Food Insecurity and Bullying Victimization Among 170,618 Adolescents in 59 Countries

Kaixin Liang, Xinli Chi, Si Tong Chen, Cain Craig Truman Clark, Yanjie Zhang, Jian Wang

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    6 Citations (Scopus)
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    Background: Bullying victimization can impose long-lasting impacts on adolescent's current and subsequent well-being. Understanding the correlates of bullying victimization and how to prevent its occurrence is an urgent need. Food insecurity, an indicator of low socioeconomic status, may be related to bullying victimization. However, research on the association between food insecurity and bullying victimization is limited. Using a representative global sample, this study aimed to investigate the association between food insecurity and bullying victimization in adolescents and whether the association varied between country income levels, sexes, and age groups. Methods: Using cross-sectional, school-based data by 170,618 adolescents in 59 countries from the Global School-based Student Health Survey, multivariable logistic regression and meta-analysis were conducted to investigate the overall, country-stratified, sex-stratified, and age-stratified associations. Results: The prevalence of bullying victimization was 33.3%. In the total sample, adolescents with food insecurity showed significantly higher odds for bullying victimization than those without no food insecurity with a pooled odds ratio (OR) being 1.37 (1.28, 1.47). Further, the association was stronger in higher-income countries, females, and older adolescents. Conclusions: Bullying victimization is prevalent among global adolescents with food insecurity being a significant correlate. The identification of adolescents with perceptions of food insecurity and remedying this condition may be important to reduce the prevalence of bullying. This highlights the need to design and implement sex- and age-specific interventions focusing on remedying food insecurity and bullying victimization among in-school adolescents by taking country income levels into account.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number766804
    Number of pages10
    JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


    Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (Grant Number: 2021A1515011330), the Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project in Anhui Province (Grant Number: 2017AHSKYD3), and the Anhui University Collaborative Innovation Project (Grant Number: GXXT-2019-038).


    • adolescents
    • bully victimization
    • food insecurity
    • Global School-based Student Health Survey
    • meta-analysis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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