Research on Bullying Prevention in AJO

Rubens, S. L., Miller, M. A., Zeringue, M. M., & Laird, R. D. (2018). Associations of bullying, victimization, and daytime sleepiness with academic problems in adolescents attending an alternative high school. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Advance online publication.

Abstract 

Adolescents attending alternative high schools often present with high rates of academic and behavior problems. They are also at increased risk of poor health behaviors and engaging in physical violence compared with students in traditional high school settings. To address the needs of students in these educational settings, examining factors that influence academic problems in this population is essential. Research has established that both bullying/victimization and sleep problems increase adolescents’ risk for academic problems. Little is known about how these 2 factors together may exacerbate risk for academic problems among students attending an alternative high school. The current study investigated the interaction between teacher-reported bullying, victimization and daytime sleepiness on academic concerns (attention and learning problems) among a sample of 172 students (56% female; age M = 18.07 years, SD = 1.42) attending an alternative high school in a large, Southeastern U.S. city. Findings from path models indicated that daytime sleepiness, bullying, and victimization were uniquely associated with attention and learning problems. Further, significant interactions indicated that the association between victimization/bullying and attention/learning problems weakened as levels of daytime sleepiness increased. Results suggest the importance of assessing and addressing multiple contextual risk factors in adolescents attending alternative high schools to provide comprehensive intervention for students in these settings.  

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Branch-Smith, C., Shaw, T., Lin, A., Runions, K., Payne, D., Nguyen, R., . . . Cross, D. (2018). Bullying and mental health amongst Australian children and young people with cystic fibrosis. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 402-412.

Abstract

Currently, there is little research investigating how schools can support the mental health and social development of young people with cystic fibrosis (CF), given their heightened risk of mental illness. Few studies have examined the relationship between bullying and mental health in populations of children with CF. This study describes the peer bullying experiences of young people with CF, and examines associations between school bullying and the psychological well-being of these young people. A sequential mixed-methods approach was used to collect data from 26 young people with CF (10−16 years of age). These data were compared with large samples of healthy children. Following an online survey, 11 young people, through online focus groups, expanded on the survey findings, describing their experiences within the school environment. Young people with CF reported lower involvement in bullying victimization and perpetration relative to the comparison population. For older adolescents with CF, victimization was associated with less connectedness to school and less peer support, and more school loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Young people with CF reported they generally liked the school environment, and were happy with their friendships, whereas some older adolescents reported that bullying evoked anxiety and mood problems. Reported bullying was primarily verbal and targeted characteristics of their CF, including their coughing, noninvolvement in certain activities because of shortness of breath, use of medication, and being underweight (for boys only). The findings provide some recommendations for interventions to promote mental health and school engagement among young people with CF.

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Casey, E. A., Storer, H. L., & Herrenkohl, T. I. (2018). Mapping a continuum of adolescent helping and bystander behavior within the context of dating violence and bullying. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(3), 335-345.

Abstract 

Although research has identified factors that support and hinder proactive bystander behaviors among adolescents, less is known about the more specific bystander responses viewed by youth as feasible, or whether these responses are likely to be ultimately helpful in the context of bullying and teen dating violence (TDV). Goals of this exploratory study were to describe specific bystander behaviors that adolescents perceive as possible for addressing bullying and TDV among peers, to assess the potential impact of these behaviors, and to examine similarities and differences in bystander behaviors across these forms of aggression. In focus groups with 113 14- to 18-year-old youth, participants identified more possible responses to bullying than to TDV, and more options for supporting victims of aggression than for interrupting perpetrators. Although many bystander responses identified by youth are promising for lessening the impact of bullying and TDV, some, such as “advising” victims of TDV and physically confronting perpetrators are likely not safe or helpful and may cause more harm than good. Findings point to the importance of better understanding how youth perceive their options as bystanders, and providing coaching to respond to peer aggression in specific ways that maximize their own and others’ safety and well-being.

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Gloppen, K., McMorris, B., Gower, A., & Eisenberg, M. (2018). Associations between bullying involvement, protective factors, and mental health among American Indian youth. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 413-421.

