Bullying perpetration and victimization: The longidutinal relationship between bullying, reported injuries, and school absence among a cohort of children

Katelyn K Jetelina, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective: The objective of this dissertation was to determine how the relationship between bullying and injury change over time and identify factors that influence those changes. More specifically, the three manuscripts that comprise this dissertation expanded our knowledge of self-reporting practices of bullying perpetration and victimization, evaluated the relationship between bullying, overall and intentional injury, and school absence, and assessed whether key mediating variables (substance use, depressive symptoms, weapon carrying) explained indirect pathways between bullying and violent injury. ^ Methods: Healthy Passages was a longitudinal study of youth in 5th, 7th, and 10th grades and their primary caregivers during across three United States sites (Houston, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; and Los Angeles, California) from 2002 to 2011. The sampling frame for Healthy Passages included all students enrolled in regular classrooms in public schools with an enrollment of at least 25 students (more than 99% of all regular classrooms in 118 public schools). Of the 11,532 parents contacted at baseline, 6,663 (58%) agreed to be contacted for the study and 5,147 (77%) of them completed an interview. A total of 4,296 children were interviewed in all three waves. At each wave of data collection, children were categorized into four mutually exclusive groups: ‘victim only’, ‘perpetrator only’, ‘victim-perpetrator’, and ‘neither victim nor perpetrator’. Mixed-effect regression models were used to test study hypotheses.^ Results: Results from Paper 1 suggested discordant victimization and perpetration reporting between a single-item recall measure and a multiple-item measure. Specifically, discordant victimization decreased over time, was higher among Blacks and boys. Discordant perpetration increased over time, was higher among Blacks and boys. In Paper 2, significant patterns in bullying perpetration and violent injury over time. Specifically, the more often a child reported being a bully perpetrator, the more likely they were to be absent from school and sustain a violent injury. There was no relationship between bullying group and overall injury. Finally, results from Paper 3 showed substance use and weapon carrying indirectly explained the relationship between bullying groups and intentional violent injury. ^ Conclusion: By assessing the longitudinal relationship between bullying, school absence, and injury, we were able to advance our understanding of their complex inter-relationships. Future research should cognitively test bullying perpetration and victimization measures among a diverse group of children. Bullying prevention efforts should aim to include substance use, weapon carrying, and violent injury modules to maximize efforts and to prevent downstream consequences in children’s lives.^

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Recommended Citation

Jetelina, Katelyn K, "Bullying perpetration and victimization: The longidutinal relationship between bullying, reported injuries, and school absence among a cohort of children" (2016). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10249716.