al. [ 5 ] examined trends in mental health among Scandinavian adolescents (n = 116, 531) aged 11–15 years between 1993 and 2014. Mental health problems were operationalized as difficulty concentrating, sleep disorders, headache, stomach pain, feeling tense, sad and/or dizzy. The study revealed increasing rates of adolescent mental health problems in all four counties (Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark), with Sweden experiencing the sharpest increase among older adolescents, particularly girls. Worsening adolescent mental health has also been reported in the United Kingdom. A study of 28,100 school-aged adolescents in England found that two out of five young people scored above thresholds for emotional problems, conduct problems or hyperactivity [ 6 ]. Female gender, deprivation, high needs status (educational/social), ethnic background, and older age were all associated with higher odds of experiencing mental health difficulties.

Bullying is shown to increase the risk of poor mental health and may partly explain these detrimental changes. Le et al. [ 7 ] reported an inverse association between bullying and mental health among 11–16-year-olds in Vietnam. They also found that poor mental health can make some children and adolescents more vulnerable to bullying at school. Bayer et al. [ 8 ] examined links between bullying at school and mental health among 8–9-year-old children in Australia. Those who experienced bullying more than once a week had poorer mental health than children who experienced bullying less frequently. Friendships moderated this association, such that children with more friends experienced fewer mental health problems (protective effect). Hysing et al. [ 9 ] investigated the association between experiences of bullying (as a victim or perpetrator) and mental health, sleep disorders, and school performance among 16–19 year olds from Norway (n = 10,200). Participants were categorized as victims, bullies, or bully-victims (that is, victims who also bullied others). All three categories were associated with worse mental health, school performance, and sleeping difficulties. Those who had been bullied also reported more emotional problems, while those who bullied others reported more conduct disorders [ 9 ].

As most adolescents spend a considerable amount of time at school, the school environment has been a major focus of mental health research [ 10 , 11 ]. In a recent review, Saminathen et al. [ 12 ] concluded that school is a potential protective factor against mental health problems, as it provides a socially supportive context and prepares students for higher education and employment. However, it may also be the primary setting for protracted bullying and stress [ 13 ]. Another factor associated with adolescent mental health is parental socio-economic status (SES) [ 14 ]. A systematic review indicated that lower parental SES is associated with poorer adolescent mental health [ 15 ]. However, no previous studies have examined whether SES modifies or attenuates the association between bullying and mental health. Similarly, it remains unclear whether school related factors, such as school grades and the school environment, influence the relationship between bullying and mental health. This information could help to identify those adolescents most at risk of harm from bullying.

To address these issues, we investigated the prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems among Swedish adolescents aged 15–18 years between 2014 and 2020 using a population-based school survey. We also examined associations between bullying at school and mental health problems adjusting for relevant demographic, socioeconomic, and school-related factors. We hypothesized that: (1) bullying and adolescent mental health problems have increased over time; (2) There is an association between bullying victimization and mental health, so that mental health problems are more prevalent among those who have been victims of bullying; and (3) that school-related factors would attenuate the association between bullying and mental health.

Participants

The Stockholm school survey is completed every other year by students in lower secondary school (year 9—compulsory) and upper secondary school (year 11). The survey is mandatory for public schools, but voluntary for private schools. The purpose of the survey is to help inform decision making by local authorities that will ultimately improve students’ wellbeing. The questions relate to life circumstances, including SES, schoolwork, bullying, drug use, health, and crime. Non-completers are those who were absent from school when the survey was completed (< 5%). Response rates vary from year to year but are typically around 75%. For the current study data were available for 2014, 2018 and 2020. In 2014; 5235 boys and 5761 girls responded, in 2018; 5017 boys and 5211 girls responded, and in 2020; 5633 boys and 5865 girls responded (total n = 32,722). Data for the exposure variable, bullied at school, were missing for 4159 students, leaving 28,563 participants in the crude model. The fully adjusted model (described below) included 15,985 participants. The mean age in grade 9 was 15.3 years (SD = 0.51) and in grade 11, 17.3 years (SD = 0.61). As the data are completely anonymous, the study was exempt from ethical approval according to an earlier decision from the Ethical Review Board in Stockholm (2010-241 31-5). Details of the survey are available via a website [ 16 ], and are described in a previous paper [ 17 ].

Students completed the questionnaire during a school lesson, placed it in a sealed envelope and handed it to their teacher. Student were permitted the entire lesson (about 40 min) to complete the questionnaire and were informed that participation was voluntary (and that they were free to cancel their participation at any time without consequences). Students were also informed that the Origo Group was responsible for collection of the data on behalf of the City of Stockholm.

Study outcome

Mental health problems were assessed by using a modified version of the Psychosomatic Problem Scale [ 18 ] shown to be appropriate for children and adolescents and invariant across gender and years. The scale was later modified [ 19 ]. In the modified version, items about difficulty concentrating and feeling giddy were deleted and an item about ‘life being great to live’ was added. Seven different symptoms or problems, such as headaches, depression, feeling fear, stomach problems, difficulty sleeping, believing it’s great to live (coded negatively as seldom or rarely) and poor appetite were used. Students who responded (on a 5-point scale) that any of these problems typically occurs ‘at least once a week’ were considered as having indicators of a mental health problem. Cronbach alpha was 0.69 across the whole sample. Adding these problem areas, a total index was created from 0 to 7 mental health symptoms. Those who scored between 0 and 4 points on the total symptoms index were considered to have a low indication of mental health problems (coded as 0); those who scored between 5 and 7 symptoms were considered as likely having mental health problems (coded as 1).

