Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Full article issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course.

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre) at The University of Queensland (UQ) have led the first comprehensive study of school bullying around the world.

The study investigated the prevalence of bullying victimisation during school years among more than 310,000 students. The data was collected from students aged from 12 to 17 years in 83 low, middle, and high income countries across much of South East Asia, Africa, and parts of South America and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Researcher Tuhin Biswas, a Life Course Centre PhD student at UQ’s Institute for Social Science Research, said the study, which is based on data collected from Global School-based Health Surveys between 2003 and 2015, revealed 30 per cent of the students had experienced bullying, with younger males from poorer backgrounds most at risk.

“Bullying is a serious global public health problem, but has predominantly been studied only in high income countries,” Mr Biswas said.

Director of the Life Course Centre, Professor Janeen Baxter, said bullying victimisation during school years could have many negative flow-on impacts across a person’s life course.

“Adolescents experiencing bullying have an increased risk of physical, cognitive and mental health issues, including higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality,” Professor Baxter said.

“They are also more likely to experience difficulties in their academic performance, which can lead to long-term employment and financial consequences for both the individual and their family. Any interventions to address this global problem will also address the major social and economic costs in lost productivity and life opportunities.”

The study suggested culturally appropriate skills training for parental and peer support could be important protective factors against bullying.

Photo credit: 

Image: Pixabay (Public Domain).