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Nord J Psychiatry. 2011 Oct;65(5):323-9. doi: 10.3109/08039488.2010.546881. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

Exposure to teacher bullying in schools: a study of patients with personality disorders.

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Department of Public Health and General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.



The aim of this study was to examine the level and affect of exposure to teacher bullying in primary and secondary schools on patients with personality disorders (PD).


The study group contained 116 people (18-60 years old); 49 patients diagnosed with PD undergoing psychiatric treatment in 10 different psychiatric outpatient clinics in the Southern and Middle part of Norway, and a control group consisting of 67 people who worked in an institution for somatic/elderly people and an institution for people with drug/alcohol dependency in the Middle part of Norway. All study participants filled out a self-report questionnaire, which included demographic data, one item about whether they have been bullied by one or several teachers, and 28 items regarding subjection to negative acts from teachers based on the Negative Acts Questionnaire -Revised (NAQ-R).


Patients diagnosed with PD reported significantly more bullying by teachers in both primary school (OR 7.3; 95% CI 1.9-27.7) and secondary school (OR 5.8; 95% CI 1.1-30.5) than healthy controls. Patients with PD also reported a higher prevalence of negative acts from teachers than healthy controls in both primary and secondary schools, such as differential treatment, ridicule, humiliation, and being ignored or neglected at least once weekly.


Our findings indicate a correlation between bullying from teachers, as reported by PD patients, and the development of PD in adulthood. The problem of teacher bullying deserves more attention with regard to this possible correlation between student victimization and the development of PD.

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