The effects of harassment and victimization on self-rated health and mental health among Canadian adolescents

Soc Sci Med. 2008 Aug;67(4):557-67. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.04.006. Epub 2008 Jun 5.


Using 1996/1997 to 2000/2001 data from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, this paper examines the effects of harassment on self-rated and mental health status among Canadian adolescents aged 16-17 years. Forty-six percent of the children experienced harassment and victimization (verbal aggression, threat, and physical harm/assault) at school and 40% outside of school. Harassment at school, rather than otherwise, was associated with poor health status and higher levels of depression even when previous health conditions and socio-demographic variables were held constant. The relationship between harassment and mental health is particularly pronounced among girls, immigrant children and those living in single-parent households. Given the sizable proportion of adolescents as victims of harassment at school and its significant relationship with both health status and depression, the issue warrants serious public health attention through school-based intervention programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Canada
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Minority Groups
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Violence / psychology*