Sexual harassment is commonly considered unwanted sexual attention and a form of gender-based violence that can take physical, verbal and visual forms and it is assumed to cause later depression in adolescents. There is a dearth of research explicitly testing this assumption and the directional pathway remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to use a feminist theoretical framework to test competing models in respect of the direction of the relationships between dimensions of peer sexual harassment victimization and dimensions of depressive symptoms from ages 14 to 16 in adolescents. The study also aimed to investigate gender differences in these pathways. Cross-lagged models were conducted using a three-wave (2010, 2011 and 2012) longitudinal study of 2330 students (51 % females) from Sweden, adjusted for social background. Girls subjected to sexual harassment in grade seven continued to experience sexual harassment the following 2 years. There was weaker evidence of repeated experience of sexual harassment among boys. Depressive symptoms were stable over time in both genders. Sexual name-calling was the dimension that had the strongest associations to all dimensions of depressive symptoms irrespective of gender. In girls, name-calling was associated with later somatic symptoms and negative affect, while anhedonia (reduced ability to experience pleasure) preceded later name-calling. Physical sexual harassment had a reciprocal relationship to somatic symptoms in girls. In boys, name-calling was preceded by all dimensions of depressive symptoms. It is an urgent matter to prevent sexual harassment victimization, as it is most likely to both cause depressive symptoms or a reciprocal cycle of victimization and depression symptoms in girls as well as boys.
Childhood obesity and school bullying are pervasive public health issues and known to co-occur in adolescents. However, the association between underweight or thinness and chronic bullying victimization is unclear. The current study examined whether chronic bullying victimization is associated with weight status and body self-image.
OBJECTIVE The authors examined midlife outcomes of childhood bullying victimization. METHOD Data were from the British National Child Development Study, a 50-year prospective cohort of births in 1 week in 1958. The authors conducted ordinal logistic and linear regressions on data from 7,771 participants whose parents reported bullying exposure at ages 7 and 11 years, and who participated in follow-up assessments between ages 23 and 50 years. Outcomes included suicidality and diagnoses of depression, anxiety disorders, and alcohol dependence at age 45; psychological distress and general health at ages 23 and 50; and cognitive functioning, socioeconomic status, social relationships, and well-being at age 50. RESULTS Participants who were bullied in childhood had increased levels of psychological distress at ages 23 and 50. Victims of frequent bullying had higher rates of depression (odds ratio=1.95, 95% CI=1.27-2.99), anxiety disorders (odds ratio=1.65, 95% CI=1.25-2.18), and suicidality (odds ratio=2.21, 95% CI=1.47-3.31) than their nonvictimized peers. The effects were similar to those of being placed in public or substitute care and an index of multiple childhood adversities, and the effects remained significant after controlling for known correlates of bullying victimization. Childhood bullying victimization was associated with a lack of social relationships, economic hardship, and poor perceived quality of life at age 50. CONCLUSIONS Children who are bullied-and especially those who are frequently bullied-continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after exposure. Interventions need to reduce bullying exposure in childhood and minimize long-term effects on victims' well-being; such interventions should cast light on causal processes.
Bullying is the systematic abuse of power and is defined as aggressive behaviour or intentional harm-doing by peers that is carried out repeatedly and involves an imbalance of power. Being bullied is still often wrongly considered as a ‘normal rite of passage’. This review considers the importance of bullying as a major risk factor for poor physical and mental health and reduced adaptation to adult roles including forming lasting relationships, integrating into work and being economically independent. Bullying by peers has been mostly ignored by health professionals but should be considered as a significant risk factor and safeguarding issue.
Previous research has reported that sexual harassment can lead to reduced mental health. Few studies have focused on sexual harassment conducted by clients or customers, which might occur in person-related occupations such as eldercare work, social work or customer service work. This study examined the cross-sectional association between sexual harassment by clients or customers and depressive symptoms. We also examined if this association was different compared to sexual harassment conducted by a colleague, supervisor or subordinate. Further, we investigated if psychosocial workplace initiatives modified the association between sexual harassment by clients or customers and level of depressive symptoms.
A growing body of research has confirmed that workplace bullying is a source of distress and poor mental health. Here we summarize the cross-sectional and longitudinal literature on these associations.
