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Bullying and PTSD Symptoms

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. We also thank Julia Norman for checking on the language.

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Idsoe, T., Dyregrov, A. & Idsoe, E.C. Bullying and PTSD Symptoms. J Abnorm Child Psychol 40, 901–911 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-012-9620-0

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Keywords

  • Bullying
  • Victimization
  • PTSD symptoms
  • School