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Concept: Victimisation


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.

Concepts: Psychology, Cohort study, Sociology, Cognition, Abuse, Bullying, Victimisation, Socioeconomics


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.

Concepts: Psychology, Violence, Human behavior, Suffering, Abuse, Suicide, Bullying, Victimisation


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.

Concepts: Abuse, A priori, A priori and a posteriori, Victim, Bullying, Victimisation, Victim blaming, Victim playing


Women are entering US prisons at nearly double the rate of men and are the fastest growing prison population. Current extant literature focuses on the prevalence of the incarceration of women, but few studies exist that emphasize the different trajectories to prison. For example, women prisoners have greater experiences of prior victimization, more reports of mental illness, and higher rates of illicit substance use. The purpose of this study was to understand the prevalence of childhood victimization and its association with adult mental health problems, substance abuse disorders, and further sexual victimization. The research team interviewed a random sample of 125 women prisoners soon to be released from prison to gather information on their childhood physical and sexual victimization, mental health and substance abuse problems as an adult, and sexual victimization in the year preceding incarceration. Results indicate that women prisoners in this sample, who were both physically and sexually victimized as children, were more likely to be hospitalized as an adult for a psychological or emotional problem. Women who were sexually victimized or both physically and sexually victimized were more likely to attempt suicide. Women who experienced physical victimization as children and women who were both physically and sexually victimized were more likely to have a substance use disorder and women who were sexually abused as children or both physically and sexually victimized were more likely to be sexually abused in the year preceding prison. This article ends with a discussion about prisons' role in providing treatment for women prisoners and basing this treatment on women’s trajectories to prison, which disproportionately include childhood victimization and subsequent mental health and substance use problems.

Concepts: Mental disorder, Prison, Abuse, Substance abuse, Bullying, Victimisation, Recidivism, Victim blaming


Rape myth attitudes (RMAs) can excuse men for rape, placing blame on female victims. This study identified and classified RMAs in rural western Kenya through 31 focus group discussions with youths and adults. We found that about half of the participants were likely to blame victims unconditionally. Stereotypes about rape victims and perpetrators were rife. Five of seven standardly used RMA categories emerged spontaneously in focus groups, along with a new category: “she owed him.” Based on the data, we developed a “blame index” to assess the likelihood of community victim blaming in Kenya. To reduce victim blaming and bring about more prosecutions for rape, community education, teacher training, and reforms of rape laws are highly recommended.

Concepts: Focus group, Qualitative research, Social psychology, Bullying, Victimisation, Scapegoating, Blame, Demonization


Lehti, V., Brunstein Klomek, A., Tamminen, T., Moilanen, I., Kumpulainen, K., Piha, J., Almqvist. F. & Sourander, A. (2012). Childhood bullying and becoming a young father in a national cohort of Finnish boys. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 461-466. Childhood bullying is known to be associated with various adverse psychosocial outcomes in later life. No studies exist on its association with becoming a young father. The study is based on a national cohort, which included 2,946 Finnish boys at baseline in 1989. Information on bullying was collected from children, their parents and their teachers. Follow-up data on becoming a father under the age of 22 were collected from a nationwide register. The follow-up sample included 2,721 boys. Bullying other children frequently was significantly associated with becoming a young father independently of being victimized, childhood psychiatric symptoms and parental educational level. Being a victim of bullying was not associated with becoming a young father when adjusted for possible confounders. When the co-occurrence of bullying and victimization was studied, it was found that being a bully-victim, but not a pure bully or a pure victim, is significantly associated with becoming a young father. This study adds to other studies, which have shown that the risk profile and relational patterns of bully-victims differ from those of other children, and it emphasizes the importance of including peer relationships when studying young fathers.

Concepts: Parent, Mother, Abuse, Bullying, Victimisation, Victim blaming, Victim playing, Scapegoating


Recent media attention has increased interest in behavioral, mental health, and academic correlates of involvement in bullying. Yet, there has not been much interest in investigating the co-occurrence of other health-risk behaviors, such as gang membership, weapon carrying, and substance use. The potential influence of contextual factors, such as youth ethnicity, urbanicity, and school characteristics, also has been overlooked in previous research. The current study examined different subtypes of involvement in bullying-as primarily a victim, as primarily a bully, as both a victim and bully, and no involvement-and the association with significant health-risk behaviors, including engaging in violence and substance use, as well as academic problems. The analyses use self-report data from 16,302 adolescents (50.3 % female, 62.2 % Caucasian, 37.8 % African American) enrolled in 52 high schools. A series of three-level HLM analyses revealed that bullies and bully/victims were generally at greatest of risk of being involved in violence, engaging in multiple types of substance use, and having academic problems. These findings extend prior research by emphasizing a potential link between involvement in bullying and multiple health-risk behaviors, particularly among urban and African American high school youth.

Concepts: Psychology, High school, White American, College, Abuse, Bullying, Victimisation, Gang


Adolescent bullying is associated with a range of adversities for those who are bullied i.e., victims and bully-victims (e.g., those who bully others and get victimised), including reduced psychological functioning and eating disorder symptoms. Bullies are generally well-adjusted psychologically, but previous research suggests that bullies may also engage in problematic diet behaviours. This study investigates a) whether adolescents involved in bullying (bullies, victims, bully-victims) are at increased risk of weight loss preoccupation, b) whether psychological functioning mediates this relationship and c) whether sex is a key moderator.

Concepts: Psychology, Nutrition, Abuse, Bullying, Victimisation


We have known for some time that being bullied was associated with children’s and adolescents' adjustment difficulties and well-being. In recent years, we have come to recognise that the impact of childhood bullying victimisation on the development of mental health problems is more complex. This paper aims to review the evidence for an independent contribution of childhood bullying victimisation to the development of poor outcomes throughout the life span, including mental, physical and socioeconomic outcomes, and discuss the implications for policy and practice.

Concepts: Quality of life, Childhood, Adolescence, Mental disorder, Abuse, Bullying, Victimisation


Bullying and being bullied in childhood are both linked with later adjustment problems. The impact of childhood bullying on risk for poor physical health in adulthood is understudied. Black and White men ( n = 305; mean age = 32.3 years) enrolled in the Pittsburgh Youth Study since the first grade underwent a comprehensive assessment of psychosocial, behavioral, and biological risk factors for poor health. Indices of bullying and being bullied were created by averaging annual ratings collected from participants and their caregivers when the participants were 10 to 12 years old. Results showed that being a bully in childhood was associated with greater stress and aggression and poorer health behaviors in adulthood, whereas being a victim of bullies in childhood was associated with lower socioeconomic resources, less optimism, and greater unfair treatment in adulthood. Unexpectedly, neither bullying nor being bullied in childhood was related to inflammation or metabolic syndrome. Bullying and being bullied in childhood were associated with distinct domains of psychosocial risk in adulthood that may later lead to poor physical health.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Aggression, Relational aggression, Abuse, Bullying, Victimisation, Victim blaming