Bullying and mental health for school children
- with focus on children with disabilities
The project has two tracks, the first is about the significance of the definition of how many people are considered vulnerable to bullying, and how the definition relates to the risk factors that are identified. From an international perspective, the percentage of students who consider themselves bullied has been low, e.g. in the study school children's health habits. However, a change has taken place in the latest measurements when the proportion of those who are bullied have increased, without really knowing why. This can be due to many things, but one thing we look at is whether the definition of bullying has also changed. What bullying was in the 70s is not the same as it is today when, for example, digital communication enables bullying in a new way. When working methods, laws and definitions of bullying have changed, it also means that factors related to bullying may also have changed. Today, there is no summary of how research on bullying in Sweden has looked over time if the changes in definitions are considered. To investigate this part more closely, we will first do a limited systematic literature review of research on the frequency of bullying and definitions of bullying from the 1970s onwards in Sweden. Then, based on the material, the children's health habits of school children, we will examine these frequencies, and definitions of bullying in relation to risk factors.
The second track is about looking at the link between bullying and future mental illness for children with disabilities. In many previous studies, bullying has been linked to worse outcomes as an adult, which is also the case for disability. There are also studies showing that children with disabilities also have an increased risk of being both victims and perpetrators, depending on the type of disability. From this, we should therefore be able to assume that children with disabilities who are also subjected to bullying would have an even greater risk of worse outcomes as an adult. However, there is little research on this today, a first step is to try to find what research there is today that has taken a longitudinal perspective on this, and it is made through a systematic literature review. With this as support, the longitudinal material LoRDIA will then be used to follow children who at the age of 12-13 self-assessed that they have a disability, and that they are subjected to bullying and how they feel at a later time, at the age of 17. In this way, we hope to get an answer to the question if children who both are bullied and have a disability have a double risk of poorer health outcomes.
Project leader: Lilly Augustine