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Bullying as a Risk Factor for Eating Disorder Behaviors Among Students: Secondary Analysis for a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

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This study aimed to examine whether being a victim of bullying predicted body dissatisfaction and eating disorder behavior (EDB). In this study, we performed secondary analysis from a cluster randomized controlled trial among 5208 eight grade students from 73 public schools in three Brazilian cities. Data were collected in 2019 through an anonymous self-report questionnaire on bullying, body dissatisfaction, and EDB. We used factor analysis, multivariate linear regression, and multinomial logistic regression to verify whether being a victim of bullying during the baseline results in body dissatisfaction and EDB at the nine months follow-up for the control and intervention groups. Our results showed that being female (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.22–1.63) is a risk factor for dissatisfaction by overweight. Bullying was not a predictor of body dissatisfaction; however, being a victim of bullying (β 0.40, 95% CI 0.35–0.46) is a predictor of having more EDB, independent of the exposure to the program. Therefore, bullying deserves attention in the school environment.

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We would like to thank Editage ( for English language editing and Ministry of Health for funding.


This project is a part of the Research and Innovation Scholarship based on the “Research and Innovation for the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Use of Alcohol and other Drugs.” It has majorly been funded by the Ministry of Health (TED # 176/2017) and partly by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES) – Finance Code 001.

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All authors contributed to the study conception, design, and analysis. They read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Patricia Paiva de Oliveira Galvão.

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This study was approved by the Ethics in Research Committee at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Protocol 2.806.30).

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de Oliveira Galvão, P.P., Valente, J.Y., Cogo-Moreira, H. et al. Bullying as a Risk Factor for Eating Disorder Behaviors Among Students: Secondary Analysis for a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 54, 1404–1414 (2023).

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