JOURNAL ARTICLE

Childhood bullying involvement and exposure to intimate partner violence

Nerissa S Bauer, Todd I Herrenkohl, Paula Lozano, Frederick P Rivara, Karl G Hill, J David Hawkins
Pediatrics 2006, 118 (2): e235-42
16882768

OBJECTIVE: Our objectives with this study were to describe the prevalence of bullying involvement (ie, bullying and victimization) among children from a multigenerational study and to examine the relationship of these childhood behaviors and exposure to intimate partner violence.

METHODS: A community-based cohort of 112 children (aged 6 to 13 years) was asked to self-report on physical, verbal, and relational types of bullying and victimization experienced in the past year. Parents reported on their child's externalizing and internalizing behaviors during the previous 6 months using items from Achenbach's Child Behavior Checklist. The frequency of parental experiences of intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization at 2 time points during the preceding 5 years was measured using Conflict Tactics Scale items. The association of intimate partner violence and parent-reported child behavioral problems was examined, followed by exposure to intimate partner violence and child-reported bullying or victimization. Parental risk factors (eg, race/ethnicity, education, problem drinking) that predispose to intimate partner violence were controlled for using propensity score statistical modeling.

RESULTS: Eighty-two (73.2%) children reported being victimized by peers, and 38 (33.9%) children reported bullying behaviors in the past year. More reports came from girls than from boys (55% for victimization and 61% for bullying). Almost all (97%) child bullies were also victims themselves. Intimate partner violence was reported by parent respondents in 53 (50.5%) households at any or both of the 2 time points. Exposure to intimate partner violence was not associated with child-reported relational bullying behaviors or victimization by peers, However, intimate partner violence-exposed children were at increased risk for problematic levels of externalizing behavior/physical aggression and internalizing behaviors.

CONCLUSIONS: In our sample, children who were 6 to 13 years of age reported a substantial amount of bullying and victimization; a large majority were bully-victims and female. Regression analyses did not show that children who were exposed to intimate partner violence were more likely to engage in relational bullying. However, children who are exposed to intimate partner violence have a higher likelihood of internalizing behaviors and physical aggression.

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