Cyberbullying has been portrayed as a rising ‘epidemic’ amongst children and adolescents. But does it create many new victims beyond those already bullied with traditional means (physical, relational)? Our aim was to determine whether cyberbullying creates uniquely new victims, and whether it has similar impact upon psychological and behavioral outcomes for adolescents, beyond those experienced by traditional victims. This study assessed 2745 pupils, aged 11-16, from UK secondary schools. Pupils completed an electronic survey that measured bullying involvement, self-esteem and behavioral problems. Twenty-nine percent reported being bullied but only 1% of adolescents were pure cyber-victims (i.e., not also bullied traditionally). Compared to direct or relational victims, cyber-victimization had similar negative effects on behavior (z = -0.41) and self-esteem (z = -0.22) compared to those not involved in bullying. However, those bullied by multiple means (poly-victims) had the most difficulties with behavior (z = -0.94) and lowest self-esteem (z = -0.78). Cyberbullying creates few new victims, but is mainly a new tool to harm victims already bullied by traditional means. Cyberbullying extends the reach of bullying beyond the school gate. Intervention strategies against cyberbullying may need to include approaches against traditional bullying and its root causes to be successful.
OBJECTIVE:Few studies have comprehensively examined weight-based victimization (WBV) in youth, despite its serious consequences for their psychosocial and physical health. Given that obese and treatment-seeking youth may be highly vulnerable to WBV and its negative consequences, the current study provides a comprehensive assessment of WBV in a weight loss treatment-seeking sample.METHODS:Adolescents (aged 14-18 years; N = 361) enrolled in 2 national weight loss camps were surveyed. An in-depth assessment of WBV was conducted by using an online survey, in which participants indicated the duration, typical locations, frequent perpetrators, and forms of WBV they had experienced.RESULTS:Findings indicate that 64% of the study participants reported WBV at school, and the risk of WBV increased with body weight. Most participants reported WBV enduring for 1 year (78%), and 36% were teased/bullied for 5 years. Peers (92%) and friends (70%) were the most commonly reported perpetrators, followed by adult perpetrators, including physical education teachers/sport coaches (42%), parents (37%), and teachers (27%). WBV was most frequently reported in the form of verbal teasing (75%-88%), relational victimization (74%-82%), cyberbullying (59%-61%), and physical aggression (33%-61%). WBV was commonly experienced in multiple locations at school.CONCLUSIONS:WBV is a prevalent experience for weight loss treatment-seeking youth, even when they are no longer overweight. Given the frequent reports of WBV from adult perpetrators in addition to peers, treatment providers and school personnel can play an important role in identifying and supporting youth who may be at risk for pervasive teasing and bullying.
The impact of bullying in all forms on the mental health and safety of adolescents is of particular interest, especially in the wake of new methods of bullying that victimize youths through technology. The current study examined the relationship between victimization from both physical and cyber bullying and adolescent suicidal behavior. Violent behavior, substance use, and unsafe sexual behavior were tested as mediators between two forms of bullying, cyber and physical, and suicidal behavior. Data were taken from a large risk-behavior screening study with a sample of 4,693 public high school students (mean age = 16.11, 47 % female). The study’s findings showed that both physical bullying and cyber bullying associated with substance use, violent behavior, unsafe sexual behavior, and suicidal behavior. Substance use, violent behavior, and unsafe sexual behavior also all associated with suicidal behavior. Substance use and violent behavior partially mediated the relationship between both forms of bullying and suicidal behavior. The comparable amount of variance in suicidal behavior accounted for by both cyber bullying and physical bullying underscores the important of further cyber bullying research. The direct association of each risk behavior with suicidal behavior also underscores the importance of reducing risk behaviors. Moreover, the role of violence and substance use as mediating behaviors offers an explanation of how risk behaviors can increase an adolescent’s likelihood of suicidal behavior through habituation to physical pain and psychological anxiety.
Cyberbullying, a modern form of bullying performed using electronic forms of contact (e.g., SMS, MMS, Facebook, YouTube), has been considered as being worse than traditional bullying in its consequences for the victim. This difference was mainly attributed to some specific aspect that are believed to distinguish cyberbullying from traditional bullying: an increased potential for a large audience, an increased potential for anonymous bullying, lower levels of direct feedback, decreased time and space limits, and lower levels of supervision. The present studies investigated the relative importance of medium (traditional vs. cyber), publicity (public vs. private), and bully’s anonymity (anonymous vs. not anonymous) for the perceived severity of hypothetical bullying scenarios among a sample of Swiss seventh- and eight-graders (study 1: 49 % female, mean age = 13.7; study 2: 49 % female, mean age = 14.2). Participants ranked a set of hypothetical bullying scenarios from the most severe one to the least severe one. The scenarios were experimentally manipulated based on the aspect of medium and publicity (study 1), and medium and anonymity (study 2). Results showed that public scenarios were perceived as worse than private ones, and that anonymous scenarios were perceived as worse than not anonymous ones. Cyber scenarios generally were perceived as worse than traditional ones, although effect sizes were found to be small. These results suggest that the role of medium is secondary to the role of publicity and anonymity when it comes to evaluating bullying severity. Therefore, cyberbullying is not a priori perceived as worse than traditional bullying. Implications of the results for cyberbullying prevention and intervention are discussed.