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Br J Educ Psychol. 1999 Mar;69 ( Pt 1):95-104.

Peer victimisation at school and the health of secondary school students.

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University of South Australia, Underdale, South Australia.



Although previous studies have indicated that children who are frequently bullied by peers at school have below average health, both the generalisability of such findings across age groups and how they can be best explained have remained unclear.


(i) To examine whether reported peer victimisation is related to current levels of physical and mental health among early and late secondary school students and (ii) to determine whether degree of reported victimisation in early years of secondary schooling can predict the health status of students when they are in senior class.


Students were selected from those attending the first two years of schooling at a South Australian high school in 1994 (N = 276) and the last two years in 1997 (N = 126). These included a subsample (N = 78) who were assessed at school at both times.


Students completed questions which included measures of degree of peer victimisation and mental and physical health.


For the total sample assessed in 1994, but not that of 1997, reported victimisation was significantly correlated with relatively poor physical and mental health. For the re-tested subsample, high levels of peer victimisation in the pre-testing predicted poor physical health for both sexes and poor mental health in girls.


Relatively poor health was characteristic of students reporting frequent victimisation by peers in early secondary schooling and also of senior students who reported being bullied frequently three years earlier, suggesting a causal connection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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