Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms Among Italian Preadolescents Involved in School and Cyber Bullying and Victimization

  • Anna Costanza Baldry
  • Anna Sorrentino
  • David P. Farrington
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to investigate post-traumatic stress symptoms affecting the involvement in school bullying and cyberbullying of boys and girls according to the different bullying roles. The current study involved 5058 Italian students, aged 11–18, recruited from secondary schools, who anonymously self-reported about school and cyber bullying as victims and/or perpetrators, and about post-traumatic stress symptoms. Based on their responses, students were classified as ‘only-bullies’, ‘only-victims’, ‘bully/victims’, or ‘not involved’ in school and/or online. The results showed that symptoms of post-traumatic stress differ between boys and girls and according to their roles. For cyberbullying, the bully/victims and only victims reported higher post-traumatic stress symptoms. For school bullying, bully/victims and only bullies reported higher symptoms of stress, and girls overall have higher values of such symptoms. It was concluded that both school and cybe rbullying are risk factors for concurrent development of post-traumatic stress symptoms, differently affecting adolescents according to their role. The bully/victims both at school and online reported higher levels of post-traumatic stress, indicating that this is a high risk group that needs special attention and that school bullies, and only victims develop stress out of their behaviour and need to be targeted for prevention of worst health consequences, especially focusing on girls.


Cyberbullying School bullying Cybervictimization School victimization Post-traumatic stress symptoms 


Author Contributions:

A.C.B.: designed and executed the study, assisted with the data analyses, and wrote the paper. A.S.: collaborated with the design and writing of the study, analysed the data and wrote part of the results. D.F.: collaborated in the writing and editing of the manuscript at all its stages.


The authors disclose no funding for the current research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee for research in the social science of the Department of Psychology of the University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, in charge for provide ethical approval. Informed consent was obtained from all participants and their parents for being included in the study and all procedures to protect their identity and rights were addressed.

Human and Animal Rights

The procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and ethical body.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individuals who participated and the custodian adults in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversità degli Studi della Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’, viale EllitticoCasertaItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Criminology, Faculty of LawUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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