Verbal school bullying and life satisfaction among Brazilian adolescents: profiles of the aggressor and the victim

Júnia Maria Serra-Negra, Saul Martins Paiva, Cristiane Baccin Bendo, Lívia Bonfim Fulgêncio, Carolina Freitas Lage, Patrícia Corrêa-Faria, Isabela Almeida Pordeus
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2015, 57: 132-9

BACKGROUND: Bullying is a common occurrence in adolescence that may damage the physical and emotional health.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present cross-sectional study was to analyze the profile of the adolescent aggressor only, aggressor/victim, victim only, and those not involved in verbal school bullying, and to associate their profiles with life satisfaction and familial characteristics evaluated through socioeconomic status.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out with 366 Brazilian adolescents between 13 and 15years. Verbal school bullying was identified using the Brazilian National School-Based Adolescent Health Survey (PeNSE) questionnaire. The life satisfaction of the adolescents was assessed using the Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Scale for Adolescents (MLSSA). Statistical analyses involved the chi-square test, Fisher's exact test and the Poisson regression with robust variance.

RESULTS: Sixty-six adolescents (18%) were aggressors, 5.5% were victims, 2.7% were both aggressor and victim, and 73.8% were not involved in verbal school bullying. Most aggressors were male (PR=1.97, 95% CI: 1.23-3.14) and were satisfied with their family life (PR=2.13, 95% CI: 1.18-3.8). Victims of verbal school bullying exhibited a low prevalence of non-violence (PR=0.24, 95% CI: 0.09-0.64). Those who were both aggressors and victims were associated with factors of family support (PR=0.25, 95% CI: 0.07-0.89) and self-efficacy (PR=6.29, 95% CI: 1.54-25.6). Most of the adolescents who were not involved in verbal school bullying were female (PR=1.32, 95% CI: 1.16-1.51).

CONCLUSIONS: Boys tend to be aggressors and girls tend not to get involved in verbal school bullying. Family satisfaction, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and levels of violence are important factors that can influence the profile of adolescents in relation to verbal school bullying.

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