Do Bullied Children Get Ill, or Do Ill Children Get Bullied? A Prospective Cohort Study on the Relationship Between Bullying and Health-Related Symptoms

Leiden University, Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 06/2006; 117(5):1568-74. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2005-0187
Source: PubMed


A number of studies have shown that victimization from bullying behavior is associated with substantial adverse effects on physical and psychological health, but it is unclear which comes first, the victimization or the health-related symptoms. In our present study, we investigated whether victimization precedes psychosomatic and psychosocial symptoms or whether these symptoms precede victimization.
Six-month cohort study with baseline measurements taken in the fall of 1999 and follow-up measurements in the spring of 2000.
Eighteen elementary schools in the Netherlands.
The study included 1118 children aged 9 to 11 years, who participated by filling out a questionnaire on both occasions of data collection.
A self-administered questionnaire measured victimization from bullying, as well as a wide variety of psychosocial and psychosomatic symptoms, including depression, anxiety, bedwetting, headaches, sleeping problems, abdominal pain, poor appetite, and feelings of tension or tiredness.
Victims of bullying had significantly higher chances of developing new psychosomatic and psychosocial problems compared with children who were not bullied. In contrast, some psychosocial, but not physical, health symptoms preceded bullying victimization. Children with depressive symptoms had a significantly higher chance of being newly victimized, as did children with anxiety.
Many psychosomatic and psychosocial health problems follow an episode of bullying victimization. These findings stress the importance for doctors and health practitioners to establish whether bullying plays a contributing role in the etiology of such symptoms. Furthermore, our results indicate that children with depressive symptoms and anxiety are at increased risk of being victimized. Because victimization could have an adverse effect on children's attempts to cope with depression or anxiety, it is important to consider teaching these children skills that could make them less vulnerable to bullying behavior.

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    • "Specifically, reports of anxiety in the first semester of the school year was associated with increased bullying victimisation in the second semester for seventh graders, with significant but lower levels for eighth graders and ninth graders. This finding adds to the accumulating evidence that shows that social anxiety places children and adolescents at elevated risk for peer victimisation (Egan & Perry, 1998; Fekkes et al., 2006; Hodges et al., 1997; Ranta et al., 2013). A number of explanations can be offered for this. "
    International journal of adolescence and youth 09/2015; DOI:10.1080/02673843.2015.1083449
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    • "Research indicates that bullying has both immediate and longterm negative impacts on physical and mental health (e.g. Copeland, Wolke, Angold, & Costello, 2013; Copeland et al., 2014; Fekkes, Pijpers, Fredriks, Vogels, & Verloove-Vanhorick, 2006; Gini & Pozzoli, 2009; Hawker & Boulton, 2000). This has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare bullying to be a " major public health problem " (p.403) that necessitates immediate and widespread policy regarding prevention and intervention (Srabstein & Leventhal, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, bullying has come into focus as a critically important social issue that demands empirical understanding to inform best practice regarding both intervention and prevention. In Western cultures, low physical aggression in boys, but high physical aggression in girls, predicts elevated victimization due to bullying, and we predicted that the same would be true cross-culturally. The present study sought to understand the role that physical aggression plays in victimization in Samoa, provide a prevalence estimate of the rate of bullying in the island nation, as well as validate the Forms of Bullying Scale (FBS; Shaw, Dooley, Cross, Zubrick, & Waters, 2013) in a cross-cultural context. In a sample of adult Samoan men and women (n = 214), men reported elevated rates of verbal, physical, and overall rates of victimization due to bullying in childhood compared to women, but no sex differences emerged in levels of physical aggression. Additionally, the FBS showed appreciable reliability, as well as a latent factor structure consistent with the findings of the scale's authors. Prevalence of victimization due to bullying in Samoa is comparable to that reported by other authors conducting cross-cultural research on this topic.
    Personality and Individual Differences 08/2015; 87:85-87. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2015.07.032 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    • "Among the various health professions, dentistry commonly experiences situations in which children and adolescents have been subjected to bullying.[9] In everyday clinical practice, children and their family seek for dental treatment concerned about teeth esthetic. "
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    ABSTRACT: Facial esthetics, including oral esthetics, can severely affect children's quality-of-life, causing physical, social and psychological impairment. Children and adolescents with esthetic-related dental malformations are potential targets for bullies. This study was aimed to present and discuss patients who suffered from bullying at school and family environment due to esthetic-related teeth anomalies. Providing an adequate esthetic dental treatment is an important step in their rehabilitation when the lack of esthetic is the main source of bullying. After dental treatment, we noted significant improvement in self-esteem, self-confidence, socialization and academic performance of all patients and improvement in parental satisfaction regarding the appearance of their children. It is imperative that both family and school care providers be constantly alert about bullying in order to prevent or interrupt aggressive and discriminatory practices against children and adolescents. Clearly, dental anomalies may be a motive for bullying.
    European journal of dentistry 04/2014; 8(1):124-8. DOI:10.4103/1305-7456.126266
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