riskA new University of Alberta survey of more than 2300 students aged 12–18 assessed what types of high school students are being indirectly victimized.

This includes being involved in emotionally damaging scenarios such as receiving hurtful anonymous notes, being socially excluded, or having rumors spread about them, including threats of physical harm.

Researchers analyzed data from an anonymous questionnaire asking questions such as how they rate their attractiveness, their sexual activity, their friendships and school social problems.

University of Alberta Educational Psychology PhD student Lindsey Leenaars found the females who viewed themselves as attractive had a 35 per cent increased chance of being indirectly victimized.

Conversely, for males who perceived themselves as good looking, their risk of being bullied decreased by 25 per cent. Leenaars also found older teens (aged 16–18) were at a 35 per cent increased risk of being victimized if they were sexually active.

Leenaars says this information could be used to raise awareness amongst parents, teachers and counselors. She adds it would also be helpful when schools are working on a variety of anti-bullying programs to include all students, not just those who may be traditionally perceived as victims.

“The findings have important implications for the development of interventions designed to reduce peer victimization, in that victims of indirect aggression may represent a broad group.”

Source: University of Alberta