Primary exposure

Experiences of bullying were measured by the following two questions: Have you felt bullied or harassed during the past school year? Have you been involved in bullying or harassing other students during this school year? Alternatives for the first question were: yes or no with several options describing how the bullying had taken place (if yes). Alternatives indicating emotional bullying were feelings of being mocked, ridiculed, socially excluded, or teased. Alternatives indicating physical bullying were being beaten, kicked, forced to do something against their will, robbed, or locked away somewhere. The response alternatives for the second question gave an estimation of how often the respondent had participated in bullying others (from once to several times a week). Combining the answers to these two questions, five different categories of bullying were identified: (1) never been bullied and never bully others; (2) victims of emotional (verbal) bullying who have never bullied others; (3) victims of physical bullying who have never bullied others; (4) victims of bullying who have also bullied others; and (5) perpetrators of bullying, but not victims. As the number of positive cases in the last three categories was low (range = 3–15 cases) bully categories 2–4 were combined into one primary exposure variable: ‘bullied at school’.

Assessment year was operationalized as the year when data was collected: 2014, 2018, and 2020. Age was operationalized as school grade 9 (15–16 years) or 11 (17–18 years). Gender was self-reported (boy or girl). The school situation To assess experiences of the school situation, students responded to 18 statements about well-being in school, participation in important school matters, perceptions of their teachers, and teaching quality. Responses were given on a four-point Likert scale ranging from ‘do not agree at all’ to ‘fully agree’. To reduce the 18-items down to their essential factors, we performed a principal axis factor analysis. Results showed that the 18 statements formed five factors which, according to the Kaiser criterion (eigen values > 1) explained 56% of the covariance in the student’s experience of the school situation. The five factors identified were: (1) Participation in school; (2) Interesting and meaningful work; (3) Feeling well at school; (4) Structured school lessons; and (5) Praise for achievements. For each factor, an index was created that was dichotomised (poor versus good circumstance) using the median-split and dummy coded with ‘good circumstance’ as reference. A description of the items included in each factor is available as Additional file 1 . Socio-economic status (SES) was assessed with three questions about the education level of the student’s mother and father (dichotomized as university degree versus not), and the amount of spending money the student typically received for entertainment each month (> SEK 1000 [approximately $120] versus less). Higher parental education and more spending money were used as reference categories. School grades in Swedish, English, and mathematics were measured separately on a 7-point scale and dichotomized as high (grades A, B, and C) versus low (grades D, E, and F). High school grades were used as the reference category.

Statistical analyses

The prevalence of mental health problems and bullying at school are presented using descriptive statistics, stratified by survey year (2014, 2018, 2020), gender, and school year (9 versus 11). As noted, we reduced the 18-item questionnaire assessing school function down to five essential factors by conducting a principal axis factor analysis (see Additional file 1 ). We then calculated the association between bullying at school (defined above) and mental health problems using multivariable logistic regression. Results are presented as odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (Cis). To assess the contribution of SES and school-related factors to this association, three models are presented: Crude, Model 1 adjusted for demographic factors: age, gender, and assessment year; Model 2 adjusted for Model 1 plus SES (parental education and student spending money), and Model 3 adjusted for Model 2 plus school-related factors (school grades and the five factors identified in the principal factor analysis). These covariates were entered into the regression models in three blocks, where the final model represents the fully adjusted analyses. In all models, the category ‘not bullied at school’ was used as the reference. Pseudo R-square was calculated to estimate what proportion of the variance in mental health problems was explained by each model. Unlike the R-square statistic derived from linear regression, the Pseudo R-square statistic derived from logistic regression gives an indicator of the explained variance, as opposed to an exact estimate, and is considered informative in identifying the relative contribution of each model to the outcome [ 20 ]. All analyses were performed using SPSS v. 26.0.

Prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems

Estimates of the prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems across the 12 strata of data (3 years × 2 school grades × 2 genders) are shown in Table 1 . The prevalence of bullying at school increased minimally (< 1%) between 2014 and 2020, except among girls in grade 11 (2.5% increase). Mental health problems increased between 2014 and 2020 (range = 1.2% [boys in year 11] to 4.6% [girls in year 11]); were three to four times more prevalent among girls (range = 11.6% to 17.2%) compared to boys (range = 2.6% to 4.9%); and were more prevalent among older adolescents compared to younger adolescents (range = 1% to 3.1% higher). Pooling all data, reports of mental health problems were four times more prevalent among boys who had been victims of bullying compared to those who reported no experiences with bullying. The corresponding figure for girls was two and a half times as prevalent.

