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Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2012 Feb 12;6:8. doi: 10.1186/1753-2000-6-8.

Bullying behaviour in schools, socioeconomic position and psychiatric morbidity: a cross-sectional study in late adolescents in Greece.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece. nadia.magklara@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bullying is quite prevalent in the school setting and has been associated with the socioeconomic position and psychiatric morbidity of the pupils. The aim of the study was to investigate the association between bullying and socioeconomic status in a sample of Greek adolescents and to examine whether this is confounded by the presence of psychiatric morbidity, including sub-threshold forms of illness.

METHODS:

5,614 adolescents aged 16-18 years old and attending 25 senior high schools were screened and a stratified random sample of 2,427 were selected for a detailed interview. Psychiatric morbidity was assessed with a fully structured psychiatric interview, the revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R), while bullying was assessed with the revised Olweus bully/victim questionnaire. The following socio-economic variables were assessed: parental educational level and employment status, financial difficulties of the family and adolescents' school performance. The associations were investigated using multinomial logit models.

RESULTS:

26.4% of the pupils were involved in bullying-related behaviours at least once monthly either as victims, perpetrators or both, while more frequent involvement (at least once weekly) was reported by 4.1%. Psychiatric morbidity was associated with all types of bullying-related behaviours. No socioeconomic associations were reported for victimization. A lower school performance and unemployment of the father were significantly more likely among perpetrators, while economic inactivity of the mother was more likely in pupils who were both victims and perpetrators. These results were largely confirmed when we focused on high frequency behaviours only. In addition, being overweight increased the risk of frequent victimization.

CONCLUSIONS:

The prevalence of bullying among Greek pupils is substantial. Perpetration was associated with some dimensions of adolescents' socioeconomic status, while victimization showed no socioeconomic associations. Our findings may add to the understanding of possible risk factors for bullying behaviours in adolescence.

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