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Bullying and stress in mid-adolescent girls and boys
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Aim: The aim of the current study was to analyze if exposure to bullying among mid-adolescent girls and boys was associated with a range of self-reported stress measures in terms of somatic pain, perceived global stress, pressure and activation (measured through the validated PAS scale), as well as output of salivary cortisol, which is a hormone of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system that reflects stress. Theoretical framework: Bullying is a serious problem in schools and a major stressor for those who are exposed. Exposure to bullying has been linked to adverse mental health outcomes in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, and it is reasonable to assume that it is associated with outcomes such as perceived stress and biomarkers of stress. Methodology: The data were derived from the School Stress and Support Study (TriSSS), conducted in 2010. The study population comprised all students in grades 8 and 9 (ages 14-16 years) in two elementary schools in Stockholm, Sweden (n=545). A questionnaire was distributed in classrooms and students were asked to sample saliva five times a day during two school days. The questionnaire was completed by 413 students and complete information for all variables used in the present study was available for 95% of these (n=392). Exposure to bullying was self-reported and measured by multiple items. Data on cortisol was derived from the saliva samples; in the current study, we used saliva samples from day 1 (n=180). The statistical methods used were binary logistic and linear (OLS) regression. Findings: The results showed that being bullied on a weekly basis was associated with an excess risk of somatic pain and perceived global stress, pressure and activation. Students who were bullied had lower diurnal cortisol output (AUCG) as compared to those who were not bullied. Among boys, exposure to bullying was also associated with a lower cortisol awakening response (CARG). The lower cortisol output among bullied students indicates that this group may exhibit HPA-axis dysregulation following chronic stress exposure. Conclusions: The study supports the assumption that exposure to bullying, as a chronic stressor, is related to self-reported somatic pain and stress, but also to one of the major bodily stress systems. This underlines the importance of continuously working against bullying in schools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. article id 1098
Keywords [en]
bullying, recurrent pain, cortisol
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-151743OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-151743DiVA, id: diva2:1175394
Conference
World Anti-Bullying Forum, May 7-9, 2017, Stockholm, Sweden
Note

Funding came from FORTE and Stockholm University (Department of Psychology and CHESS).

Available from: 2018-01-17 Created: 2018-01-17 Last updated: 2018-03-02Bibliographically approved

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Östberg, VivecaBrolin Låftman, SaraModin, BitteLindfors, Petra
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