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Journal cover: Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Online from: 2009

Subject Area: Health and Social Care

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Do the victims of school bullies tend to become depressed later in life? A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies


Document Information:
Title:Do the victims of school bullies tend to become depressed later in life? A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies
Author(s):Maria M. Ttofi, (Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK), David P. Farrington, (Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK), Friedrich Lösel, (Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK), Rolf Loeber, (Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Citation:Maria M. Ttofi, David P. Farrington, Friedrich Lösel, Rolf Loeber, (2011) "Do the victims of school bullies tend to become depressed later in life? A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 3 Iss: 2, pp.63 - 73
Keywords:Adults, Bullying, Depression, Schools
Article type:Literature review
DOI:10.1108/17596591111132873 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:This study was supported by the British Academy and the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. The authors would like to thank all 28 longitudinal researchers who have conducted special analyses for the aims of the review and are most appreciative of the academic support of Jan Andersson and of the methodological feedback provided by David B. Wilson. Mr Nikos Theodorakis has worked as a research assistant on the project.
Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which bullying victimization in school predicts depression in later life and whether this relation holds after controlling for other major childhood risk factors.

Design/methodology/approach – As no previous systematic review has been conducted on this topic, effect sizes are based on both published and unpublished studies: longitudinal investigators of 28 studies have conducted specific analyses for the authors' review.

Findings – The probability of being depressed up to 36 years later (mean follow-up period of 6.9 years) was much higher for children who were bullied at school than for non-involved students (odds ratio (OR)=1.99; 95 per cent CI: 1.71-2.32). Bullying victimization was a significant risk factor for later depression even after controlling for up to 20 (mean number of six covariates) major childhood risk factors (OR=1.74; 95 per cent CI: 1.54-1.97). Effect sizes were smaller when the follow-up period was longer and larger the younger the child was when exposed to bullying. Finally, the summary effect size was not significantly related to the number of risk factors controlled for.

Originality/value – Although causal inferences are tentative, the overall results presented in this paper indicate that bullying victimization is a major childhood risk factor that uniquely contributes to later depression. High quality effective anti-bullying programmes could be viewed as an early form of public health promotion.



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