Prevalence of Bullying and its Co-occurrence with Aggression and Mental Health Problems among Greek Adolescents Attending Urban Schools

Zacharias Kalogerakis, Helen Lazaratou, Alexandra Petroutsou, Giota Touloumi, Dimitris Dikeos, Marina Economou, Charalampos Papageorgiou

Abstract


Background: Bullying is one widespread violence type that threatens adolescent’s well-being in family, school, and neighborhood. This study aimed to estimate the percentages of the last 12 months bullying behaviors- types among Greek adolescents, and to identify the associations between these behaviors and adolescents’ aggression and mental health- behavioral problems.

Study design: A cross-sectional study.

Methods: The sample consisted of 1934 adolescents, attending the second grade of 45 randomly selected public and private high schools and senior high schools, of the Greater Athens Metropolitan Area. Bullying involvement was examined by four questions, evaluating the occurrence and type of bullying. The Buss and Perry Questionnaire and Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire were administrated in order to estimate adolescents’ aggression and mental health-behavioral problems, respectively. Information about adolescents’ individual and family characteristics was also collected.

Results: Overall, 18.4% of participants reported bullying involvement at school, as a victim (11.0%), a bully (5.0%), or both (2.4%), while verbal bullying was the most common type. Compared to uninvolved participants, victims were significantly more likely to report emotional symptoms and peer problems, bullies were more likely to report physical aggression, and bully-victims physical aggression, hostility, and lower prosocial behavior.

Conclusions: Approximately one out of five adolescents were involved in bullying in the past year at school, reporting aggressive behaviors, emotional problems, and/or social difficulties. Further longitudinal research would increase understanding of the mechanisms of bullying involvement and may lead to preventative interventions promoting positive peer interactions in schools.

 


Keywords


Bullying; Adolescence; Prevalence; Mental Health

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