Abstract

Bullying involvement as a victim or perpetrator is associated with depression and suicidality, and American Indian (AI) youth experience a disproportionately high rate of these mental health issues. This study assessed whether AI young people involved in bullying were more likely to experience negative mental health problems than AI youth who were not involved in bullying, and identified protective factors that might support this particularly vulnerable population. Data come from 1,409 8th, 9th, and 11th Grade AI students who completed the 2013 Minnesota Student Survey. Logistic regression models estimated associations between bullying involvement and internalizing symptoms and suicidality. Selected protective factors (internal assets, empowerment, positive student–teacher relationships, and feeling safe at school) were also examined as independent variables. All forms of bullying perpetration and victimization were associated with increased risk for mental health problems (odds ratio [OR]: 1.57–2.87). AI youth who reported higher levels of protective factors were less likely to report internalizing symptoms and suicidality even in the presence of bullying involvement. For example, AI youth who reported high levels of internal assets had half the odds of reporting internalizing symptoms compared with those with low levels of internal assets (OR = 0.53, confidence interval [CI] 0.38, 0.74). Findings suggest that, similar to a general sample of students, bullying-involved AI students are significantly more likely to experience mental health problems. Promoting school as a safe place and incorporating culturally relevant programming to promote internal assets such as positive identity, social competence, and empowerment among AI students could help reduce the negative effects of bullying involvement. 

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Hatchel, T., Espelage, D. L., & Huang, Y. (2018). Sexual harassment victimization, school belonging, and depressive symptoms among LGBTQ adolescents: Temporal insights. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 422-430.

Abstract

Peer victimization and the associated poor outcomes among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth have been the focus of countless studies. School climate is a factor that has garnered significant attention. Perceptions of school contexts may even be mechanisms that define how victimization relates to poor outcomes. However, there is a lack of rigorous scholarship that could demonstrate directionality and therefore further augment our understanding of these relations. Specifically, it is not clear if victimization is strictly an antecedent to mental health issues like depressive symptoms. This longitudinal study examined the associations among sexual harassment victimization, school belonging, and depressive symptoms among LGBTQ high school students (n = 404). Self-report measures were completed at 3 time points across 3 school years in 6 Midwest high schools. Structural equation modeling indicated that peer victimization was an antecedent to depressive symptoms, and that school belonging mediated the association. Implications and future directions are discussed. 

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Hong, J. S., Peguero, A. A., & Espelage, D. L. (2018). Experiences in bullying and/or peer victimization of vulnerable, marginalized, and oppressed children and adolescents: An introduction to the special issue. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 399-401.

Abstract

This is an introduction to the special issue “Bullying and Peer Victimization of Vulnerable, Marginalized, and Oppressed Youth.” The study findings included in this special issue reveal that bias-based bullying and harassment are global social problems. Each article identifies suggestions for interventions, policy, and future research. Each study presented in this special issue contributes to the bullying and school violence scholarship, which can provide avenues for serious discussions on best ways to address not only bullying but also racism, sexism, heteronormativity, homophobia, ableism, classism, and Eurocentrism, all of which accompany bias-based bullying.

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Hong, J. S., Voisin, D. R., Cho, S., Smith, D. C., & Resko, S. M. (2018). Peer victimization and substance use among African American adolescents and emerging adults on Chicago’s Southside. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 431-440.

Abstract

Urban African-American youth residing in poorly resourced communities are at a heightened risk of peer victimization, which consequently increases their likelihood of risky behaviors such as substance use. The present study examined whether there was a direct relationship between peer victimization and substance use and whether it was mediated by negative peer norms, internalizing problems, and bullying perpetration. African-American youth (n = 638) completed a self-administered questionnaire on age, biological sex, socioeconomic status, lifetime substance use, peer victimization and bullying perpetration, negative peer norms, and internalizing problems. There were no direct effects between peer victimization and substance use. However, negative peer norms and bullying were both independently associated with substance use, although internalizing problems were not significant. In addition, peer victimization increased the odds of internalizing problems. Social services must be expended in low-income communities to effectively address peer victimization and substance use among urban African-American youth.

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Kim, M. A., Park, J. H., Park, H. J., Yi, J., Ahn, E., Kim, S. Y., . . . Hong, J. S. (2018). Experiences of peer exclusion and victimization, cognitive functioning, and depression among adolescent cancer survivors in South Korea. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 441-449.

