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Prevalence and factors associated with bullying phenomenon among pre-adolescents attending first-grade secondary schools of Palermo, Italy, and a comparative systematic literature review

  • Autori: Costantino C.; Mazzucco W.; Scarpitta F.; Ventura G.; Marotta C.; Bono S.E.; Arcidiacono E.; Gentile M.; Sannasardo P.; Gambino C.R.; Sannasardo C.E.; Vella C.; Vitale F.; Casuccio A.; Restivo V.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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Background: Bullying is recognized as one of the most significant social and health problems in the school environment for children and adolescents. In Italy, bullying involved 2 in 10 kids between 11–17 years that referred to have been bullied two or more times in a month. In Sicily, the estimated prevalence of children aged 11 to 15 that suffered at least one act of bullying in the last two months was 14% in 2011. Methods: A questionnaire consisting of 30 items investigating physical, verbal and indirect bullying, observers of bullying, resiliency, and prosociality was administered to preadolescents of ten first-grade secondary schools within the Palermo Province in order to analyze prevalence and factors associated with bullying phenomenon. Also, a systematic literature review (SLR) analyzing manuscripts that reported prevalence of the bullying phenomenon worldwide was conducted. Results: Survey: a total of 867 students, belonging to 35 s and 31 third classes of ten different schools in Palermo, Italy, were recruited in the survey. The values of physical bullying are included between the 4% of the single question method and the almost forty percent detected by the score of 7 method. Verbal bullying oscillates between 15.9% and 66.3%. Observers average values varies from 15.8% to 47.5%. SLR: the estimated prevalence showed a considerable fluctuation. The occurrence of the bullying phenomenon was low in some Northern European countries, while in Anglo-Saxon countries it affected over a quarter of the middle school student population (28% in Maryland, USA and 21% in the UK). Conclusions: The prevalence of the bullying phenomenon recorded by this survey with the three different methods used is similar to observations in international literature. In the Sicilian context, a higher prevalence of bullying phenomena was observed in pre-adolescents attending major classes and in schools with lower socio-economic index. Though it remains difficult to obtain univocal data that clarifies the prevalence of different type of bullying, the continuous investigation of prevalence and factors associated with the phenomenon is a necessary starting point to introduce interventions and preventive measures in Public Health programs.