Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Don’t forget the “hidden” forms of bullying

Bullying is a widespread concern across schools, with around 1 in 3 young people being victimised1. It is widely viewed as a public health issue. Longitudinal research has shown the detrimental and long lasting effects of bullying on young people’s health and wellbeing2, with negative outcomes reported for both the victim and the perpetrator3.

Bullying behaviours can be broadly broken down into physical, verbal, cyber and relational bullying. Relational bullying behaviours upset the victim by damaging their peer relationships, friendships and social status4. Sometimes it is described as “indirect bullying” and can include actions which are harder to spot like social exclusion and the spreading of rumours.

The study of relational bullying specifically is warranted because it is the least understood form of bullying, and has seen little attention in a UK context. Also, teachers have been shown to respond with less empathy and concern to instances of relational bullying among students5.

The study examined the association between relational bullying specifically and adolescent health related quality of life, whilst controlling for the effect of demographic variables and other forms of bullying. Health related quality of life was measured with KIDSCREEN-10 – a measure created for young people which provides an overall score.

Young people who experienced relational bullying had lower KIDSCREEN-10 scores than those who were not bullied. Interestingly, the decrease in score which was linked to relational bullying was larger than the decrease for physical or verbal bullying.

The full paper can be found by clicking here. If you are interested in the topic of bullying you may also like to read our publications on cyberbullying and cross-national trends in bullying victimisation.

1.       Chester KL, Callaghan M, Cosma A, et al. Cross-national time trends in bullying victimization in 33 countries among children aged 11, 13 and 15 from 2002 to 2010. Eur J Public Health. 2015;25(suppl 2):61-64. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckv029.
2.       Bowes L, Joinson C, Wolke D, Lewis G. Peer victimisation during adolescence and its impact on depression in early adulthood: prospective cohort study in the United Kingdom. BMJ. 2015;350(January 2016):h2469. doi:10.1136/bmj.h2469.
3.       Wolke D, Copeland WE, Angold A, Costello EJ. Impact of bullying in childhood on adult health, wealth, crime, and social outcomes. Psychol Sci. 2013;24:1958-70. doi:10.1177/0956797613481608.
4.       Crick NR. The role of overt aggression, relational aggression, and prosocial behavior in the prediction of children’s future social adjustment. Child Dev. 1996;67(5):2317-2327. doi:10.2307/1131625.
5.       Kahn JH, Jones JL, Wieland AL. Preservice teachers’ coping styles and their responses to bullying. Psychol Sch. 2012;49(8):784-793. doi:10.1002/pits.21632.

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