Posts Tagged ‘longitudinal research’

Research: Youth bullying effects invade young adulthood

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Longitudinal studies of the effects of childhood bullying are rare. Now comes a study of western North Carolina children — ages 9, 11 and 13 — and their parents/caregivers begun in 1993 with 6674 annual interviews of 1420 participants through adolescence (9-16 years of age). Then, 3184 interviews were completed in 2010, 18 years later, when the children were ages 19, 21 and 24-26 years old. Over 80% of the original group of children was tracked into young adulthood.

Children and parents reported whether or not within 3 months of the annual interviews (assessments) they were victims of bullying, bullies or had been both bully and victim (bully/victim).

According to the study, victims and bully/victims differed from children not involved in bullying in family background and psychological functioning factors. Victims are described as withdrawn, unassertive, easily emotionally upset, and as having poor emotional or social understanding, whereas bully/victim tend to be aggressive, easily angered, and frequently bullied by their siblings. Thus bully/victims have few friends who would stand up for them. They are the “henchmen or reinforcers” for bullies and the most troubled children.

The prevalence of bullying victims in childhood and adolescence was 26.1% (at least once), 8.9% (repeatedly). Though boys were more frequent targets than girls (28.8% vs. 23.4%), the sexes were statistically equivalent. Bullying in childhood (23.5% for 9-13 year olds), the frequency was halved in adolescence (10.2%).

Overall, 5% were bullies only, 21.6% were victims only, 4.5% were bully/victims, and 68.9% were neither. Of the bully/victims, more were males (72% vs. 48% female). Of the bullies, more were males (69% vs. 48% female).

Family assessment interviews collected information about family hardships — low socioeconomic status, unstable family structure, family dysfunction, and maltreatment. Diagnoses of several psychiatric disorders were made during childhood. If a problem appeared in childhood, it was revisited when the participants were in their 20’s for the follow-up. Adult psychiatric outcomes were assessed using the Young Adult Psychiatric Assessment (YAPA) (developed at Duke Univ.).



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