Associations between bullying at school and mental health problems

Table 2 shows the association between bullying at school and mental health problems after adjustment for relevant covariates. Demographic factors, including female gender (OR = 3.87; CI 3.48–4.29), older age (OR = 1.38, CI 1.26–1.50), and more recent assessment year (OR = 1.18, CI 1.13–1.25) were associated with higher odds of mental health problems. In Model 2, none of the included SES variables (parental education and student spending money) were associated with mental health problems. In Model 3 (fully adjusted), the following school-related factors were associated with higher odds of mental health problems: lower grades in Swedish (OR = 1.42, CI 1.22–1.67); uninteresting or meaningless schoolwork (OR = 2.44, CI 2.13–2.78); feeling unwell at school (OR = 1.64, CI 1.34–1.85); unstructured school lessons (OR = 1.31, CI = 1.16–1.47); and no praise for achievements (OR = 1.19, CI 1.06–1.34). After adjustment for all covariates, being bullied at school remained associated with higher odds of mental health problems (OR = 2.57; CI 2.24–2.96). Demographic and school-related factors explained 12% and 6% of the variance in mental health problems, respectively (Pseudo R-Square). The inclusion of socioeconomic factors did not alter the variance explained.

Our findings indicate that mental health problems increased among Swedish adolescents between 2014 and 2020, while the prevalence of bullying at school remained stable (< 1% increase), except among girls in year 11, where the prevalence increased by 2.5%. As previously reported [ 5 , 6 ], mental health problems were more common among girls and older adolescents. These findings align with previous studies showing that adolescents who are bullied at school are more likely to experience mental health problems compared to those who are not bullied [ 3 , 4 , 9 ]. This detrimental relationship was observed after adjustment for school-related factors shown to be associated with adolescent mental health [ 10 ].

A novel finding was that boys who had been bullied at school reported a four-times higher prevalence of mental health problems compared to non-bullied boys. The corresponding figure for girls was 2.5 times higher for those who were bullied compared to non-bullied girls, which could indicate that boys are more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of bullying than girls. Alternatively, it may indicate that boys are (on average) bullied more frequently or more intensely than girls, leading to worse mental health. Social support could also play a role; adolescent girls often have stronger social networks than boys and could be more inclined to voice concerns about bullying to significant others, who in turn may offer supports which are protective [ 21 ]. Related studies partly confirm this speculative explanation. An Estonian study involving 2048 children and adolescents aged 10–16 years found that, compared to girls, boys who had been bullied were more likely to report severe distress, measured by poor mental health and feelings of hopelessness [ 22 ].

Other studies suggest that heritable traits, such as the tendency to internalize problems and having low self-esteem are associated with being a bully-victim [ 23 ]. Genetics are understood to explain a large proportion of bullying-related behaviors among adolescents. A study from the Netherlands involving 8215 primary school children found that genetics explained approximately 65% of the risk of being a bully-victim [ 24 ]. This proportion was similar for boys and girls. Higher than average body mass index (BMI) is another recognized risk factor [ 25 ]. A recent Australian trial involving 13 schools and 1087 students (mean age = 13 years) targeted adolescents with high-risk personality traits (hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity, impulsivity, sensation seeking) to reduce bullying at school; both as victims and perpetrators [ 26 ]. There was no significant intervention effect for bullying victimization or perpetration in the total sample. In a secondary analysis, compared to the control schools, intervention school students showed greater reductions in victimization, suicidal ideation, and emotional symptoms. These findings potentially support targeting high-risk personality traits in bullying prevention [ 26 ].

The relative stability of bullying at school between 2014 and 2020 suggests that other factors may better explain the increase in mental health problems seen here. Many factors could be contributing to these changes, including the increasingly competitive labour market, higher demands for education, and the rapid expansion of social media [ 19 , 27 , 28 ]. A recent Swedish study involving 29,199 students aged between 11 and 16 years found that the effects of school stress on psychosomatic symptoms have become stronger over time (1993–2017) and have increased more among girls than among boys [ 10 ]. Research is needed examining possible gender differences in perceived school stress and how these differences moderate associations between bullying and mental health.

Strengths and limitations

Strengths of the current study include the large participant sample from diverse schools; public and private, theoretical and practical orientations. The survey included items measuring diverse aspects of the school environment; factors previously linked to adolescent mental health but rarely included as covariates in studies of bullying and mental health. Some limitations are also acknowledged. These data are cross-sectional which means that the direction of the associations cannot be determined. Moreover, all the variables measured were self-reported. Previous studies indicate that students tend to under-report bullying and mental health problems [ 29 ]; thus, our results may underestimate the prevalence of these behaviors.

In conclusion, consistent with our stated hypotheses, we observed an increase in self-reported mental health problems among Swedish adolescents, and a detrimental association between bullying at school and mental health problems. Although bullying at school does not appear to be the primary explanation for these changes, bullying was detrimentally associated with mental health after adjustment for relevant demographic, socio-economic, and school-related factors, confirming our third hypothesis. The finding that boys are potentially more vulnerable than girls to the deleterious effects of bullying should be replicated in future studies, and the mechanisms investigated. Future studies should examine the longitudinal association between bullying and mental health, including which factors mediate/moderate this relationship. Epigenetic studies are also required to better understand the complex interaction between environmental and biological risk factors for adolescent mental health [ 24 ].

