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J Adolesc Health. 2005 Mar;36(3):236-43.

Psychological health and bullying behavior among adolescent prisoners: a study of young and juvenile offenders.

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Department of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, UK.



To explore psychological health and behaviors indicative of direct, indirect and coercive bullying in a sample of adolescent offenders.


One hundred two juvenile (aged 15-17 years) and 100 young (aged 18-21 years) offenders took part. All completed the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) and a revised version of the Direct and Indirect Prisoner behaviour Checklist (DIPC-R). Offenders were classified into one of four categories: "pure bullies" (solely reporting behaviors indicative of bullying others); "bully/victims" (reporting behaviors indicative of bullying others and of being bullied); "pure victims" (only reporting "victim" behaviors); "not-involved" (not reporting any "bully" or "victim" behaviors). The data was analyzed using Kuder-Richardson-20, LOGIT Analysis, ANOVA, MANOVA, and correlations.


Juveniles reported perpetrating and experiencing more bullying behavior than young offenders. Pure victims and bully/victims reported more symptoms associated with somatic concerns, severe depression, anxiety and insomnia in comparison with pure bullies and those not involved. Bully/victims reported more somatic symptoms and pure victims more social dysfunction. The psychological health profiles of pure bullies and those not involved were broadly similar. Indirect, direct and coercive victimization all correlated positively with psychological health.


The current study provides evidence for an association between self-reported psychological health and direct, indirect and coercive bullying behavior among an incarcerated adolescent sample. It also highlights the importance of viewing the "bully/victim" group as a victim group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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