Bullying Perpetration and Victimization Among Adolescents With Overweight and Obesity in a Nationally Representative Sample
Background: Adolescents with obesity are more likely to experience bullying in comparison to their healthy weight peers. However, it is unclear whether adolescents with obesity are more likely to perpetuate bullying or be both, a bully perpetrator and a bully victim. The purpose of this analysis was to examine differences in bully perpetration, victimization , and both (perpetration and victimization) by BMI classification in a nationally representative sample of adolescents.
Methods: Analyses were grouped by BMI classification; outcome variables included bullying, difficulty making new friends, excessive arguing, depression, and behavioral conduct problems. Logistic regression models, adjusted for age, sex, race, household income, highest level of education in the household, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder assessed the odds of each outcome comparing healthy weight to adolescents with overweight and obesity.
Results: Adolescents with overweight and obesity had greater odds of experiencing bullying behaviors: bully victim [odds ratio (OR) = 1.34 and 2.03] and both bully perpetrator and victim (OR = 1.37 and 2.01) (p's<0.05), respectively, in comparison to healthy weight peers. Adolescents with overweight or obesity involved in bullying behaviors had significantly higher odds of behavioral conduct problems, depression, arguing excessively, and having difficulty making friends compared to adolescents with overweight or obesity who were neither a bully perpetrator nor victim (p's<0.05).
Conclusions: To promote overall health and well-being among adolescents with overweight and obesity, effort should be made to mitigate engagement in and/or victimization from bullying and associated behavioral or depressive symptoms.
McCoy, S. M.
(2019). Bullying Perpetration and Victimization Among Adolescents With Overweight and Obesity in a Nationally Representative Sample. Childhood Obesity, 15(5), 323-330.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/16479