Availability of data and materials

Data requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please email the corresponding author.

Code availability

Not applicable.

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Acknowledgements

Authors are grateful to the Department for Social Affairs, Stockholm, for permission to use data from the Stockholm School Survey.

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HK conceived the study and analyzed the data (with input from MH). HK and MH interpreted the data and jointly wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Additional file 1..

Principal factor analysis description.

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Källmén, H., Hallgren, M. Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a repeated cross-sectional study. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 15 , 74 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-021-00425-y

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Factors predicting in-school and electronic bullying among high school students in the united states: an analysis of the 2021 youth risk behavior surveillance system.

research paper about bullying among high school students

1. Introduction

2. materials and methods, 2.1. data source, 2.2. variables, 2.3. analysis, 3.1. cyberbullying model, 3.2. in-school bullying, 4. discussion, 5. conclusions, author contributions, institutional review board statement, informed consent statement, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

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Click here to enlarge figure

VariableSurvey ItemResponse Choice
Dependent variables
In-school bulliedDuring the past 12 months, have you ever been bullied on school property?[no] or [yes]
CyberbulliedDuring the past 12 months, have you ever been electronically bullied? (Count being bullied through texting, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media.) [no] or [yes]
Independent variables
Age groupHow old are you?14 years old or younger
15 years old
16 years old
17 years old
18 years old or older
GenderWhat is your sex?[female] or [male]
RaceThe variable is computed from two questions: (1) Are Hispanic or Latino? and (2) What is your race? White
Black
Asian
Hispanic/Latino
AI /AN
NH /other PI
Physical appearance of obesityHad obesity (students who were ≥95th percentile for body mass index, based on sex- and age-specific reference data from the 2000 CDC growth charts) [no] or [yes]
Physical lifestyles of being physically activeWere physically active at least 60 min per day on 5 or more days (in any kind of physical activity that increased their heart rate and made them breathe hard some of the time during the 7 days before the survey) [no] or [yes]
Physical lifestyles of spending a long time on digital gamesPlayed video or computer games or used a computer 3 or more hours per day (counting time spent on things such as playing games, watching videos, texting, or using social media on your smartphone, computer, Xbox, PlayStation, iPad, or other tablet, for something that was not schoolwork, on an average school day) [no] or [yes]
Risk-taken behaviors using marijuana/alcoholCurrently used marijuana [no] or [yes]
Variablesn (Not Weighted)% (Weighted)
Dependent variables
Being cyberbullied (n = 17,032)No14,26783.77
Yes276516.23
Being in-school bullied (n = 16,706)No13,99483.77
Yes271216.23
Independent variables
Age groups (n = 17,134)≤14 years old350420.45
15 years old442725.84
16 years old427624.96
17 years old390422.79
≥18 years old10235.97
Gender (n = 16,968)Female815248.04
Male881651.96
Race (n = 16,800)White915154.47
Black232213.82
Asian8505.06
Hispanic/Latino12137.22
AIAN 1450.86
NH/PI 880.52
Multiracial303118.04
Obesity appearance (n = 14,896)No12,34182.85
Yes255517.15
At least 1 h of physical activity per day for 5 days during the past 7 days (n = 16,652)No765845.99
Yes899454.01
At least 3 h per day on video/computer games or computers (n = 16,496)No406424.64
Yes12,43275.36
Currently using marijuana (n = 16,897)No14,25084.33
Yes26.4715.67
VariableCategoryCyberbulliedIn-School Bullied
NoYesp  NoYesp 
Age group≤14 years2857595<0.0012771631<0.001
15 years36007763485746
16 years35566813501662
17 years33135563304519
≥18 years868141861137
GenderMale7723975<0.00174151130<0.001
Female6366172064111507
RaceWhite73721700<0.00172361678<0.001
Black20542312047207
Asian72911473688
Hispanic/Latino10811111060110
AIAN 1083610833
NH/PI 8177211
Multiracial25054952424499
Obesity appearance No 10,30719230.18910,14118510.001
Yes21094252033452
More than an hour of physical activity per day for 5 days during the past 7 daysNo73521535<0.001727614810.006
Yes64471143 62701134
More than 3 h a day on digital games or computersNo3476530<0.00133435860.014
Yes10,206211310,0762003
Current use of marijuanaNo18941992<0.00111,7842060<0.001
Yes 18947091955596
VariableCategoryCyberbullyingIn-School Bullying
AOR p  95% CI AOR p  95% CI
Age group≤14 yearsRefRefRefRefRefRef
15 years0.9510.6180.779–1.1600.8000.0280.655–0.977
16 years0.8290.0740.675–1.0180.7030.0010.574–0.861
17 years0.7300.0040.589–0.9040.606<0.0010.491–0.749
≥18 years0.6480.0140.459–0.9140.529<0.0010.372–0.753
GenderMaleRefRefRefRefRefRef
Female2.001<0.0011.735–2.3221.380<0.0011.193–1.597
RaceWhiteRefRefRefRefRefRef
Black0.344<0.0010.268–0.4420.383<0.0010.296–0.495
Asian0.7240.0430.530–0.9900.5740.0020.405–0.814
Hispanic/Latino0.432<0.0010.310–0.6020.376<0.0010.268–0.530
AIAN 1.0130.9660.550–1.8670.787 0.4550.421–1.474
NH/PI 0.3170.1130.077–1.3100.2240.0630.046–1.085
Multiracial0.662<0.0010.553–0.7930.713<0.0010.594–0.855
Obesity appearance No RefRefRefRefRefRef
Yes1.3190.0031.010–1.5821.3030.0041.090–1.559
More than an hour of physical activity per day for 5 days during the past 7 daysNoRefRefRefRefRefRef
Yes0.963 0.6110.834–1.1130.9410.4210.813–1.090
More than 3 h a day on digital games or computersNoRefRefRefRefRefRef
Yes1.2470.0141.046–1.4871.0560.5270.891–1.252
Current use of marijuanaNoRefRefRefRefRefRef
Yes 2.150<0.0011.820–2.5391.818<0.0011.529–2.162
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Nguyen, T.H.; Shah, G.H.; Kaur, R.; Muzamil, M.; Ikhile, O.; Ayangunna, E. Factors Predicting In-School and Electronic Bullying among High School Students in the United States: An Analysis of the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Children 2024 , 11 , 788. https://doi.org/10.3390/children11070788