Abstract

Adolescents who reenter school after treatment for cancer may face certain challenges, such as social exclusion by their peers and difficulties in cognitive functioning, due to the cancer treatment and its psychosocial sequelae. Such challenges may have an impact on their mental health. This cross-sectional study examined the impact of peer exclusion–victimization and cognitive functioning on depression among adolescent survivors of childhood cancer. A total of 175 adolescent survivors of childhood cancer between the ages of 13 and 19 years completed a self-reported questionnaire. Their mean age was 15.33 years (SD = 1.65), the mean time since diagnosis was 7.97 years (SD = 3.91), and 49.7% experienced at least 1 kind of peer exclusion in school. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine the effects of survivors’ experiences related to peer exclusion–victimization and cognitive functioning on depression, controlling for demographic (age and gender) and cancer-related (cancer type, time since diagnosis, recurrence) characteristics. The model with peer exclusion–victimization and cognitive functioning as predictors accounted for 27.9% of the variance in depression. More experiences in peer exclusion–victimization (β = .200, p = .024) and lower cognitive functioning (β = –.465, p < .001) were associated with greater levels of depression. Understanding the impact of survivors’ experiences of peer exclusion–victimization and cognitive functioning on their mental health will help professionals to provide appropriate counseling services to moderate peer exclusion–victimization as well as resources for academic performance for those cancer survivors at risk for depression.

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Romero, A. J., Bauman, S., Borgstrom, M., & Kim, S. E. (2018). Examining suicidality, bullying, and gun carrying among Latina/o youth over 10 years. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 450-461.

Abstract

Latino/a youth have reported the highest rates of suicide attempts compared to White and African American youth for over 40 years. The data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) cross-sectional subsamples of Latino/a youth (N = 13,378) at every year of data collection between 2005 and 2015 were examined for bullying, gun carrying, and suicidality. Results indicate that Latina girls are significantly more likely than boys to make a suicide attempt and report more bullying and more cyberbullying, but are less likely to carry a gun. Being bullied or carrying a gun were significantly associated with greater likelihood of suicide attempt among both boys and girls. Youth who carried a gun overall had higher rates of suicide attempts whether they were bullied or not, whereas youth who did not carry a gun were significantly more likely to attempt suicide if they were bullied. Over the past 10 years, gun carrying has decreased significantly for Latino boys and suicide attempts have decreased significantly for Latina girls. Findings have important implications of considering intersections of race and gender when developing antibullying and suicide prevention strategies. There are important policy implications for considering the mental well-being of youth who are caught carrying guns at school and considering that victimization varies by ethnicity and gender.

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Serdari, A., Gkouliama, A., Tripsianis, G., Proios, H., & Samakouri, M. (2018). Bullying and minorities in secondary school students in Thrace-Greece. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 462-470.

Abstract

The aim of the present study is to examine probable heterogeneity in aggressive behaviors and peer victimization among ethnically diverse secondary schools in Thrace. It is a culturally diverse region in Northeastern Greece, which includes Greek Christians and a significant minority of Muslims and immigrants. The study population consisted of 572 school students (293 girls, 279 boys, Mage = 14.24), who completed the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire for Students-Senior and the Youth Self-Report. The percentage of students involved in bullying was 34.7%. More specifically, we found that 24.7% of the students were bully victims, followed by 18.5% bully/victims, and 17.8% bullies. Peer victimization was 52% less frequent in schools with low proportion of minority students (low school minority density; adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.48, p = .015) and 61% less frequent in schools with high minority density (AOR = 0.39, p = .010) as compared to schools with moderate minority density. Furthermore, bullying and bully/victims behaviors were at least 65% less frequent in schools with high density (bullying: AOR = 0.35, p = .016; bully/victim: AOR = 0.30, p = .027) as compared to schools with moderate density, while a similar tendency was also observed in low density areas. Findings from the current study have implications for research and practice. More specifically, our findings can contribute to the development of effective prevention policies and strategies.

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Shramko, M., Toomey, R. B., & Anhalt, K. (2018). Profiles of minority stressors and identity centrality among sexual minority Latinx youth. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 471-482.

Abstract

Few studies have examined how the amalgamation of minority stressors for youth with multiple marginalized identities is associated with well-being. Additionally, among youth with multiple marginalized identities, identity centrality may clarify the associations between specific types of minority stressors (i.e., bias-based peer victimization, perceived discrimination) and adjustment. This study sought to identify intersectional profiles of perceived peer victimization, perceived discrimination, and identity centrality, specific to either Latinx ethnicity or sexual minority identity in the United States. Demographic characteristics associated with each profile (i.e., age, socioeconomic status, gender nonconformity, survey language, gender, rurality) were examined, as well as associations between profiles and grade point average, self-esteem, and depression. In a sample of 219 in-school Latinx sexual minority youth (47% secondary, 53% postsecondary; Mage = 19 years, SD = 2.3), four profiles of intersectional minority stress (perceived victimization, discrimination) and identity centrality were identified: (a) low stress, low centrality; (b) low stress, high centrality; (c) moderate stress, moderate centrality, and (d) high stress, moderate centrality. Men, youth who were relatively older, socioeconomically advantaged, gender nonconforming, and those living in urban areas had higher probabilities of membership in profiles with moderate and high stress. Compared to the low stress, low centrality profile, profiles with higher levels of intersectional stress were associated with maladjustment, whereas the profile characterized by low stress, high centrality had higher levels of self-esteem.

