Bullying is a major public concern and has prompted further investigation into the risk factors, motivation, and outcomes related to aggressive behavior. Attention has been focused on adolescents as the rising rates of bullying-related suicides in young people have caught the attention of the media and the public in general. Suicide of any kind is a tragedy, especially when the causes leading children to take their own lives could be identified and addressed.
Issues such as identity, body image, socioeconomic status, abuse and perceived sexual orientation (PSO) all affect the risk of bullying. But PSO is one area that makes children especially vulnerable. Therefore, Donald L. Patrick, PhD, of the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington in Washington State recently conducted a study on rates of PSO-related bullying and its outcome among a sample of over 27,000 children in ages 8, 10, and 12.
The participants reported if they were bullied, how often, and why they were bullied. Patrick also assessed the quality of life (QOL) as reported by the participants and evaluated if bullying led to increased risk of depression or suicide among the teens. The results revealed that male students were bullied more than female students because of their PSO, but bullying decreased with age for both boys and girls.
Specifically, 14% of the boys experienced PSO-related bullying in 8th grade, 11% in 10th and 9% in 12th. For the girls, PSO-related bullying occurred in 11% during 8th grade and fell to 10% and 6% during 10th and 12th grades respectively. When Patrick looked at PSO bullying compared to other types of bullying, he found that PSO related bullying occurred at much higher rates for both girls and boys. The participants also had lower QOL and higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation than their nonbullied peers.
“Bullying because of PSO is widely prevalent and significantly affects several facets of youth QOL,” said Patrick, summing up the findings of his study. He added, “Bully-prevention or harm-reduction programs must address bullying because of PSO.”
Patrick, Donald L., PhD, MSPH, et al. (2013). Bullying and quality of life in youths perceived as gay, lesbian, or bisexual in Washington state, 2010. American Journal of Public Health 103.7 (2013): 1255-61. ProQuest. Web.
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.