The association between bullying behavior, arousal level, coping strategies and psychological adjustment

Kristina Sesar, Nataša Šimić, Damir Sesar


Objective - To examine the relationship between bullying and difficulties in psychological adjustment among elementary school students due to their role in bullying behavior, arousal level and strategies of coping with bullying behavior.

Methods - The study was conducted on a convenience sample of 478 primary school children (232 girls and 246 boys), 11 to 15 years of age. A School Relationship Questionnaire (SRQ) was used to assess direct, verbal and relational forms of bullying. To determine the coping strategies we used the Self – Report Coping Measure (SRCM). The arousal level was assessed by The Arousal Predisposition Scale (APS), while Youth Self-Report (YSR) was used for assessing current psychological adjustment.

Results - The present study identified 29% of children involved in bullying; 14% of children were categorized as victims, 7% as bullies and 8% as bully/victims. There was statistically significant combined effect of the role of victims and bully/victims, levels of arousal and coping strategies with bullying (internalizing, externalizing, and distancing) on difficulties in psychological adjustment.

Conclusion - Based on the results of this study, we can conclude that bullying as psychosocial stress is an important risk factor for psychological problems in childhood. At the same time, coping strategies are important determinants of successful adaptation.


Bullying; Difficulties in psychological adjustment; Coping strategies; Arousal level

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