Alina Cosma1,*, Robert Balazsi2, Adriana Băban2
1Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit (CAHRU), School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom
2Department of Psychology, Babeș Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca, Romania
Bullying victimization during school years is considered to be a traumatic experience that has negative short- and long-term consequences for those involved. Several longitudinal approaches have tried to offer an explanation for the associations between being bullied and experiencing internalizing problems, but there is no clear consensus regarding the direction of this association. Using a longitudinal design with three-time measurements, this study aimed to investigate the associations between exposure to bullying victimization and experiencing internalizing problems in an adolescent sample (N = 111). Structural equation modelling (SEM) indicated that the experience of internalizing problems predicted changes in bullying victimization using a six-months interval between measurements, but bullying victimization did not predict changes in experiencing internalizing problems in the aforementioned time frame. These results have direct implications for mental health professionals working with young people. Instead of focusing only on bullying victimization as a source of distress, intervention could also be directed towards the young people who present internalizing problems, as they are at risk for both bullying victimisation as well as for chronicity of their emotional problems.
Keywords: victimization, internalizing problems, adolescence, bullying, longitudinal
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