Nguyen TH, Shah GH, Kaur R, Muzamil M, Ikhile O, Ayangunna E. Factors Predicting In-School and Electronic Bullying among High School Students in the United States: An Analysis of the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Children . 2024; 11(7):788. https://doi.org/10.3390/children11070788

Nguyen, Tran H., Gulzar H. Shah, Ravneet Kaur, Maham Muzamil, Osaremhen Ikhile, and Elizabeth Ayangunna. 2024. "Factors Predicting In-School and Electronic Bullying among High School Students in the United States: An Analysis of the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System" Children 11, no. 7: 788. https://doi.org/10.3390/children11070788

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Bullying Prevalence and Associations with Mental Health Problems Among Canadian Undergraduates During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Original Article
  • Published: 26 June 2024

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research paper about bullying among high school students

  • Alanna C. Kaser   ORCID: orcid.org/0009-0001-9830-4656 1 ,
  • Laura J. Lambe   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7223-7854 2 ,
  • Fakir M. Yunus   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0614-000X 1 ,
  • Patricia J. Conrod 3 ,
  • Allyson F. Hadwin   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2782-9321 4 ,
  • Matthew T. Keough   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8567-2874 5 ,
  • Marvin D. Krank 6 ,
  • Kara Thompson   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7441-0761 2 &
  • Sherry H. Stewart   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-3350-2712 1 , 7 , 8  

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Along with shifts to online learning and declines in mental health, the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased rates of adolescent cyberbullying; however, research on bullying in the pandemic context in emerging adulthood is limited. We examined demographic and pandemic-related differences in cyber- (i.e., online) and traditional (i.e., in-person) bullying involvement among 1,435 first-year undergraduates, and how each form of bullying was related to internalizing (i.e., anxiety and depression) and externalizing problems (i.e., alcohol use and risky behaviour). Overall, victimization (47.1%) was more prevalent than perpetration (26.2%) and both forms of traditional involvement were more prevalent (51.7%) than cyber involvement (18.2%) over the past six months. Women had higher odds of experiencing both cyber- and traditional victimization compared to men, but no gender differences in perpetration were found. Comparing data collected during high (i.e., Fall 2021) and low (i.e., Fall 2022) COVID-19 public health restrictions unexpectedly demonstrated that Fall 2022 students had higher odds of experiencing cyber-victimization and -perpetration than Fall 2021 students. Both internalizing outcomes were associated with traditional and cybervictimization. Alcohol use was positively associated only with traditional perpetration. Risky behaviour was positively associated with all forms of bullying involvement. Thus, bullying involvement persists during emerging adults’ transition into university, especially as COVID-19 restrictions dissipate, and has concerning associations with student mental health. Future research and action are needed to monitor bullying involvement and associations with mental health post-pandemic and explore interventions and supports for at-risk undergraduates (e.g., women, risk-taking students).

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Data, materials and code availability.

Cross-sectional survey data used for the present study was collected as part of a larger on-going clinical trial called the UniVenture Project (Stewart et al., 2021 , ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05383989). Anonymized data and the corresponding code used for the present study will be made available on reasonable request and pending ethics approval by contacting the corresponding author.

From this point forward, the term pandemic is used to refer exclusively to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Canada, the provinces (10) and territories (3) have jurisdiction over healthcare, while the dominion of public health is shared across regional, provincial, and federal domains.

The remaining 20.1% comprised: Latin American (5.9%), African (4.7%), Middle Eastern (4.4%), Mixed Race (4.0%), and Indigenous (1.1%).

Study site names are not specified and sites were coded 1–5 to maintain site confidentiality.

For reasons related to the parent UniVenture study, the AUDIT-C drinking frequency item measured lifetime drinking frequency on a 9-point scale. For the present study, this items’ responses were re-coded to a 5-point scale to match the past-3 month timeframe for AUDIT-C items 2 and 3.

