JOURNAL ARTICLE

Association between types of involvement in school bullying and different dimensions of anxiety symptoms and the moderating effects of age and gender in Taiwanese adolescents

Cheng-Fang Yen, Mei-Feng Huang, Young Shin Kim, Peng-Wei Wang, Tze-Chun Tang, Yi-Chun Yeh, Huang-Chi Lin, Tai-Ling Liu, Yu-Yu Wu, Pinchen Yang
Child Abuse & Neglect 2013, 37 (4): 263-72
23484950

OBJECTIVE: The aims of this cross-sectional study were to examine the associations of various types of school bullying involvement experiences with different dimensions of anxiety symptoms on the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) and to examine the moderating effects of gender and age on the associations in Taiwanese adolescent students aged at 11-18.

METHOD: Involvement in passive and physical bullying and belongings snatch and multiple dimensions of anxiety symptoms in 5537 adolescents were determined through use of the self-reported Chinese version of the School Bullying Experience Questionnaire (C-SBEQ) and the Taiwanese version of the MASC, respectively. The associations between four types of bullying involvement and four dimensions of anxiety symptoms and the moderating effects of gender and age were examined using linear mixed model analysis.

RESULTS: The results indicated that except for the non-significant association between victimization by verbal and relational bullying and harm avoidance, both victims of verbal and relational bullying and physical bullying and belongings snatch reported more severe anxiety symptoms on all four dimensions of MASC-T than non-bullied subjects. While the perpetrators of verbal and relational bullying reported more severe physical symptoms and social anxiety than did non-perpetrators of verbal and relational bullying, the perpetrators of physical bullying and belongings snatch reported less harm avoidance, social anxiety and separation/panic than did non-perpetrators of physical bullying and belongings snatch. Perpetrator-victims of verbal and relational bullying showed more physical symptoms than those who were pure victims or perpetrators of verbal and relational bullying. Perpetrator-victims of physical bullying and belongings snatch had more social anxiety than those who were pure victims or perpetrators. This study also found that gender and age had the moderating effect on the association between some forms of bullying involvement and some dimensions of anxiety symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study support the necessity to apply the multi-dimensional scale to evaluate anxiety symptoms in adolescents who are involved in bullying and to take the different directions of association into consideration when developing prevention and intervention programs.

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