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      The association between self-reported psychosomatic complaints and bullying victimisation and disability among adolescents in Finland and Sweden


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          To analyse the associations between bullying victimisation, disability, and self-reported psychosomatic complaints in adolescents, and to investigate the role of support from parents and teachers in such associations.


          The study was based on Finnish and Swedish data from two waves (2013/2014 and 2017/2018) of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey ( n=16,057). Descriptive statistics were produced for four groups of adolescents: (a) bullied with disabilities; (b) not bullied with disabilities; (c) bullied without disabilities; and (d) not bullied without disabilities (reference group). Two multilevel multinomial logistic regression models were performed for the Finnish and Swedish samples separately. The first model analysed associations between psychosomatic complaints and bullying victimisation, controlling for a range of confounders. The second model analysed associations between psychosomatic complaints and social support from parents and teachers.


          Across both countries, bullied adolescents with disabilities were more likely to self-report psychosomatic complaints than the reference group, even after adjusting for other potential confounders. Teacher support was identified as a potential protective factor as the odds ratio for psychosomatic complaints decreased when including teacher support as a factor in the model. The association with parent support showed mixed findings in Finland and Sweden.


          Disability in combination with bullying victimisation generated the highest levels of self-reported psychosomatic complaints compared to adolescents that were not bullied nor had disabilities. High teacher support may be a protective factor against psychosomatic complaints for bullied and/or disabled adolescents.

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          Most cited references30

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          Bullying at School : What We Know and what We Can Do

          Dan Olweus (1993)
          Presents an overview of what is known about the causes and consequences of bullying at school, describes an intervention program designed to address and counteract the problem, discusses the positive effects of the program as evaluated over a two-year period in forty-two schools in Bergen, Norway, and offers practical advice on implementing the intervention program.
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            Adult health outcomes of childhood bullying victimization: evidence from a five-decade longitudinal British birth cohort.

            The authors examined midlife outcomes of childhood bullying victimization.
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              School bullying: development and some important challenges.

              Dan Olweus (2013)
              After sketching how my own interest and research into bullying problems began, I address a number of potentially controversial issues related to the definition and measurement of such problems. The importance of maintaining the distinctions between bullying victimization and general victimization and between bullying perpetration and general aggression is strongly emphasized. There are particular problems with the common method of peer nominations for purposes of prevalence estimation, comparisons of such estimates and mean levels across groups and time, and measurement of change. Two large-scale projects with time series data show that several recent claims about cyber bullying made in the media and by some researchers are greatly exaggerated and lack scientific support. Recent meta-analyses of the long-term outcomes for former bullies and victims provide convincing evidence that being involved in such problems is not just a harmless and passing school problem but something that has serious adjustment and public health consequences that also entail great costs to society. Another section presents my view of why the theme of bullying took quite some time to reach the peer relations research community in the United States and the role of a dominant research tradition focusing on "likeability" in this account. In a final section, I summarize some reasons why it may be considered important and interesting to focus both research and intervention on bully/victim problems.

                Author and article information

                Scand J Public Health
                Scand J Public Health
                Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                1 May 2022
                December 2023
                : 51
                : 8
                : 1136-1143
                [1 ]Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
                [2 ]CHILD, Department of Education and Psychology, School of Education and Communication, Jönköping, Sweden
                [3 ]Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
                [4 ]Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
                [5 ]Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland
                [6 ]School of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
                Author notes
                [*]Ylva Bjereld, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden. E-mail: ylva.bjereld@ 123456liu.se

                Kwok Ng is now affiliated to Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

                Author information
                © Author(s) 2022

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

                : 2 September 2021
                : 8 February 2022
                : 7 March 2022
                Funded by: Folkhälsomyndigheten, FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/501100010686;
                Award ID: 00750-2019-2.3.2
                Original Articles
                Custom metadata

                Public health
                bullying,disability,hbsc,self-reported psychosomatic complaints,protective factors
                Public health
                bullying, disability, hbsc, self-reported psychosomatic complaints, protective factors


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