Arcadepani, F. B., Eskenazi, D. Y. G., Fidalgo, T. M., & Hong, J. S. (2021). An exploration of the link between bullying perpetration and substance use: A review of the literature. Trauma Violence & Abuse, 22 (1), 207–214. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838019837593

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the UniVenture Consortium, a group of Canadian researchers and project staff, for their contributions to data collection and recruitment for the UniVenture project. Specifically, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to the following research staff and volunteers: Marion Audet, Swaha Bhowmick, Julian Carusone, Stephanie Cooper, Dao Corriveau, Nora Fripp, Lillea Hohn, Naama Kronstein, Audrey Livet, Aram Mahmoud, Mackenzie Moore, Vanessa Morris, Raquel Nogueira-Arjona, Philippe Pétrin-Pomerleau, Katherine Rose, Ramin Rostampour, Karen Stewart-Kirk, Paweena Sukhawathanakil, and Cassidy Wallis. We are also thankful for the continued support received from UniVenture partner organizations, including Student Affairs Units from participating universities, Nova Scotia Health Authority-Research Methods Unit (NSHA-RMU), Regional SPOR Support Units, the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM), the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), and Injury Free Nova Scotia (IFNS).

This study was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant (#895-2019-1021; Project Director = SHS). Additionally, Dr. Sherry H. Stewart is supported through a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Addiction and Mental Health (2017-11-01) and Dr. Patricia J. Conrod, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Preventative Mental Health and Addiction (2018-01-01). Dr. Laura J. Lambe was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) postdoctoral fellowship. The funding organizations were not involved in study design or conduct, analysis and interpretation of the data, the manuscript completion process, or the decision and process of pursuing publication.

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The conceptualization and planning of the methodology and analyses included collaboration between Dr. Sherry H. Stewart, Dr. Laura J. Lambe, and Alanna C. Kaser. All authors contributed to data collection. Data cleaning, analysis, and manuscript preparation were completed by Alanna C. Kaser, who was supervised and supported through this process by Dr. Laura J. Lambe, Dr. Sherry H. Stewart, and Dr. Fakir M. Yunus. All authors were involved in the review and editing of the manuscript and all approved the final manuscript for submission.

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Kaser, A.C., Lambe, L.J., Yunus, F.M. et al. Bullying Prevalence and Associations with Mental Health Problems Among Canadian Undergraduates During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Int Journal of Bullying Prevention (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42380-024-00257-2

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Impact of bullying on academic performance of high school students

Profile image of Dr.Thseen Nazir

Bullying, a specific form of aggression, which is intentional, has been identified as a problematic behavior among adolescents, affecting not only the normal life of an individual but also have dire consequences on academic performance of adolescents. A pragmatic effort has been made to study the impact of bullying on academic performance of high school students. The present study was directed on 100 adolescents (Boys n=50, & Girls n=50) by using simple random sampling. Bullying was assessed by using Peer Bullying Survey Questionnaire, developed by Metin Pisken (2010). After analyzing data by using simple regression and simple independent t-test, it was found that bullying have direct impact on academic performance of high school students and also girls are more bullied than boys.

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This study was designed to determine the impact of bullying on the academic performance of Grade 10 learners in a public secondary school. This study greatly helped the school in preparing an action plan to prevent bullying on the campus. Verbal bullying had the highest impact on the academic performance of the students. This means the more frequent they are bullied verbally, the lower the academic performance they would have. It shows that verbal bullying has a high negative correlation with the academic performance with rxy-value of -0.803 which is significant at 0.05 level. The null hypothesis was rejected. Social bullying shows a moderate negative correlation with academic performanance...

Izky Tussila Diana Putri

Background: School is one of the places where children interact with their peers. Children&#39;s behavior in interacting with others has different coping responses due to bullying behavior. The prevalence of this bullying behavior tends to increase in both cyber and school environments.Methods: This study used a cross sectional study design. The research subjects were 128 respondents. Selected through probability sampling. Data were collected using a questionnaire illois bullying scale to measure the incidence of bullying and to determine the coping mechanism using a Ways of Coping questionnaire.Results: As a result of bullying in children, 45 respondents (66.2%) showed ineffective coping behavior. Hypothesis testing using the Chi-Square test with a confidence level of 95% with the result of a p value of 0.00 (p 0.002), with an OR value of 3.14.Conclusions: The impact on children who get bully behavior in the school environment is related to the emergence of ineffective coping mecha...

Amany Masalha

Bullying in the school has become a global concern. The aim of this paper was to review studies that discuss the prevalence and factors associated with bullying behavior among school students. The electronic search was carried out in two databases Google Scholar and PubMed. According to the past studies, there was a great difference in the prevalence of bullying behavior among school students. Bullying behavior among school students was associated with many factors; personal factors, family factors, and school factors. The present review indicates that the issue of bullying among school students requires further attention, both for future research and preventive interventions.

arjun bantugan

Objective: The main aim of this research is to investigate the prevalence of bullying behaviour, its victims and the types of bullying and places of bullying among 14-17 year-old adolescents in a sample of school children in Bursa, Turkey. Methodology: A cross-sectional survey questionnaire was conducted among class 1 and class 2 high school students for identification bullying. Results: Majority (96.7%) of the students were involved in bullying behaviours as aggressors or victims. For a male student, the likelihood of being involved in violent behaviours was detected to be nearly 8.4 times higher when compared with a female student. Conclusion: a multidisciplinary approach involving affected children, their parents, school personnel , media, non-govermental organizations, and security units is required to achieve an effective approach for the prevention of violence targeting children in schools as victims and/or perpetrators.

