Cross-national Consistency in the Relationship Between Bullying Behaviors and Psychosocial Adjustment

Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892-7510, USA.
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.73). 09/2004; 158(8):730-6. DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.158.8.730
Source: PubMed


To determine whether the relationship between bullying and psychosocial adjustment is consistent across countries by standard measures and methods.
Cross-sectional self-report surveys were obtained from nationally representative samples of students in 25 countries. Involvement in bullying, as bully, victim, or both bully and victim, was assessed.
Surveys were conducted at public and private schools throughout the participating countries.
Participants included all consenting students in sampled classrooms, for a total of 113 200 students at average ages of 11.5, 13.5, and 15.5 years.
Psychosocial adjustment dimensions assessed included health problems, emotional adjustment, school adjustment, relationships with classmates, alcohol use, and weapon carrying.
Involvement in bullying varied dramatically across countries, ranging from 9% to 54% of youth. However, across all countries, involvement in bullying was associated with poorer psychosocial adjustment (P<.05). In all or nearly all countries, bullies, victims, and bully-victims reported greater health problems and poorer emotional and social adjustment. Victims and bully-victims consistently reported poorer relationships with classmates, whereas bullies and bully-victims reported greater alcohol use and weapon carrying.
The association of bullying with poorer psychosocial adjustment is remarkably similar across countries. Bullying is a critical issue for the health of youth internationally.


Available from: Tonja Nansel
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    • "Despite bullying rates differing from country to country, some international similarities exist in bullying outcomes. Nansel et al. (2004) states that an association between bullying involvement and lower psychosocial adjustment appeared in each of the 25 countries they surveyed. Similarly noted in Molcho et al. (2009), most countries have experienced a decrease in bullying over time. "
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    • "Previous studies indicate that bully-victims tend to have characteristics that are partly similar to those of the victims, partly to those of the bullies. For example, in a cross-national study from 25 countries (Nansel et al., 2004), bully-victims and victims had poorer relationships with classmates; bully-victims and bullies were more involved in alcohol use and weapon carrying; and bullyvictims reported more health and school adjustment problems than students in the other groups. Haynie and colleagues (2001) found that self-reported bully-victims in middle school grades 6–8 (around 11–14 years of age) exhibited the most problematic behaviour and depressive symptoms, while they scored the lowest on social competence, self-control and peer acceptance, as compared with bullies, victims and non-involved children. "
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