Do emotional and behavioural difficulties in primary school predict adolescent victimisation trajectories?


Chronic victimisation in adolescence is a traumatic experience with potential negative long-term health consequences. Given that victimisation has been shown to increase over the transition from primary to secondary school, longitudinal data from 1810 students transitioning from primary to secondary school were used to identify victimisation trajectory groups; classified as low-increasing, low-stable, medium-stable and not-bullied. Males with emotional and behavioural difficulties (both internalising and externalising behaviours) and females with externalising behaviours were more likely to be in the increasing and stable victimised groups than the not-bullied group. The results of this study suggest whole-school bullying intervention programmes need to occur before students reach secondary school, and that transition programmes need to emphasise and support social interaction between peers to reduce victimisation and the harms caused by long-term exposure to bullying.