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Arch Hellen Med, 32(2), March-April 2015, 182-193


Sociodemographic associations of school-related bullying
and its impact on psychosomatic health in adolescents

T. Gkatsa, K. Magklara, S. Bellos, D. Damigos, V. Mavreas, P. Skapinakis
Department of Psychiatry, University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece

OBJECTIVE To investigate the association between school bullying and physical and mental health symptoms and socioeconomic factors.

METHOD The participants were 5,614 high school pupils aged 16 to 18 years attending 25 schools. The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase the adolescents were administered a brief screening instrument. Using the method of stratified random sampling 2,431 were selected to participate in the second phase, which consisted of detailed electronic questionnaires. Bullying was measured using the revised Olweus questionnaire, psychiatric symptoms with the revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R), and somatic symptoms with the questionnaire of a similar WHO study. Sociodemographic factors were self-reported.

RESULTS Approximately 12% of pupils had been victims of bullying behavior and 20% perpetrators. Frequent involvement (at least weekly) was not common (1.4% 2.8%, respectively). The perpetrators showed strong, linear association with the full range of psychiatric symptoms, while the victims were more likely to report severe psychiatric morbidity. In multivariate analysis "back pain" emerged as the most common symptom for both victims and perpetrators. Perpetrator behavior appeared to be affected by financial difficulties in the family and paternal unemployment. Obesity was demonstrated to be associated with victimization. The type of the father's employment was also associated with bullying.

CONCLUSIONS Adolescents who are involved in bullying behavior, either as perpetrators or victims, present physical and psychiatric symptoms. Socioeconomic factors appear to be associated with the involvement of high school pupils in bullying.

Key words: Adolescents, Health, School-related bullying, Sociodemographic factors.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine