Bullying and Delinquency: The Impact of Anger and Frustration

Few studies have explored whether individuals who are bullied at school or online are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Even less is known about whether negative emotions (i.e., anger or frustration)—as a result of being victimized—mediate the relationships between being bullied or cyberbullied and delinquency (as predicted by Agnew’s general strain theory). The current study uses data from a national sample of 2,670 middle and high school students in the United States. Results indicate that youth who were bullied or cyberbullied, and who experience negative emotions as a result, are more likely to engage in delinquency. Negative emotions did not mediate the relationship between bullying and delinquency; however, they did partly mediate the relationship between cyberbullying and delinquency. The findings indicate that being bullied matters more in explaining delinquent behavior than the negative emotions that may result. Implications for research and policy are discussed in light of these findings.

Lee, C., Patchin, J. W., Hinduja, S., & Dischinger, A. (2020). Bullying and Delinquency: The Impact of Anger and Frustration. Violence and Victims, 35(4), 503-523.

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