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Child Abuse Negl. 1998 Jul;22(7):705-17.

Bullying and psychiatric symptoms among elementary school-age children.

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Department of Child Psychiatry, Kuopio University Hospital, Finland.



The aim of this study was to assess bullying and psychological disturbance among 5,813 elementary school-aged children.


The data consisted of information given by the parents, teachers, and children themselves (Rutter A2 Scale, Rutter B2 Scale and Children's Depression Inventory). Children involved in bullying (as bullies, bully-victims, and victims) were compared to other children.


More boys than girls were found to be involved in bullying. Bully-victims scored highest in externalizing behaviour and hyperactivity, and they themselves reported feelings of ineffectiveness and interpersonal problems. Victims scored highest in internalizing behavior and also psychosomatic symptoms, and they themselves reported anhedonia. Some gender differences in psychiatric symptomatology were also found. Children involved in bullying, especially children who both bullied and were bullied themselves, were psychologically disturbed. More children involved in bullying than others were referred for psychiatric consultation. The probability of being referred was highest among bully-victims (6.5 fold for males and 9.9 for females when compared to children not involved in bullying).


The findings indicate that bullying is a common phenomenon among children who are psychologically disturbed. Bullying also elevates the probability of being referred for psychiatric consultation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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