Bullying in college reported to be a significant problem

Bullying in college reported to be a significant problem
Bullying in college reported to be a significant problem

Bullying is commonplace among students from kindergarten through the senior year of high school. A new study assessed bullying among college students, which has been previously underexplored. The findings were published online in the journal Pediatrics by researchers at National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

The study authors note that bullying is a commonly occurring problem behavior in children and teens that could result in long-term health effects. However, the impact of school bullying experiences on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among college students has not been adequately assessed. Therefore, they conducted a study focused on Taiwanese college students and how bullying impacted their HRQOL.

In 2013, 1,452 college students were polled; a response rate of 84.2% was attained. Different types of bullying experiences, such as physical, verbal, relational, and cyber, before and in college, for both bullies and victims was evaluated. (Relational Bullying is a form of bullying common among youth, but particularly so among girls, and involves a bully trying to hurt a peer and/or that peer’s standing within a particular peer group. Relational bullying can be used as a tool by bullies to both improve their social standing and control others. Unlike physical bullying which is obvious, relational bullying is not overt and can continue for a long time without being noticed.) HRQOL was evaluated by the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) Taiwan version.

The investigators found that college students with cyber bullying-victimization experiences before college reported significantly higher HRQOL in regard to physical health. In regard to social relationships, students with verbal and relational bullying-victimization experiences, both before and in college, reported significantly lower HRQOL; however, students with bullying-perpetration experiences in both periods reported significantly higher HRQOL. Students with cyber bullying–victimization experiences in college reported significantly higher HRQOL in the area of environment. The investigators also found that the effects of verbal and relational bullying-victimization experiences on psychological HRQOL could be facilitated and manifested via depression.

The authors concluded that various types of bullying experiences occurring before and in college were associated with HRQOL that varied depending on type of bullying. They noted that their findings stress the importance of developing school policies and health education initiatives to prevent school bullying and improve its short-term and long-term effects on HRQOL.


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