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Bullying Victimization and Perpetration among U.S. Children and Adolescents: 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health

Abstract

Bullying is a serious public health issue among children and adolescents in the United States. Existing national data sources provide limited current information about involvement in bullying among youth. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of parent-reported bullying victimization and perpetration among U.S. children and adolescents ages 6–17 years using nationally representative data, and to examine health-related factors associated with bullying experiences. We conducted secondary data analysis of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, and stratified the sample by age (6–11 years, 12–17 years). We performed bivariate analyses to examine prevalence of bullying experiences according to demographic characteristics, health conditions, health behaviors, health services, and family environment. Using multivariable logistic regressions, we assessed the association between these factors and bullying experiences. Results showed that 22.7% of U.S. children and adolescents were bullied by others and 6.4% bullied others. The rate of bullying victimization was slightly higher among 6–11 year olds than among 12–17 year olds (24.1 vs. 21.1%, p = 0.011). The rate of bullying perpetration was 7.2% among children and 5.6% among adolescents but the difference between age groups was not statistically significant (p = 0.086). Several health conditions and health services factors were associated with either bullying victimization or perpetration, including special health care needs, internalizing problems, behavior or conduct problems, speech or other language disorders, autism, and unmet need for mental health treatment or counseling. Bullying victimization was also strongly associated with bullying perpetration.

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Author Contributions

L.L.H. designed and executed the study, conducted data analysis, and wrote the methods. L.S. collaborated with the design of the study and wrote the results. S.L. collaborated with the design of the study and wrote the introduction. B.M. collaborated with the design of the study and wrote the discussion. E.E. collaborated with the design of the study and edited the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lydie A. Lebrun-Harris.

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Lebrun-Harris, L.A., Sherman, L.J., Limber, S.P. et al. Bullying Victimization and Perpetration among U.S. Children and Adolescents: 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health. J Child Fam Stud 28, 2543–2557 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1170-9

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Keywords

  • Bullying
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Health surveys
  • United States