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J Child Adolesc Ment Health. 2010 Dec;22(2):131-43. doi: 10.2989/17280583.2010.528580.

Bullying boys: the traumatic effects of bullying in male adolescent learners.

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a Department of Psychology , University of Kwa-Zulu Natal , Howard College , Durban , 4041 , South Africa.



This study investigated the nature and extent of the relationship between bullying and trauma among male adolescent learners. Trauma was operationalised through the multiple constructs of post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, dissociation and anger.


In this quantitative study, two objective measures were administered (viz. the Olweus Bullying/ Victimisation Scale and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for children) to a sample of male adolescent learners between the ages of 12 and 17, from a South African male-only high school (n = 486).


Statistical analysis (correlational analysis and MANOVA) produced evidence to suggest that there was a statistically significant relationship between bullying and trauma, and this was strongest for the victim role. The relationship between bullying and trauma was dependent on the frequency of bullying; as the frequency of being bullied increased so too did the mean scores of all the five trauma subscales. In general, the findings indicated that learners presented with elevated levels of internalising trauma outcomes. Depression demonstrated the highest correlation with the victim role, followed by Posttraumatic stress. In addition, 22.4% of learners could be clinically and sub-clinically diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and 21.0% with dissociation. Overall, the findings corroborate the argument that repetitive stressful events (such as bullying) are related to symptom-clusters of ongoing trauma.

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