The interaction between peer bullying and school connectedness on youth health and wellbeing

Publication Year


Journal Article

Multiple factors in a school setting may have an influence on youth health and wellbeing. Risk factors, like peer bullying, are expected to have negative consequences, whereas protective factors, such as school connectedness, are assumed to bolster positive outcomes. However, youth may experience both bullying and connectedness simultaneously. Given the importance of the school environment for youth health and wellbeing, we examined the independent effects of school connectedness and peer bullying on multidimensional profiles of youth health and wellbeing. We then explored the interaction between these two school-related risk and protective factors. Data were from 2,963 youth from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, an ongoing longitudinal cohort focus on multiple aspects of youth health and wellbeing and school-related factors. Using multinomial logistic regression analyses, we found that school connectedness was positively associated with youth health and wellbeing, whereas peer bullying was negatively associated with youth health and wellbeing. The interaction between connectedness and bullying showed that school connectedness was no longer associated with health and wellbeing at higher levels of bullying. Findings revealed important information about the interplay of two school-related risk and protective factors, and have practical implications in the development and implementation of school-based youth wellness programming. Programs must simultaneously aim to reduce bullying and improve school connectedness, as focusing only on one factor may be ineffective.

Children and Youth Services Review
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