Prevalence and correlates of bullying victimisation and perpetration in a nationally representative sample of Australian youth

Thomas, Hannah J., Connor, Jason P., Lawrence, David M., Hafekost, Jennifer M., Zubrick, Stephen R. and Scott, James G. (2017) Prevalence and correlates of bullying victimisation and perpetration in a nationally representative sample of Australian youth. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 4867417707819-4867417707819. doi:10.1177/0004867417707819

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Author Thomas, Hannah J.
Connor, Jason P.
Lawrence, David M.
Hafekost, Jennifer M.
Zubrick, Stephen R.
Scott, James G.
Title Prevalence and correlates of bullying victimisation and perpetration in a nationally representative sample of Australian youth
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8674
1440-1614
Publication date 2017-05-17
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0004867417707819
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Start page 4867417707819
End page 4867417707819
Total pages 12
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Abstract Bullying prevalence studies are limited by varied measurement methods and a lack of representative samples. This study estimated the national prevalence of bullying victimisation, perpetration and combined victim-perpetration experiences in a representative population-based sample of Australian youth. The relationships between the three types of bullying involvement with a range of mental health symptoms and diagnoses were also examined.
Formatted abstract
Objective:
Bullying prevalence studies are limited by varied measurement methods and a lack of representative samples. This study estimated the national prevalence of bullying victimisation, perpetration and combined victim-perpetration experiences in a representative population-based sample of Australian youth. The relationships between the three types of bullying involvement with a range of mental health symptoms and diagnoses were also examined.

Methods:
A randomly selected nationally representative sample aged 11–17 years (N = 2967, Mage = 14.6 years; 51.6% male) completed the youth component of the Second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (Young Minds Matter). Parents or carers also completed a structured face-to-face interview that asked questions about a single randomly selected child in the household. The youth survey comprised self-reported bullying victimisation and perpetration (Olweus Bully–Victim Questionnaire–adapted), psychological distress (K10), emotional and behavioural problems (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire), as well as self-harm, suicide attempts and substance use. Modules from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV were administered to all youth and parents to assess for mental disorder diagnoses (major depressive disorder, any anxiety disorder and any externalising disorder [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder]).

Results:
The 12-month prevalence of bullying victimisation was 13.3%, perpetration 1.6% and victim-perpetration 1.9%. Logistic regression models showed all forms of involvement in bullying were associated with increased risk of psychological distress, emotional and behavioural problems, substance use, self-harm and attempted suicide. Victimisation and victim-perpetration were associated with youth-reported major depressive disorder. There were also significant associations between bullying involvement and parent-reported diagnoses of major depressive disorder, any anxiety disorder and any externalising disorder.

Conclusion:
Bullying continues to be frequently experienced by Australian adolescents. The current findings showed that involvement in any bullying behaviour was associated with increased risk of concurrent mental health problems. This evidence can be used to inform decisions concerning the allocation of resources to address this important health issue.
Keyword Adolescence
Bullying
Mental health
Population survey
Prevalence
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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Created: Thu, 18 May 2017, 08:19:08 EST by Hannah Jane Thomas on behalf of Primary Care Clinical Unit