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Waasdorp, T. E., Mehari, K., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2018). Obese and overweight youth: Risk for experiencing bullying victimization and internalizing symptoms. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 483-491.

Abstract

Obese and overweight youth are at an increased risk for poor peer relations and psychosocial adjustment. Of particular concern is the high rate of bullying victimization experienced by obese and overweight youth. While it is known that victimized youth are at an increased risk for internalizing symptoms, few studies have examined if weight status exacerbates the association between victimization and internalizing symptoms. The current study drew upon data from over 43,000 youth attending 107 middle and high schools. Multilevel results suggested that compared with normal weight youth, both overweight and obese youth were at an increased risk for experiencing relational, verbal, and cyber victimization, with only obese youth being at an increased risk for experiencing physical victimization. Notably, the odds for experiencing cyber victimization were higher than the odds for experiencing other forms of victimization. Frequently victimized obese youth, but not frequently victimized overweight youth, had significantly higher levels of internalizing symptoms compared to their frequently victimized, normal-weight peers. Together, these findings highlight the increased risk for psychosocial adjustment problems among frequently victimized overweight and obese youth, suggesting these youth may require preventive interventions tailored to meet their unique needs. 

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Lorenzo-Blanco, E.I.; Unger, J.B.; Oshri, A.; Baezconde-Garbanati, L.; & Soto, D. (2016). Profiles of Bullying Victimization, Discrimination, Social Support, and School Safety:  Links with Latino/a Youth Acculturation, Gender, Depressive Symptoms, and Cigarette Use. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 86(1), 37-48. 

Abstract

Latino/a youth are at risk for symptoms of depression and cigarette smoking but this risk varies by acculturation and gender. To understand why some youth are at greater risk than others, we identified profiles of diverse community experiences (perceived discrimination, bullying victimization, social support, perceived school safety) and examined associations between profiles of community experience and depressive symptoms, cigarette smoking, acculturation, and gender. Data came from Project Red (Reteniendo y Entendiendo Diversidad para Salud), a school-based longitudinal study of acculturation among 1,919 Latino/a adolescents (52% female; 84% 14 years old; 87% U.S. born). Latent profile analysis (LPA) revealed 4 distinct profiles of community experience that varied by gender and acculturation. Boys were overrepresented in profile groups with high perceived discrimination, some bullying, and lack of positive experiences, while girls were overrepresented in groups with high bullying victimization in the absence and presence of other community experiences. Youth low on both U.S. and Latino/a cultural orientation described high perceived discrimination and lacked positive experiences, and were predominantly male. Profiles characterized by high perceived discrimination and /or high bullying victimization in the absence of positive experiences had higher levels of depressive symptoms and higher risk of smoking, relative to the other groups. Findings suggest that acculturation comes with diverse community experiences that vary by gender and relate to smoking and depression risk. Results from this research can inform the development of tailored intervention and prevention strategies to reduce depression and/or smoking for Latino/a youth.  
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2016-00321-003


Evans, C.B.R.; & Chapman, M.V.  (2014).  Bullied Youth:  The Impact of Bullying through Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Name Calling.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 84(6), 644-652.

Abstract

Bullying is a common experience for many school-aged youth, but the majority of bullying research and intervention does not address the content of bullying behavior, particularly teasing. Understanding the various forms of bullying as well as the language used in bullying is important given that bullying can have persistent consequences, particularly for victims who are bullied through biased-based bullying, such as being called gay, lesbian, or queer. This study examines bullying experiences in a racially and ethnically diverse sample of 3,379 rural elementary-, middle-, and high-school youth. We use latent class analysis to establish clusters of bullying behaviors, including forms of biased-based bullying. The resulting classes are examined to ascertain if and how bullying by biased-based labeling is clustered with other forms of bullying behavior. This analysis identifies 3 classes of youth: youth who experience no bullying victimization, youth who experience social and emotional bullying, and youth who experience all forms of social and physical bullying, including being bullied by being called gay, lesbian, or queer. Youth in Classes 2 and 3 labeled their experiences as bullying. Results indicate that youth bullied by being called gay, lesbian, or queer are at a high risk of experiencing all forms of bullying behavior, highlighting the importance of increased support for this vulnerable group.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2014-57192-007


Hong, J.S.; Davis, J.P.; Sterzing, P.R.; Yoon, J.; Choi, S.; & Smith, D.C. (2014).  A Conceptual Framework for Understanding the Association between School Bullying Victimization and Substance Misuse.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 84(6), 696-710. 

