Determinants for Bullying Victimization among 11–16-Year-Olds in 15 Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Multi-Level Study
Bullying is an issue of public health importance among adolescents worldwide. The present study aimed at explaining differences in bullying rates among adolescents in 15 low- and middle-income countries using globally comparable indicators of social and economic well-being. Using data derived from the Global School-based Health Survey, we performed bivariate analyses to examine differences in bullying rates by country and by bullying type. We then constructed a multi-level model using four fixed variables (age, gender, hunger and truancy) at the individual level, random effects at the classroom and school levels and four fixed variables at the country level (Gini coefficient, per capita Gross Domestic Project, homicide rate and pupil to teacher ratio). Bullying rates differed significantly by classroom, school and by country, with Egypt (34.2%) and Macedonia (3.6%) having the highest and lowest rates, respectively. Eleven-year-olds were the most likely of the studied age groups to report being bullied, as was being a male. Hunger and truancy were found to significantly predict higher rates of bullying. None of the explanatory variables at the country level remained in the final model. While self-reported bullying varied significantly between countries, the variance between classrooms better explained these differences. Our findings suggest that classroom settings should be considered when designing approaches aimed at bullying prevention.
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