The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

A Prediction Model of Being Bullied Among Adolescents

Friday, January 17, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Sung Seek Moon, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Youn Kyoung Kim, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Purpose: The negative effect of bullied adolescents influenced their perception of safety as well as the overall quality of their school experience and it has led to serious psychological and social impacts for its victims, even to the point of suicide. In the past few years, scholars conducted studies on factors predicting bullying considering multiple contextual levels: individual, family or peer, school, and community (Lee, 2011; Lee & Song, 2012). However, the existing literature on factors influencing bullying or being bullied has been limited by a reliance on generalized linear models (e.g., logistic regression). Although these models may help service providers identify the relevant correlates of bullying or being bullied, they are often less helpful in establishing a “prediction model.” The current study responds to this shortcoming in the previous research. The aim of the study is to identify the risk and protective factors that best differentiate groups along with the outcome variable of interest (being bullied) using Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis in order to help further the process of identifying and understanding risk assessment strategies. 

Methods: Using data from the 2005-2006 Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC), 8888 American adolescents completed paper-pencil surveys. A total of 42.3 % of participants were age 12 and 13, 18% were 14 years, 27.6% were 15 and older. In this sample 2,647(29.8%) of total 8,888 were defined as having been bullied. The variable, being bullied, was based on respondents’ self-report of how often they got bullied. Nine items inquired about the frequency of being bullied: 1) called names and teased; 2) left out of things; 3) hit, kicked, and pushed; 4) others lied about me; 5) for my race/color; 6) for my religion; 7) made sexual jokes to me; 8) using a computer/e-mail; and 9) using a cell phone. The Cronbach Alpha of ‘being bullied’ was .90. 

Results: The results of the analyses revealed that adolescents aged 15 and more are subject to a different constellation of predictors than adolescents aged 14 and less. In adolescents aged 15 and more, lower level of ‘enjoy being together in the class’ and lower level of ‘present feeling about school’ contributed to higher level of ‘being bullied’. Specifically, adolescents aged 15 and more with lower level of ‘enjoy being together in the class’ were more likely to be bullied (34.3%) than their counterparts (20.5%). For adolescents aged 14 and less, higher parental support were less likely to be bullied (27.3%) than adolescents with lower parental support (37.1%).

Implications: These findings support that strategies aimed on reducing peer victimization have to be included age or grade considered intervention components. Also, findings lead to a practical implication that service providers working with adolescents aged 14 and less should focus more on family-oriented intervention and those working with adolescents aged 15 and more should offer peer-or school-related interventions to prevent them from being bullied.