Joint development of bullying and victimization in adolescence: relations to delinquency and self-harm

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;47(9):1030-8. doi: 10.1097/CHI.ObO13e31817eec98.


Objective: To estimate trajectories of bullying and victimization in early to mid-adolescence, associations between the trajectories, and links with delinquency and self-harm.

Method: A total of 3,932 adolescents (50% boys) reported bullying (ages 14 to 16), victimization (ages 13 to 16), delinquency (age 16), and self-harm (age 16).

Results: Two bullying trajectories (low/decreasing, high/increasing) and three victimization trajectories (low, high/decreasing, high/increasing) were identified. Over time, victimization increased the likelihood of involvement in bullying to a greater extent than bullying increased the likelihood of victimization. Boys and girls in the high/increasing bullying and the low or high/increasing victimization trajectories (i.e., the bullies and the bully-victims) were highest in mid-adolescent delinquency. Girls following the high/increasing bullying and high/increasing victimization trajectories (bully-victims) were the highest in mid-adolescent self-harm.

Conclusions: Youths who are victimized by their peers are at increased risk, in turn, of victimizing others. Sex-specific adjustment problems are associated with differing patterns of involvement in bullying and victimization among adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Conduct Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Conduct Disorder / psychology
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dominance-Subordination
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology
  • Juvenile Delinquency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / epidemiology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • United Kingdom