Do adolescents exposed to peer aggression at school consider themselves to be victims of bullying? The influence of sex and age
AuthorVieira, Marlene A.; Handegård, Bjørn Helge; Rønning, John Andreas; Duarte, Cristine S.; Mari, Jair J.; Bordin, Isabel A.
Introduction Exposure to peer aggression (PA) and bullying victimization (BV) are both expressions of peer victimization.
Objectives In four age-sex groups, (1) Can exposure to PA and BV be considered distinct experiences? (2) To what extent do adolescents exposed to PA consider themselves bullying victims? and (3) What is the effect on BV of the number of PA events experienced?
Methods This cross-sectional study evaluated a probabilistic community-based sample of 669 adolescents (11-15 years, 51.7% girls). A three-stage probabilistic sampling plan involved random selection of census units, eligible households, and one target child per household selected. A 15-item scale investigated exposure to PA events (physical aggression, verbal harassment, social manipulation) occurring more than once in the past six months. BV occurring more than once a week or most days in the past six months was investigated after presenting respondents with a BV definition that required them to feel harmed by their victimization experiences.
Results Adolescents exposed to PA and/or BV reported PA only (76.2%), BV only (4.7%), and both (19.1%). Rates of BV among those exposed to PA were as follows: 11-to-12-year-old boys (22.7%), 13-to-15-year-old boys (9.7%), 11-to-12-year-old girls (46.5%), and 13-to-15-year-old girls (13.2%). Multiple logistic regression analysis (outcome = BV) found a significant interaction between PA, age, and sex. PA events had a significant effect on BV for all except older girls.
Conclusion Exposure to PA and BV are different constructs; few older boys exposed to PA consider themselves bullying victims; and older girls are less affected by PA when it comes to BV.