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Bullying perpetration and victimization as predictors of delinquency and depression in the Pittsburgh Youth Study

David P. Farrington (Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK)
Rolf Loeber (Life History Studies, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Rebecca Stallings (Life History Studies, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Maria M. Ttofi (Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Article publication date: 16 May 2011

Abstract

Purpose

School bullying is an important social problem with serious consequences. Many studies suggest that involvement in bullying (as a perpetrator or a victim) is associated with undesirable short‐term effects on the physical and psychological health of children and with undesirable long‐term effects on their future psychosocial adjustment as adults. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether bullying perpetration predicts later criminal offending and whether bullying victimization predicts later depression.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study in which 503 boys who were originally assessed at age 6‐7 years have been followed up to age 19, with yearly or half‐yearly assessments.

Findings

Bullying perpetration in one age range, according to boys and mothers, predicted delinquency (reported by boys) in a later age range, and this relationship held up after controlling for ten major risk factors measured in an earlier age range. Bullying perpetration, according to boys, was the stronger predictor of delinquency. Bullying victimization (being bullied) in one age range predicted depression (reported by boys, mothers and teachers) in a later age range, and this relationship also held up after controlling for ten earlier risk factors. Bullying victimization according to mothers was the stronger predictor of depression.

Originality/value

The paper provides useful evidence which leads to the conclusion that bullying perpetration is followed by an increased risk of delinquency, and that bullying victimization is followed by an increased risk of depression.

Keywords

Citation

Farrington, D.P., Loeber, R., Stallings, R. and Ttofi, M.M. (2011), "Bullying perpetration and victimization as predictors of delinquency and depression in the Pittsburgh Youth Study", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 74-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/17596591111132882

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited