Association of different forms of bullying victimisation with adolescents’ psychological distress and reduced emotional wellbeing

Thomas, Hannah J., Chan, Gary C. K., Scott, James G., Connor, Jason P., Kelly, A.B. and Williams, Joanne (2016) Association of different forms of bullying victimisation with adolescents’ psychological distress and reduced emotional wellbeing. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 50 4: 371-379. doi:10.1177/0004867415600076

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Author Thomas, Hannah J.
Chan, Gary C. K.
Scott, James G.
Connor, Jason P.
Kelly, A.B.
Williams, Joanne
Title Association of different forms of bullying victimisation with adolescents’ psychological distress and reduced emotional wellbeing
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8674
1440-1614
Publication date 2016-01-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0004867415600076
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 50
Issue 4
Start page 371
End page 379
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: The frequency and emotional response to bullying victimisation are known to be associated with adolescent mental ill health. A potentially important under-investigated factor is the form of bullying. Four common forms of bullying behaviours are name-calling, physical threats or harm, rumour spreading and social exclusion. To more comprehensively understand bullying victimisation in adolescence, we examined the association of all three factors (frequency, emotional response, form) to psychological distress and emotional wellbeing.

Method: A stratified, random sample of adolescents (n=10, 273; mean age=14.33years, standard deviation=1.68years) completed validated measures of bullying victimisation (Gatehouse Bullying Questionnaire), psychological distress (K10) and emotional wellbeing (Mental Health Inventory) in classroom time. Associations between the form of bullying victimisation and mental health outcomes were examined.

Results: Adolescents reported a high prevalence of all four forms of bullying: teased or called names (30.6%), rumour spreading (17.9%), social exclusion (14.3%) and physical threats or harm (10.7%). Victimisation was independently associated with significantly higher levels of psychological distress and reduced levels of emotional wellbeing for all forms of bullying. In particular, social exclusion had a strong association with mental ill health. Adolescents who experienced frequent bullying that was upsetting reported higher psychological distress and reduced emotional wellbeing.

Conclusion: Different forms of bullying victimisation were independently associated with psychological distress and reduced emotional wellbeing. In particular, frequent and upsetting social exclusion requires a targeted and measured response by school communities and health practitioners.
Keyword Bullying
Adolescents
Psychological distress
Emotional wellbeing
Exclusion
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Fri, 04 Dec 2015, 03:09:07 EST by Hannah Jane Thomas on behalf of UQ Centre for Clinical Research