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Journal Article


Kontak JCH, Kirk SFL, Robinson L, Ohinmaa A, Veugelers PJ. Can. J. Public Health 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


School of Public Health, 3-300 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, University of Alberta, 11405 - 87 Ave, Edmonton, AB, T6G 1C9, Canada.


(Copyright © 2019, Canadian Public Health Association)






OBJECTIVE: Bullying and its potential consequence for poor mental health constitutes a public health concern, yet there is a dearth of longitudinal studies examining the topic. This study examines the temporal relationship between childhood bullying behaviours (being a victim, being a bully, or being a bully and a victim) and physician-diagnosed internalizing disorders over a 7-year timespan.

METHODS: Data from the 2003 Children's Lifestyle and School performance Study (CLASS), a population-based health survey of grade 5 students in Nova Scotia, Canada were linked to administrative health-care records to examine the relationship between bullying behaviours and services where a physician diagnosis of an internalizing disorder (ID) was received. Negative binomial regression analyses were conducted to examine this relationship.

RESULTS: Of the 4694 participants, 33.3% reported being involved in some form of bullying behaviour and 24.1% had a service where a physician diagnosis of ID was given over a 7-year timespan. Compared with children who reported not being involved in bullying behaviours, children who reported being a victim of bullying had a higher rate of subsequent physician-diagnosed ID services (IRR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.11, 1.70). Children who reported being a bully had a lower rate of ID services (IRR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.46, 0.99), while there was no difference for those who reported between being a bully and a victim (bully-victim) with respect to ID services.

CONCLUSION: Bullying behaviours should be considered a serious public health issue due to their high prevalence in school environments and detrimental effects on the mental health of adolescents.

Language: en


Bullying behaviours; Childhood; Internalizing disorders; Mental health; School health


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