Abstract

This article reviews current research findings and presents a conceptual framework for better understanding the relationship between bullying victimization (hereafter referred to as victimization) and substance misuse (hereafter referred to as SM) among adolescents. Although victimization and SM may appear to be separate problems, research suggests an intriguing relationship between the 2. We present a brief, empirical overview of the direct association between victimization and adolescent SM, followed by a proposed conceptual framework that includes co-occurring risk factors for victimization and SM within family, peer, and school and community contexts. Next, we discuss potential mediators linking victimization and SM, such as internalizing problems, traumatic stress, low academic performance, and school truancy and absence. We then identify potential moderating influences of age, gender and sex, social supports, and school connectedness that could amplify or abate the association between victimization and SM. Finally, we discuss practice and policy implications.
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ort/84/6/696.pdf&productCode=pa&uid=2014-57192-011 


Berkowitz, R.; & Benbenishty, R. (2012).  Perceptions of Teachers' Support, Safety, and Absence from School because of Fear among Victims, Bullies, and Bully-Victims.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 82(1), 67-74.  

Abstract

This study examines the distribution of the types of involvement in school violence (bullies, victims, bully‐victims, and students not involved in violence) among the general population of Israeli school students. The prevalence of these different types of involvement was also examined according to gender, age or school level (junior high vs. high school), and ethnicity (Jewish vs. Arab). Further, the study examines the relationships between type of involvement in school violence and students’ perceptions of teachers’ support, safety, and absence from school because of fear. Data were obtained from a nationally representative, stratified sample of 13,262 students in grades 7–11 who responded to a self‐report questionnaire on victimization by, and perpetration of, school violence and on perceptions of school climate. Data revealed that 3.6% of all students were victims of bullying (18.5% of those involved in violence). The proportion of bully‐victims among male students was 6.4% (21.9% of all involved) compared with 1.1% (11.2% of all involved) among females. Bully‐victims reported the lowest levels of teacher support and feelings of security and missed school because of fear significantly more often. The results point to the uniqueness of the bully‐victim group. This group presents multiple challenges for school staff with these students needing special attention.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2012-01560-008 


Mishna, F.; Cook, C.; Gadalla, T.; Daciuk, J.; & Solomon, S. (2010).  Cyber Bullying Behaviors among Middle and High School Students.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 80(3), 362-374.

Abstract

Little research has been conducted that comprehensively examines cyber bullying with a large and diverse sample. The present study examines the prevalence, impact, and differential experience of cyber bullying among a large and diverse sample of middle and high school students (N = 2,186) from a large urban center. The survey examined technology use, cyber bullying behaviors, and the psychosocial impact of bullying and being bullied. About half (49.5%) of students indicated they had been bullied online and 33.7% indicated they had bullied others online. Most bullying was perpetrated by and to friends and participants generally did not tell anyone about the bullying. Participants reported feeling angry, sad, and depressed after being bullied online. Participants bullied others online because it made them feel as though they were funny, popular, and powerful, although many indicated feeling guilty afterward. Greater attention is required to understand and reduce cyber bullying within children’s social worlds and with the support of educators and parents. 
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2012-11010-010 


Olweus, D.; & Limber, S.P.  (2010).  Bullying in School:  Evaluation and Dissemination of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 80(1), 124-134.

Abstract

The nature and extent of bullying among school children is discussed, and recent attention to the phenomenon by researchers, the media, and policy makers is noted. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is a comprehensive, school-wide program that was designed to reduce bullying and achieve better peer relations among students in elementary, middle, and junior high school grades. Several large-scale studies from Norway are reviewed, which provide compelling evidence of the program’s effectiveness in Norwegian schools. Studies that have evaluated the OBPP in diverse settings in the United States have not been uniformly consistent, but they have shown that the OBPP has had a positive impact on students’ self-reported involvement in bullying and antisocial behavior. Efforts to disseminate the OBPP in Norway and the United States are discussed.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2010-13348-015