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Bullying behaviours and psychosocial health: results from a cross-sectional survey among high school students in Istanbul, Turkey

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The aim of this study was to investigate bullying behaviours and their associations with health and health risk behaviours. This study involved completion of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) and Youth Self Report (YSR) questionnaires by 3,519 students. Of the students, 59.4% (n = 2,091) were neither bullies/nor victims, 22% (n = 774) victims, 9.4% (n = 331) bully/victims and 9.2% (n = 323) bullies. Generally, students involved in bullying behaviours were more likely to have higher YSR scale scores than students who were not involved in bullying behaviours. Bully/victims had higher scores on the YSR subscales than others. Students involved in bullying behaviours were more likely not to use seat belts, to watch TV ≥ 4 h/day, to be involved in a physical fight, to skip class and to spend time with friends than students who were not involved in bullying behaviours. Bully/victims and bullies were more likely to smoke cigarettes, to drink alcohol, to be drunk, to play computer games and to be sexually active than others. Bully/victims were more likely to have less educated mothers and to have difficulty in talking to both parents than others. Victims were more likely to have a lower socioeconomic status, to have difficulty in talking to opposite gender friends and to have difficulty in making new friends than others. Bullying behaviour is common and associated with other risk behaviours and psychological health problems in Istanbul high school students. Health professionals should be aware of the influence of bullying on health and particularly on bully/victims’ health. There is a strong need for bullying prevention programmes in schools in Turkey.

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This study was supported by a grant from the research fund of the University of Istanbul (BYP-493/07102004, UDP-448/28032005), Erkim İlaç Sn AŞ. and Nova Nordics Saglık Urunleri Tic. Ltd. Sti. This study was presented as a poster at the 8th IAAH World Congress, 11–14 May 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Correspondence to Oya Ercan.

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Alikasifoglu, M., Erginoz, E., Ercan, O. et al. Bullying behaviours and psychosocial health: results from a cross-sectional survey among high school students in Istanbul, Turkey. Eur J Pediatr 166, 1253 (2007).

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  • Bullying
  • Adolescence
  • Psychosocial health
  • Risk behaviours