, Volume 171, Issue 10, pp 1549-1557
Date: 27 Jun 2012

Bullying and victimization among Turkish children and adolescents: examining prevalence and associated health symptoms

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Abstract

Over the past decade, concerns about bullying and its effects on school health have grown. However, few studies in Turkey have examined the prevalence of bullying in childhood and adolescence and its association with health problems. The current study aimed to examine the prevalence and manifestation of bullying and victimization among male and female students aged 11–15 years. A second goal was to examine the physical and psychological symptoms associated with being a bully, victim and both a bully and a victim (‘bully–victim’). Participants were 1,315 students from grades 5, 7, and 9, selected from three schools in Western Turkey. Twenty percent of the students were found to be involved in the cycle of bullying (5 % as a bully, 8 % as a victim, and 7 % as bully–victims). Bullies (although not victims) were found to show decreased levels of school satisfaction and school attendance. Being a victim or a bully–victim was associated with a significantly increased risk of experiencing a wide range of physical and psychological health symptoms (victims OR, 1.67–3.38; p < 0.01; bully–victims OR, 2.13–3.15; p < 0.01). Being a bully, in contrast, was associated with high levels of irritability (OR, 2.82; p < 0.01), but no other health concerns. Children that were bullies and victims were almost as vulnerable to health symptoms as children that were purely victims. Conclusion: These findings contribute to a better understanding of bullying in Turkish schools, emphasizing the negative effects of bullying involvement on health and well-being.