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March 2013, Volume 63, Issue 3

Letter to the Editor

Bullying and injury profile of female intermediate and bachelor programme students — Perspective from Islamabad

Masood Ali Shaikh  ( Apartment No. 32, Building No. 3, Group No. 71, Al Rehab, Cairo, Egypt. )
Ayesha Kayani  ( Islamabad College for Girls (Post-Graduate), Islamabad, Pakistan. )
Irshad Ali Shaikh  ( Apartment No. 32, Building No. 3, Group No. 71, Al Rehab, Cairo, Egypt. )

Madam, bullying among students is a global health problem and entails use of power and aggression; either physical, verbal, and/or psychological aggressive behaviour that is directed towards a student by his/her peers.1,2 Bullying victimization has been associated with depression, and suicidal ideation.1-3 There are no studies on bullying among college students in Pakistan. A cross-sectional survey with convenience sampling was conducted among female college students of intermediate and bachelors programmes in Islamabad to study bullying behaviour, and its association with injuries, using a pre-tested questionnaire from March-June 2011. Three female lecturers in three colleges approached students enrolled in classes 11-12, and bachelor programmes, and after obtaining verbal consent and ensuring complete confidentiality, distributed the questionnaires and collected the completed ones. Definitions of bullying and injury, and questions in this questionnaire were taken from the global school-based student health survey of Indonesia, conducted by CDC.4 Data were analyzed using R-v2.14. Cumulatively 760 students participated in the study;

table 1 shows the responses to injury and bullying questions disaggregated by two class groups of 11-12 and BA/B.Sc. In the past twelve months 120 (50.4%) and 222 (42.5%) students of classes 11-12 and BA/B.Sc respectively, reported having sustained serious injury one or more times, and this was the only statistically significant association found between the two groups. Two most common reasons for the reported injuries were while doing housework or cooking and playing or training for sports. Cumulatively, 325 (42.8%) students reported being bullied on one or more days in the past thirty days, 211 (27.8%) students reported having bullied someone in the past thirty days, 342 (45%) reported having sustained one or more serious injuries in the past twelve months, and 307 (40.4%) reported having felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing their usual activities in the past twelve months. Among 325 (42.8%) students who were bullied in the past thirty days, 136 (64.5%) also reported having bullied others in the past thirty days as well, 216 (66.5%) had sustained one or more serious injuries in the past twelve months, and 168 (51.7%) reported having felt sad/hopeless for two weeks in a row. This high correlation of bullying with having sustained injuries and feelings of sadness/hopelessness in this study underscores the need for GPs/paediatricians to keep their index of suspicion high when providing consultations to young female adults.

References

1. Craig WM, Pepler DJ. Identifying and targeting risk for involvement in bullying and victimization. Can J Psychiatr 2003; 48: 577-82.
2. Due P, Holstein PE, Lynch J, Nic Gabhainns, Scheidt P, Currie C, et al. Health behavior in school-aged children. Bullying working group. Bullying and symptoms among school-aged children: international comparative cross sectional study in 28 countries. Eur J Public Health 2005; 15: 128-32.
3. Nansel TR, Overpeck M, Pilla RS, Ruan WJ, Simons-Morton B, Scheidt P. Bullying behaviors among US youth: prevalence and association with psychological adjustment. JAMA 2001; 285: 2094-100.
4. Global school-based student health survey (GSHS). 2007 Indonesia GSHS questionnaire. (Online) (Cited 2011 January 11). Available from URL: www.cdc.gov/gshs/.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: