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Chronobiol Int. 2014 May;31(4):542-53. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2013.877475. Epub 2014 Jan 13.

Bullying, sleep/wake patterns and subjective sleep disorders: findings from a cross-sectional survey.

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EA 3188, "Laboratoire de Psychologie", Université de Franche-Comté , Besançon Cedex , France .


The aim of this study was to explore: (a) sleep patterns and disorders possibly associated with adolescent bullying profiles (pure bully, pure victim, bully/victim and neutral) and (b) the effect of sleep on psychosocial problems (externalized and internalized) related to bullying. The sample consisted of 1422 students aged 10-18 (mean = 14.3, SD = 2.7; 57% male) from five socioeconomically diverse schools in France. Bullying profiles were obtained using the revised Bully-Victim Questionnaire. Subjective sleep disorders were assessed using the Athens Insomnia Scale. School-week and weekend sleep/wake patterns were recorded. Internalizing problems were investigated using a Perceived Social Disintegration Scale and a Psychological Distress Scale. Externalizing behaviors were assessed using a General Aggressiveness Scale and an Antisocial Behavior Scale. These questionnaires were administered during individual interviews at school. After controlling for effects of gender and age, victims of bullying showed significantly more subjective sleep disturbances than the pure-bully or neutral groups (p < 0.001). Bullies' sleep schedules were more irregular (p < 0.001 for bedtime irregularity and p<0.01 for wake-up time irregularity) and their sleep duration was shorter than their schoolmates (p < 0.001 for the school week and p < 0.05 for the weekend). There was an effect of sleep on psychosocial problems related to bullying, and our results indicate that sleep has a moderating effect on aggression in bullies (p < 0.001). This would suggest a higher vulnerability of bullies to sleep deprivation. These results show differences in sleep problems and patterns in school-bullying profiles. Findings of this study open up new perspectives for understanding and preventing bullying in schools, with implications for research and clinical applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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