Bullying in students with and without hearing loss.


While bullying is a common phenomenon at schools in general, very few studies have addressed bullying in students with hearing impairment. This study assessed being bullied and bullying others in 181 adolescents from German schools for students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and in 259 hearing peers from regular schools. Students who are deaf reported higher levels of victimization than their hearing peers, but differences between these two groups tended to be small. In contrast, hard of hearing students did not report elevated levels of being bullied. The three groups of students did not differ in the reported frequency of bullying others. While support from peers was associated with lower levels of being bullied in students with and without hearing loss, parental support, and better academic performance were only associated with lower victimization in hearing students. In contrast, perceived support from teachers was not related to bullying in any group. Irrespective of hearing status, higher levels of victimization were related to increased emotional and behavioural problems. It is concluded that interventions are needed which are aimed at preventing and reducing bullying of students with and without hearing loss and of deaf students in particular. These interventions should consider general as well as specific risk factors.