Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 715–728 | Cite as

Recollections of childhood bullying and multiple forms of victimization: correlates with psychological functioning among college students

  • Dorothy L. EspelageEmail author
  • Jun Sung Hong
  • Sarah Mebane


This retrospective investigation examined the association among childhood bullying victimization, multiple forms of victimization, and psychological functioning in a college sample. Four hundred-and-eighty-two undergraduate students participated in the study (M = 19.98 years, SD = 1.82). The sample included 65 % women. For race/ethnicity, 66.4 % were European-American (N = 320), 16.8 % African-American (N = 81). For grade level, 21.6 % were freshmen (N = 104), followed by 38.2 % sophomores (N = 184), 16.2 % juniors (N = 78), and 23.4 % seniors (N = 113). Participants completed a survey packet of measures assessing childhood bullying victimization experiences and current levels of psychological functioning. Findings indicated that bullying victimization significantly predicted greater levels of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress (PTS) after controlling for other childhood victimization experiences. PTS symptoms were predicted by exposure to community violence and child abuse with bullying victimization was found to be the strongest predictor. College-level practitioners need to assess for a wide range of childhood victimization experiences, including bullying victimization.


Bullying College students Polyvictimization PTSD University 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy L. Espelage
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jun Sung Hong
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sarah Mebane
    • 4
  1. 1.Child Development Division, Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social WelfareSungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Behavioral Health - Community Counseling Program, Marine and Family Programs BranchMarine Corps Community ServicesOkinawaJapan

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