Bullying Victimization among In-School Adolescents in Ghana: Analysis of Prevalence and Correlates from the Global School-Based Health Survey

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Healthcare, 2021, 9, (3)
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(1) Background: Although bullying victimization is a phenomenon that is increasingly being recognized as a public health and mental health concern in many countries, research attention on this aspect of youth violence in low- and middle-income countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa, is minimal. The current study examined the national prevalence of bullying victimization and its correlates among in-school adolescents in Ghana. (2) Methods: A sample of 1342 in-school adolescents in Ghana (55.2% males; 44.8% females) aged 12-18 was drawn from the 2012 Global School-based Health Survey (GSHS) for the analysis. Self-reported bullying victimization "during the last 30 days, on how many days were you bullied?" was used as the central criterion variable. Three-level analyses using descriptive, Pearson chi-square, and binary logistic regression were performed. Results of the regression analysis were presented as adjusted odds ratios (aOR) at 95% confidence intervals (CIs), with a statistical significance pegged at p < 0.05. (3) Results: Bullying victimization was prevalent among 41.3% of the in-school adolescents. Pattern of results indicates that adolescents in SHS 3 [aOR = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.25, 0.47] and SHS 4 [aOR = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.21, 0.44] were less likely to be victims of bullying. Adolescents who had sustained injury [aOR = 2.11, 95% CI = 1.63, 2.73] were more likely to be bullied compared to those who had not sustained any injury. The odds of bullying victimization were higher among adolescents who had engaged in physical fight [aOR = 1.90, 95% CI = 1.42, 2.25] and those who had been physically attacked [aOR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.32, 2.27]. Similarly, adolescents who felt lonely were more likely to report being bullied [aOR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.08, 2.08] as against those who did not feel lonely. Additionally, adolescents with a history of suicide attempts were more likely to be bullied [aOR = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.11, 2.38] and those who used marijuana had higher odds of bullying victimization [aOR = 3.36, 95% CI = 1.10, 10.24]. (4) Conclusions: Current findings require the need for policy makers and school authorities in Ghana to design and implement policies and anti-bullying interventions (e.g., Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Emotive Behavioral Education (REBE), Marijuana Cessation Therapy (MCT)) focused on addressing behavioral issues, mental health and substance abuse among in-school adolescents.
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