Risk indicators and outcomes associated with bullying in youth aged 9-15 years

Mark E. Lemstra, Ghita Nielsen, Marla R. Rogers, Adam T. Thompson, John S. Moraros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Bullying is a form of aggression in which children are intentionally intimidated, harassed or harmed. The main objective of our study was to determine the unadjusted and adjusted risk indicators associated with physical bullying. The second objective was to clarify the impact of repeated physical bullying on health outcomes - namely depressed mood. Methods: Every student attending school in the city of Saskatoon, Canada, between grades 5-8 was asked to complete the Saskatoon School Health Survey. Results: In total, 4,197 youth completed the questionnaire; of these, 23% reported being physically bullied at least once or twice in the previous four weeks. After multivariate adjustment, the covariates independently associated with being physically bullied included being male (OR=1.39), attending a school in a low-income neighbourhood (OR=1.41), not having a happy home life (OR=1.19), having a lot of arguments with parents (OR=1.16) and feeling like leaving home (OR=1.23). Children who were repeatedly physically bullied were more likely to have poor health outcomes. For example, 37.3% of children who were physically bullied many times per week had depressed mood in comparison to only 8.1% of children who were never bullied. After regression analysis, children who were ever physically bullied were 80% more likely to have depressed mood. Conclusion: Most of the independent risk indicators associated with physical bullying are preventable through appropriate social policy implementation and family support. It also appears that preventing repeated bullying should be the main focus of intervention in comparison to preventing more infrequent bullying.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Bullying
  • Risk indicators


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