Bullying among school-age children in the greater Beirut area: Risk and protective factors.


This study investigated the prevalence of bullying at schools in the Greater Beirut Area and the extent to which differences in children’s sociodemographics, family and school environment, and coping strategies could account for variation in academic achievement, PTSD and emotional and behavioral disorders. Participants were 665 male and female children of mean age 13.8 years. Results indicated that a high proportion of children had been involved in bullying on a regular basis with victims having a higher prevalence ratio than bullies and bully/victims. Verbal bullying including spreading rumors was the most common type of victimization, followed by being rejected from a group. Being bullied about one’s religion or sect comprised one of the most common bullying behaviors in schools. Students rarely tried to stop a student from being bullied and teachers were reported to have done relatively little or nothing to counteract bullying. Prevalence of bullying was more among boys than girls. School bullying was not associated with academic achievement or with having difficulties in reading and math. Children who were identified as bully/victim, victim, and bully suffered from PTSD compared to those who were not identified as being involved in bullying The study showed that both bullies and victims are at-risk for short term and long-term adjustment difficulties including hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, conduct problems and peer problems. Child’s gender and emotion-focused coping stood out as risk factors for the development of bullying behaviors whereas age, problem-focused coping, family environment, and school environment were significant protective factors.