Trends in Social Inequality in Exposure to Bullying at School 1994-2018

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Pernille Due
Mogens Trab Damsgaard
Mette Rasmussen
Bjørn Evald Holstein


Aims: To examine social inequality in exposure to bullying at school among adolescents and changes in social inequality over time. We applied data from seven nationally representative school surveys in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 in Denmark, the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study.

Methodology: The study population was 11-, 13- and 15-year-olds, response rate 87.9%, N=33,460 with comparable data about exposure to bullying and socioeconomic status. The analyses included 1) absolute social inequality, i.e. percent difference in exposure to bullying between low and high socioeconomic groups and 2) relative social inequality based on logistic regression analyses with odds ratios for exposure to bullying by socioeconomic background.

Results: The prevalence of exposure to bullying decreased from 24.4% in 1994 to 4.9% in 2018. Bullying was significantly most prevalent among schoolchildren from lower socioeconomic groups. The absolute social inequality decreased from 10.7% in 1994 to 3.9% in 2018. The relative social inequality was 1.30 (1.19-1.43) in middle and 1.77 (1.59-1.96) in low socioeconomic group, compared to high. There was no significant change in relative social inequality from 1994 to 2018.

Conclusion: In the period 1994 to 2018 with substantial reduction in exposure to bullying at school there was a decrease in the absolute social inequality and an unchanged relative social inequality in exposure to bullying.

Adolescents, bullying, health behaviour in school-aged children study, social inequality, socioeconomic status, trend study, victimization.

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How to Cite
Due, P., Damsgaard, M., Rasmussen, M., & Holstein, B. (2019). Trends in Social Inequality in Exposure to Bullying at School 1994-2018. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 32(1), 1-7.
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