Bullying and PTSD Symptoms
- 7.8k Downloads
PTSD symptoms related to school bullying have rarely been investigated, and never in national samples. We used data from a national survey to investigate this among students from grades 8 and 9 (n = 963). The prevalence estimates of exposure to bullying were within the range of earlier research findings. Multinomial logistic regression showed that boys were 2.27 times more likely to be exposed to frequent bullying than girls. A latent variable second-order model demonstrated an association between frequency of bullying exposure and PTSD symptoms (beta = 0.49). This relationship was not moderated by gender. However, the average levels of PTSD symptoms as well as clinical range symptoms were higher for girls. For all bullied students, 27.6% of the boys and 40.5% of the girls had scores within the clinical range. A mimic model showed that youth who identify as being both a bully and a victim of bullying were more troubled than those who were victims only. Our findings support the idea that exposure to bullying is a potential risk factor for PTSD symptoms among students. Future research could investigate whether the same holds for PTSD through diagnostic procedures, but this will depend on whether or not bullying is decided to comply with the DSM-IV classification of trauma required for diagnosis. Results are discussed with regard to their implications for school interventions.
KeywordsBullying Victimization PTSD symptoms School
We thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. We also thank Julia Norman for checking on the language.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- APA. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (Text revision) (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
- Berkowitz, L. (1993). Aggression: its causes, consequences, and control. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Bowes, L., Arseneault, L., Maughan, B., Taylor, A., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2009). School, neighborhood, and family factors are associated with children’s bullying involvement: a nationally representative longitudinal study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(5), 545–553. doi: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e31819cb017.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bremner, J. D. (2006). Traumatic stress from a multiple-levels-of-analysis perspective. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: developmental neuroscience (Vol. 2, pp. 656–676). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
- Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Cicchetti, D., & Curtis, J. (2006). The developing brain and neural plasticity: Implications for normality, psychopathology, and resilience. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: developmental neuroscience (Vol. 2, pp. 1–64). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
- Craig, W., Harel-Fisch, Y., Fogel-Grinvald, H., Dostaler, S., Hetland, J., Simons-Morton, B., & Due, P. (2009). A cross-national profile of bullying and victimization among adolescents in 40 countries. International Journal of Public Health, 54, 216–224. doi: 10.1007/s00038-009-5413-9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Derryberry, D., & Tucker, D. M. (2006). Motivation, self-regulation, and self-organization. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: developmental neuroscience (Vol. 2, pp. 502–532). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
- Hawker, D. S. J., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: a meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 41(4), 441–469. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00629.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Herba, C. M., Ferdinand, R. F., Stijnen, T., Veenstra, R., Oldehinkel, A. J., Ormel, J., & Verhulst, F. C. (2008). Victimisation and suicide ideation in the TRAILS study: specific vulnerabilities of victims. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(8), 867–876. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01900.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Johnson, M. H., & de Haan, M. (2006). Typical and atypical human functional brain development. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: developmental neuroscience (Vol. 2, pp. 197–215). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
- Jöreskog, K. G. (1993). Testing structural equation models. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 294–316). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Klomek, A. B., Sourander, A., Niemela, S., Kumpulainen, K., Piha, J., Tamminen, T., & Gould, M. (2009). Childhood bullying behaviors as a risk for suicide attempts and completed suicides: a population-based birth cohort study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(3), 254–261. doi: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e318196b91f.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Long, M. E., Elhai, J. D., Schweinle, A., Gray, M. J., Grubaugh, A. L., & Frueh, B. C. (2008). Differences in posttraumatic stress disorder diagnostic rates and symptom severity between criterion A1 and non-criterion A1 stressors. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22, 1255–1263. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.01.006.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Marsh, H. W., Nagengast, B., Morin, A. J. S., Parada, R. H., Craven, R. G., & Hamilton, L. R. (2011). Construct validity of the multidimensional structure of bullying and victimization: an application of exploratory structural equation modeling. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(3), 701–732. doi: 10.1037/a0024122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McKenney, K. S., Pepler, D. J., Craig, W. M., & Connolly, J. A. (2005). Psychosocial consequences of peer victimization in elementary and high school - an examination of posttraumatic stress disorder Symptomatology. In K. A. Kendall-Tackett & S. M. Giacomoni (Eds.), Child victimization. Kingston: Civic Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Meiser-Stedman, R., Yule, W., Smith, P., Glucksman, E., & Dalgleish, T. (2005). Acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents involved in assaults or motor vehicle accidents. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 1381–1383. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp. 162.7.1381.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mol, S. S. L., Arntz, A., Metsemakers, J. F. M., Dinant, G.-J., Vilters-van Montfort, P. A. P., & Knottnerus, J. A. (2005). Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after non-traumatic events: evidence from an open population study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 186, 494–499. doi: 10.1192/bjp. 186.6.494.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Muthén, B. O. (1997). Latent variable modeling of longituidinal and multilevel data. In A. Raftery (Ed.), Sociological methodology (pp. 453–480). Boston: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
- Muthén, B. O. (2007). Chi-square difference testing using the Satorra–Bentler scaled chi-square, from http://www.statmodel.com/chidiff.shtml.
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2011). Mplus version 6.11. Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- Nader, R., & Koch, W. J. (2006). Does bullying result in posttraumatic stress disorder?, from http://www.drwilliamkoch.com/articles/Bullying%20and%20PTSD%20Review.doc.
- Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2094–2100. doi: 10.1001/jama.285.16.2094.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pynoos, R. S., Steinberg, A. M., Layne, C. M., Briggs, E. C., Ostrowski, S. A., & Fairbank, J. A. (2009). DSM-V PTSD diagnostic criteria for children and adolescents: a developmental perspective and recommendations. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22(5), 391–398. doi: 10.1002/jts.20450. Proceedings Paper.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rubin, D. C., Boals, A., & Berntsen, D. (2008). Memory in posttraumatic stress disorder: properties of voluntary and involuntary, traumatic and nontraumatic autobiographical memories in people with and without posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 137(4), 591–614. doi: 10.1037/a0013165.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Satorra, A., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). A scaled difference chi-square test statistic for moment structure analysis, from http://www.stat.ucla.edu/papers/preprints/260/.
- Scott, M. J., & Stradling, S. C. (1992). Counselling of post traumatic stress disorder. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Shakoor, S., Jaffee, S. R., Andreou, P., Bowes, L., Ambler, A. P., Caspi, A., & Arseneault, L. (2011). Mothers and children as informants of bullying victimization: results from an epidemiological cohort of children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, 379–387. doi: 10.1007/s10802-010-9463-5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Smith, P. K. (1997). Commentary III. Bullying in life-span perspective: what can studies of school bullying and workplace bullying learn from each other? Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 7, 249–255. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1298(199706)7:3<249::AID-CASP425>3.0.CO;2-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- SPSS. (2009). SPSS for windows, Rel. 18.0.0. Chicago: IBM SPSS Inc.Google Scholar
- Veenstra, R., Lindenberg, S., Oldehinkel, A. J., De Winter, A. F., Verhulst, F. C., & Ormel, J. (2005). Bullying and victimization in elementary schools: a comparison of bullies, victims, bully/victims, and uninvolved preadolescents. Developmental Psychology, 41(4), 672. doi: 10.1037/0012-16184.108.40.2062.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar