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Self‐harm, in‐person bullying and cyberbullying in secondary school‐aged children: A data linkage study in Wales

Ann John Orcid Logo, Sze Chim Lee Orcid Logo, Alice Puchades, Marcos del Pozo Banos Orcid Logo, Kelly Morgan, Nicholas Page, Graham Moore, Simon Murphy

Journal of Adolescence

Swansea University Authors: Ann John Orcid Logo, Sze Chim Lee Orcid Logo, Alice Puchades, Marcos del Pozo Banos Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1002/jad.12102

Abstract

Introduction: Although the evidence base on bullying victimisation and self-harm in young people has been growing, most studies were cross-sectional, relied on self-reported non-validated measures of self-harm, and did not separate effects of in-person and cyberbullying. This study aimed to assess a...

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Published in: Journal of Adolescence
ISSN: 0140-1971 1095-9254
Published: Wiley 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa61294
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Abstract: Introduction: Although the evidence base on bullying victimisation and self-harm in young people has been growing, most studies were cross-sectional, relied on self-reported non-validated measures of self-harm, and did not separate effects of in-person and cyberbullying. This study aimed to assess associations of self-harm following in-person bullying at school and cyberbullying victimisation controlling for covariates.Methods: School survey data from 11-16 years pupils collected in 2017 from 39 Welsh secondary schools were linked to routinely collected data. Inverse probability weighting was performed to circumvent selection bias. Survival analyses for recurrent events were conducted to evaluate relative risks (adjusted hazard ratios, AHR) of self-harm among bullying groups within two years following survey completion.Results: 35.0% (weighted N = 6813) of pupils reported being bullied, with 18.1%, 6.4% and 10.5% being victims of in-person bullying at school only, cyberbullying only and both in-person bullying at school and cyberbullying respectively. Adjusting for covariates, effect sizes for self-harm were significant after being in-person bullied at school only (AHR = 2.2 (1.1-4.3)) and being both in-person bullied at school and cyberbullied (AHR = 2.2 (1.0-4.7)) but not being cyberbullied only (AHR = 1.2 (0.4-3.3)). Feeling lonely during recent summer holidays was also a robust predictor (AHR = 2.2 (1.2-4.0)).Conclusions: We reaffirm the role of in-person bullying victimisation on self-harm. Pupils were twice as likely to self-harm following in-person bullying as their non-victimised peers. Interventions for young people that minimise the potential impacts of bullying on self-harm should also include strategies to prevent loneliness.
Keywords: cyberbullying; bullying; data linkage; loneliness; school-based survey; self-harm
College: Swansea University Medical School
Funders: Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement; MQ Mental Health Research Charity (Grant Reference MQBF/3 ADP); Medical Research Council (MC/PC/17212 and MC/PC/17211); Wolfson Centre for Young People's Mental Health (Grant number 517483)