Rhea Javier

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Links to Cyberbullying of Risky Online Behavior and Social Media Addiction among Students in Grades 7-9 in Bangkok

  • W. Atsariyasing , Chayanin Foongsathaporn , +3 authors C. Pornnoppadol
  • Published in Journal of Health Science and… 1 July 2024
  • Psychology, Education

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Does the covid-19 pandemic increase or decrease the global cyberbullying behaviors a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Prevalence of traditional bullying and cyberbullying among children and adolescents in australia: a systematic review and meta-analysis, the role of parental mediation and peer norms on the likelihood of cyberbullying, cyberbullying and adolescent mental health: systematic review, risk factors for involvement in cyber bullying: victims, bullies, and bully-victims, meta-analyses of the predictors and outcomes of cyberbullying perpetration and victimization while controlling for traditional bullying perpetration and victimization, an assessment of the validity and reliability of the social-media addiction screening scale (s-mass), understanding adolescent cyberbullies: exploring social media addiction and psychological factors, cyberbullying and internet addiction in gifted and nongifted teenagers, related papers.

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COMMENTS

  1. (PDF) School bullying in high school students ...

    Abstract: School bullying is a significant problem affecting high school students. This article. provides an overview of the causes and consequences of bullying, as well as prevention. and coping ...

  2. Bullying in schools: the state of knowledge and effective interventions

    Abstract. During the school years, bullying is one of the most common expressions of violence in the peer context. Research on bullying started more than forty years ago, when the phenomenon was defined as 'aggressive, intentional acts carried out by a group or an individual repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him- or herself'.

  3. The Effectiveness of Policy Interventions for School Bullying: A

    Abstract Objective: Bullying threatens the mental and educational well-being of students. Although anti-bullying policies are prevalent, little is known about their effectiveness. This systematic review evaluates the methodological characteristics and summarizes substantive findings of studies examining the effectiveness of school bullying policies. Method: Searches of 11 bibliographic ...

  4. Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a

    To examine recent trends in bullying and mental health problems among adolescents and the association between them. A questionnaire measuring mental health problems, bullying at school, socio-economic status, and the school environment was distributed to all secondary school students aged 15 (school-year 9) and 18 (school-year 11) in Stockholm during 2014, 2018, and 2020 (n = 32,722).

  5. Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a

    Prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems. Estimates of the prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems across the 12 strata of data (3 years × 2 school grades × 2 genders) are shown in Table Table1. 1. The prevalence of bullying at school increased minimally (< 1%) between 2014 and 2020, except among girls ...

  6. Factors Predicting In-School and Electronic Bullying among High School

    Background: Bullying is a global public health problem with severe adverse effects on behavioral health. Understanding the predictors of victimization by bullying is essential for public policy initiatives to respond to the problem effectively. In addition to traditional in-person bullying, electronic bullying has become more prevalent due to increasing social interaction and identity ...

  7. Effects of Bullying Forms on Adolescent Mental Health and Protective

    The results of a survey conducted by Scheithauer et al. (2006) in Germany with students in grades 5-10 , and the results of the prevalence of six forms of bullying among 2667 Italian secondary school students, obtained by Vieno et al. in 2011 using the results of the Health Behavior in School-aged Children Survey database, also both showed ...

  8. Bullying among High School Students

    Objective: The main aim of this research is to investigate the prevalence of bullying behaviour, its victims and the types of bullying and places of bullying among 14-17 year-old adolescents in a sample of school children in Bursa, Turkey. Methodology: A cross-sectional survey questionnaire was conducted among class 1 and class 2 high school students for identification bullying.

  9. PDF Bullying Among Junior High School Students: Effects on Health and

    228 JPAIR Multidisciplinary Research Furthermore, Arseneault (2017) study showed that higher rates of anxiety and panic attacks among victims of bullying, and such experiences are increasingly

  10. PDF The Witness Experiences of Bullying in High School Students: A ...

    the form of a process, focusing on high school students in the case of bullying. While studies on bully and victim behaviors are available, research performed. in Turkey on students in the witness position is seldom observed (Ergül, 2009). This research intends to investigate the proces. high school students who have witnessed bullying ...

  11. Bullying Prevalence and Associations with Mental Health Problems Among

    Along with shifts to online learning and declines in mental health, the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased rates of adolescent cyberbullying; however, research on bullying in the pandemic context in emerging adulthood is limited. We examined demographic and pandemic-related differences in cyber- (i.e., online) and traditional (i.e., in-person) bullying involvement among 1,435 ...

