Background: Little is known about the frequency of bullying victimization (BV) among adolescents in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states. This study aims to assess the prevalence and correlates of frequent and infrequent BV among school-going adolescents in five ASEAN member states.

Methods: The cross-sectional sample of the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) of 2015 comprised 33,184 school adolescents (14.6 years mean age) from five ASEAN countries. Students completed a paper-based, self-administered questionnaire on BV in their own languages during classroom periods. Multinomial logistic regression was used to predict frequent and infrequent BV, with no BV as the reference category.

Results: Results indicate that 30.6% of participants reported any past-month BV, 33.9% in boys and 27.5 in girls, ranging from 11.8% in Laos to 48.7% in the Philippines. In the adjusted multinomial logistic regression analysis of students from the Philippines and Thailand, experience of hunger, sedentary behavior, attendance at physical education classes, being underweight, overweight, or obese, ever amphetamine use, physical assault, school truancy, participation in a physical fight, injury, low peer support, and psychological distress were all associated with BV.

Conclusions: Approximately one in three adolescents was bullied. Several associated variables were identified which can assist in targeting strategies of intervention.


  1. Rettew DC, Pawlowski S. Bullying. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2016;25:235–42.
  2. Elgar FJ, McKinnon B, Walsh SD, Freeman J, D Donnelly P, de Matos MG, et al. Structural determinants of youth bullying and fighting in 79 countries. J Adolesc Health. 2015;57:643–50.
  3. Rahman MM, Rahman MM, Khan MMA, Hasan M, Choudhury KN. Bullying victimization and adverse health behaviors among school-going adolescents in South Asia: Findings from the global school-based student health survey. Depress Anxiety. 2020;37:995–1006.
  4. Peltzer K, Pengpid S. Health risk behaviour among in-school adolescents in the Philippines: Trends between 2003, 2007 and 2011, A cross-sectional study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015;13:73.
  5. Shaikh MA. Bullying victimization among school-attending adolescents in Pakistan. J Pak Med Assoc. 2013;63:1202–3.
  6. Zhu Y, Chan KL. Prevalence and correlates of school bullying victimization in Xi'an, China. Violence Vict. 2015;30:714–32.
  7. Pengpid S, Peltzer K. Bullying and its associated factors among school-aged adolescents in Thailand. ScientificWorldJournal. 2013;2013:254083.
  8. Sittichai R, Smith PK. Bullying in South-East Asian countries: A review. Aggress Violent Behav. 2015;23:22–35.
  9. Seo HJ, Jung YE, Kim MD, Bahk WM. Factors associated with bullying victimization among Korean adolescents. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2017;13:2429–35.
  10. Abdirahman H, Fleming LC, Jacobsen KH. Parental involvement and bullying among middle-school students in North Africa. East Mediterr Health J. 2013;19:227–33.
  11. Boel-Studt S, Renner LM. Individual and familial risk and protective correlates of physical and psychological peer victimization. Child Abuse Negl. 2013;37:1163–74.
  12. World Health Organization. Global school-based student health survey (GSHS). New York: World Health Organization, 2019.
  13. Pengpid S, Peltzer K. Bullying victimization and externalizing and internalizing symptoms among in-school adolescents from five Southeast Asian countries. Child Youth Serv Rev. 2019;106:04473.
  14. Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000;320:1240–3.
  15. Guthold R, Cowan MJ, Autenrieth CS, Kann L, Riley LM. Physical activity and sedentary behavior among schoolchildren: A 34-country comparison. J Pediatr. 2010;157:43–9.e1.
  16. World Health Organization (WHO). Global School-based Student Health Survey Indonesia 2007 Fact Sheet. New York: World Health Organization, 2007.
  17. Sivaraman B, Nye E, Bowes L. School-based anti-bullying interventions for adolescents in low- and middle income countries: A systematic review. Aggress Violent Behav. 2019;45:154–62.
  18. National Commission for Mothers and Children, Lao Statistics Bureau and UNICEF Lao PDR. National Violence against Children Survey in Lao PDR. Preliminary Report. Lao PDR: National Commission for Mothers and Children, 2016.
  19. Silove D, Brooks R, Bateman Steel CR, Steel Z, Hewage K, Rodger J, et al. Explosive anger as a response to human rights violations in post-conflict Timor-Leste. Soc Sci Med. 2009;69:670–7.
  20. Wilson ML, Dunlavy AC, Berchtold A. Determinants for bullying victimization among 11–16-year-olds in 15 low- and middle-income countries: A multi-level study. Soc Sci. 2013;2:208–20.
  21. Fleming LC, Jacobsen KH. Bullying among middle-school students in low and middle income countries. Health Promot Int. 2010;25:73–84.
  22. Siziya S, Rudatsikira E, Muula AS. Victimization from bullying among school-attending adolescents in grades 7 to 10 in Zambia. J Inj Violence Res. 2012;4:30–5.
  23. Acquah EO, Wilson ML, Doku DT. Patterns and correlates for bulling among young adolescents in Ghana. Soc Sci. 2014;3:827–40.
  24. Arhin DK, Oppong Asante K, Kugbey N, Oti-Boadi M. The relationship between psychological distress and bullying victimisation among school-going adolescents in Ghana: A cross-sectional study. BMC Res Notes. 2019;12:264.
  25. Eastman M, Foshee V, Ennett S, Sotres-Alvarez D, Reyes HLM, Faris R, et al. Profiles of internalizing and externalizing symptoms associated with bullying victimization. J Adolesc. 2018;65:101–10.
  26. Steenberg LM, Palic S, Elklit A. A review of psychological factors related to bullying victimization in schools. Aggress Violent Behav. 2012;17:383–7.
  27. Silva JLD, Oliveira WA, Carlos DM, Lizzi EADS, Rosário R, Silva MAI. Intervention in social skills and bullying. Rev Bras Enferm. 2018;71:1085–91.
  28. Zych I, Farrington DP, Ttofi MM. Protective factors against bullying and cyberbullying: A systematic review og meta-analyses. Aggress Violent Behav. 2019;45:4–19.
  29. Roman CG, Taylor CJ. A multilevel assessment of school climate, bullying victimization, and physical activity. J Sch Health. 2013;83:400–7.
  30. Lian Q, Su Q, Li R, Elgar FJ, Liu Z, Zheng D. The association between chronic bullying victimization with weight status and body self-image: A cross-national study in 39 countries. PeerJ. 2018;6:e4330.
  31. Puhl RM, King KM. Weight discrimination and bullying. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;27:117–27.
  32. Brener ND, Collins JL, Kann L, Warren CW, Williams BI. Reliability of the youth risk behavior survey questionnaire. Am J Epidemiol. 1995;141:575–80.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.