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Journal Article


Lee J, Cheung HS, Chee G, Chai VE. Sch. Ment. Health 2021; 13(3): 518-534.


(Copyright © 2021, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






Bullying involvement tends to bring about greater mental health problems among school-aged youths, and research suggests that empathy and attachment may play crucial roles in mitigating these adverse consequences. However, little is known about how different types of bullying involvement continue to contribute to mental health in higher education. This study fills the knowledge gap by examining how empathy and attachment moderate the relationship between the patterns of bullying involvement and depressive and anxiety symptoms among Singaporean university students. A total of 835 students (aged 21-24) from a public university completed an online survey. Using latent class analysis, a four-class typology was uncovered, consisting of high/multiple bully-victims, cyberbully-victims, relational and verbal victims, and persons uninvolved in bullying involvement. Multiple regression analyses showed that high/multiple bully-victims, cyberbully-victims, and relational and verbal victims tended to experience elevated depressive or anxiety symptoms compared to those who were uninvolved. Two 2-way interactions involving empathy and attachment were found: Compared to the uninvolved, being high/multiple bully-victims and having low empathy were associated with greater anxiety symptoms, and being cyberbully-victims with poor peer attachment was linked to greater anxiety symptoms. These differences in anxiety between the uninvolved and high/multiple and cyberbully-victims were non-significant at medium and high levels of empathy and at high levels of peer attachment, respectively. In order to improve the mental health of school-aged youths, practitioners should employ not only specific bullying prevention-intervention programs but also empathy- and peer-based programs.

Language: en


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