Trends in bullying victimization in Scottish adolescents 1994–2014: changing associations with mental well-beingReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 62, Issue 6, pp 639–646

First Online: 15 March 2017Received: 04 August 2016Revised: 27 February 2017Accepted: 27 February 2017DOI: 10.1007-s00038-017-0965-6

Cite this article as: Cosma, A., Whitehead, R., Neville, F. et al. Int J Public Health 2017 62: 639. doi:10.1007-s00038-017-0965-6


ObjectivesBullying victimization among schoolchildren is a major public health concern. This paper aims to analyse the changing associations over two decades between bullying victimization and mental well-being in a representative Scottish schoolchildren sample.

MethodsData were collected in six rounds of the cross-sectional Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study in Scotland, with 42,312 adolescents aged 11, 13 and 15 years. Logistic and linear regressions were used to examine changes in the association between bullying victimization and mental well-being.

ResultsThe prevalence of bullying victimization rates in Scotland increased between 1994 and 2014 for most age–gender groups, apart from 13-year-old boys and 15-year-old girls. Over time, female victims reported less confidence and happiness and more psychological complaints than their non-bullied counterparts. This worsening effect over time was not observed in boys.

ConclusionsOverall, our evidence indicates that the associations between bullying victimization and poor mental well-being strengthened overtime for bullied girls. This finding might partly explain the observed deterioration in mental health indicators among Scottish adolescent girls.

KeywordsBullying victimization Mental well-being Happiness Confidence Time trends Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s00038-017-0965-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Alina Cosma - Ross Whitehead - Fergus Neville - Dorothy Currie - Jo Inchley


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