Stability of Bullying and Victimization from Childhood through Adolescence in a General Population Sample

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Abstract

Little is known about the persistence of bullying and victimization from childhood through adolescence and the emergence of new cases, which we investigated in a general population sample. Mothers rated the degree to which their child was a bully and a victim on the Pediatric Behavior Scale in a population-based sample of 376 children. The children were rated at 6-12 years of age (M 9) and again an average of 8 years later (M 16). Bullying was a problem for 14% at baseline, 9% at follow-up, and 4% at both baseline and follow-up. Victimization was a problem for 28% at baseline, 14% at follow-up, and 7% at both baseline and follow-up. Child victims were three times more likely to be adolescent victims than children who were not victims in childhood, and child bullies were five times more likely to be adolescent bullies. Only 26% of children who were victims at baseline continued to be victims at follow-up, and 30% who were bullies at baseline continued to be a bully at follow-up. For children who were neither a bully nor a victim at baseline, 87% remained neither at follow-up. Approximately half of adolescents who were bullies and half who were victims at follow-up were new cases. Although bullying and victimization decreased with time overall, the findings that 30% and 26% were still bullies and still victims and that half were new cases support the need for intervention to eliminate bullying, relieve current suffering, reduce chronicity, and prevent bullying from developing.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and Mental Health
StatePublished - May 2017

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