Long-term outcomes of passive bullying during childhood: Suicide attempts, victimization and offending

AuthorSilvia Staubli,Martin Killias
Published date01 September 2011
Date01 September 2011
Subject MatterArticles
European Journal of Criminology
8(5) 377 –385
© The Author(s) 2011
Reprints and permission: sagepub.
DOI: 10.1177/1477370811415761
Long-term outcomes of
passive bullying during
childhood: Suicide attempts,
victimization and offending
Silvia Staubli and Martin Killias
University of Zurich, Switzerland
The long-term effects of bullying at elementary school have attracted increasing interest in recent
years. The present study is based on a cross-sectional survey of over 21,000 young Swiss men.
The sample covered about 70 percent of the cohort of Swiss males drafted into the Army in
1997, and born in or around 1977. The instrument covered many retrospective items, including
experiencing bullying before age 12 and conduct problems including violent victimization and
suicide attempts in the recent past. The results show that victims of bullying during childhood are
still negatively affected in young adulthood. A causal role of bullying experiences in these long-
term outcomes is plausible, although alternative explanations cannot be ruled out.
bullying, suicide attempts, victimization
Background of the study
Bullying is aggressive behaviour that is carried out repeatedly over time and is often
characterized by an imbalance of power. It consists of either direct, physical attacks or
indirect forms, such as slandering, spreading of rumours and manipulation of friendship
relations. Indirect forms are more common among girls (Olweus, 1993). Even if bullying
among school-children is an old phenomenon, systematic research began only in the
Corresponding author:
Silvia Staubli, Institute of Criminology, University of Zurich, Rämistrasse 74/39, CH-8001 Zurich, Switzerland.
Email: silvia.staubli@rwi.uzh.ch
415761EUCXXX10.1177/1477370811415761Staubli and KilliasEuropean Journal of Criminology

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