Bullying involvement and self-reported mental health in elementary school children across Europe
Number of pages
SourceChild Abuse & Neglect, 107, (2020), article 104601
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Child Abuse & Neglect
Background: Bullying behavior is recognized internationally as a serious issue associated with mental health and functioning problems among children. Objective: The present study sought to determine the associations between bullying involvement and self-reported mental health among elementary school children across seven European countries. Participants and setting: The School Children Mental Health in Europe study was conducted in Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and Turkey in 2010 using similar methodology to collect cross-sectional data from children, parents, and teachers. Methods: The study focused on children who had completed the Dominic Interactive and whose mother and/or teacher had completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (n = 5,183). Results: Overall 14.3 % of children were identified as bullies, 18.2 % as victims and, 19.0 % as both bullies and victims. Despite the low threshold for defining bullying status, children identified as being involved were highly likely to present with self-reported mental health problems: 31.6 % of bully-victims reported any disorder, while 25.4 % of bullies and 23.1 % of victims did. Adjusting for key factors, bullies and bully-victims were significantly more likely to present with any externalizing disorder, while victims were not. Additionally, bully-victim status was associated with significantly greater odds of presenting with each internalizing disorder: phobia (AOR = 1.48, 95 %CI = 1.01-2.19), GAD (AOR = 2.54, 95 %CI = 1.67-3.87), separation anxiety (AOR = 1.88, 95 %CI = 1.43-2.47) and depression (AOR = 2.52, 95 %CI = 1.61-3.93). However, victim status was only associated with GAD (AOR = 1.63, 95 %CI = 1.07-2.48) and bully status with separation anxiety (AOR = 1.44, 95 %CI = 1.07-1.93). Conclusions: The results highlight the association of bullying involvement and child mental health in elementary school children across Europe.
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