  12. Full article: Cyberbullying in High Schools: A Study of Students

    Originally, teachers of these 15 classes distributed the survey to 312 students. Among these students, only 269 (148 males, 101 females; 20 did not report gender) returned the completed survey, which formed the sample of this study. Over 90% of these students used the Internet at home and close to 47% used cell phones at school.

  13. High School Teacher Bullying and Student Risk Behavior

    Although previous research has examined teacher bullying among younger students, this is one of the first studies to document teacher bullying in a high school sample. The results indicated comparable amounts of peer bullying (5.2%) and teacher bullying (5.1%) at the high- school level and significant associations between both forms of bullying ...

  14. Bullying problem among high school students: The impact of school life

    Bullying has been recognized as a worldwide problem. Despite the growing popularity of bullying research, relatively few studies have investigated school bullying in Northern Cyprus. This study has two aims. The first aim is to observe the frequency of bullying among North Cyprus adolescents.

  15. PDF Bullying behavior among students

    Bullying is a serious public health problem due to the impact of bullying felt by both bullies and victims. Many studies on bullying have been carried out by various countries but the prevalence of bullying in each country is different. The prevalence of bullying is 48.5% in Ontorio [6], prevalence bullying in Australia was reported that 34% of ...

  16. The role of parents' attitudes towards children's use of communication

    In this study, cyberbullying is discussed through the school-family-child triangle. The research was conducted to examine how high school students' coping levels with cyberbullying are affected by the school climate and their parents' attitudes towards children's use of information and communication technologies.

  17. Verbal Bullying Changes Among Students Following an Educational

    School-based interventions are important in raising student awareness, developing their skills and in planning to reduce bullying behavior. METHODS A randomized controlled trial, using a school-based educational intervention to reduce verbal bullying, was conducted among grade 10 students in 16 urban and rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South ...

  18. Campus Bullying in the Senior High School: A Qualitative Case Study

    Norman Raotraot Galabo. ABSTRACT: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to describe the campus bullying experiences of senior high school students in a certain. secondary school at Davao ...

  19. Comparison of levels of bullying, achievement motivation, and

    Another hypothesis was that resilience, bullying (victim and bully), and nationality (Turkish or Syrian) would predict a significant percentage of the variance in achievement motivation among high school students; and when two regression models were created for each nationality, there would be a difference model fit between Syrian refugee ...

  20. PDF The Impact of School Bullying On Students' Academic Achievement from

    It is well known that bullying is difficult to eliminate or to stop it in schools because it is used by students. Bullying at school has various impact, among such impact is the academic achievement. Therefore the research problem is to determine the impact of school bullying on students' academic achievement from teachers point of view.

  21. PDF Bullying and Mental Health of Senior High School Students

    The research aims to determine the prevalence of physical, verbal, and cyberbullying and how these forms of bullying impact students' mental health. A quantitative descriptive approach was used to achieve this, which involved surveying 50 SHS students in Davao City using a Likert scale questionnaire.

  22. Impact of bullying on academic performance of high school students

    With F=38.95, p˂.001, we may conclude that there is a significant relationship between bullying and academic performance of high school students. Table 2.1.A. Showing coefficient of regression for high school students with regard to their bullying. Variables Bullying Standard Coefficients Β T -.827 6.42 p-value .000 a.

  23. (PDF) Bullying among High School Students

    Objective: The main aim of this research is to investigate the prevalence of bullying behaviour, its. victims and the types of bullying and places of bullying among 14-17 year-old adolescents in a ...

  24. Age and Gender Differences and the Contribution of School Size ...

    This article looks into methodological issues in the assessment of bullying, providing cross-national bullying statistics and discussing the possible causes of essential variation in prevalence rate estimates. Individual- and school-level characteristics of bullying are described based on the results of a large-scale representative survey of school students (201 schools, 18 433 students) in ...

  25. Measuring Bullying in Russian Schools: Prevalence, Age and Gender ...

    This article describes the process of developing instruments to measure school bullying and school climate characteristics as well as presents the results of their evaluation on a sample of 871 middle- and high-school students from a Russian megalopolis. It is shown that bullying prevalence depends on the type of aggressive behavior and involvement, varying from 4% (involvement in physical ...

  26. Links to Cyberbullying of Risky Online Behavior and Social Media

    Objective: This present study examined the connections regarding cyberbullying, risky online behavior and social media addiction, among 7th-9th grade students in Bangkok; Thailand. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted, using a self-report questionnaire consisting of: demographic data, cyberbullying, risky online behavior and the Social Media Addiction Screening Scale ...

  27. Bullying Among Junior High School Students: Effects on Health and

    Specifically, this study utilized a survey and visual analytics to examine cyberbullying among 882 middle and high-school students (380 boys and 502 girls) in two New Jersey districts.

  28. PDF Examining Childhood Maltreatment and School Bullying Among Adolescents

    This study examined the association between multiple types of childhood maltreatment (physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect) and multiple forms of school bullying (physical, verbal, relational, and cyber). A cross-sectional study using three-stage random cluster-sampling approach was conducted in ...

  29. Similar but different—Social relations and achievement motivation in

    The international concern with school bullying is given particular consideration in relation to its impact on the well-being of all involved. ... Participants were 264 high school students from ...