The Economic Cost of Child and Adolescent Bullying in Australia

By Amarzaya Jadambaa, David Brain, Rosana Pacella, Hannah J. Thomas, Molly McCarthy, James G. Scott, Nicholas Graves


To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis and estimate the economic costs attributable to child and adolescent bullying victimization in Australia.


The costs of bullying victimization were measured from a societal perspective that accounted for costs associated with health care, education resources, and productivity losses. A prevalence-based approach was used to estimate the annual costs for Australians who experienced bullying victimization in childhood and adolescence. This study updated a previous systematic review summarizing the association between bullying victimization and health and nonhealth outcomes. Costs were estimated by calculating population attributable fractions to determine the effects of bullying victimization on increased risk of adverse health outcomes, such as anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, intentional self-harm, and tobacco use. A top-down approach to cost estimation was taken for all outcomes of interest except for costs incurred by educational institutions and productivity losses of victims’ caregivers, for which a bottom-up cost estimation was applied.


Annual costs in Australian dollars (AUD) in 2016 on health and nonhealth outcomes attributable to child and adolescent bullying victimization were estimated at AUD $763 million: AUD $750 million for health system costs with AUD $147 million for anxiety disorders, AUD $322 million for depressive disorders, AUD $57 million for intentional self-harm, and AUD $224 million for tobacco use; AUD $7.5 million for productivity losses of victims’ caregivers; and AUD $6 million for educational services.


The findings from this study suggest a substantial annual cost to Australian society as a result of bullying victimization with more than 8% of annual mental health expenditure in Australia estimated to be attributable to bullying victimization.

Read full text on: Jadambaa, A., Brain, D., Pacella, R., Thomas, H. J., McCarthy, M., Scott, J. G., & Graves, N. (2021). The economic cost of child and adolescent bullying in Australia. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry60(3), 367-376.

Challenges in access and satisfaction with reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services in Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional survey

By Aduragbemi Banke-Thomas


The presence of COVID-19 has led to the disruption of health systems globally, including essential reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) services. This study aimed to assess the challenges faced by women who used RMNCH services in Nigeria’s epicentre, their satisfaction with care received during the COVID-19 pandemic and the factors associated with their satisfaction.


This cross-sectional survey was conducted in Lagos, southwest Nigeria among 1,241 women of reproductive age who had just received RMNCH services at one of twenty-two health facilities across the primary, secondary and tertiary tiers of health care. The respondents were selected via multi-stage sampling and face to face exit interviews were conducted by trained interviewers. Client satisfaction was assessed across four sub-scales: health care delivery, health facility, interpersonal aspects of care and access to services. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the relationship between personal characteristics and client satisfaction.


About 43.51% of respondents had at least one challenge in accessing RMNCH services since the COVID-19 outbreak. Close to a third (31.91%) could not access service because they could not leave their houses during the lockdown and 18.13% could not access service because there was no transportation. The mean clients’ satisfaction score among the respondents was 43.25 (SD: 6.28) out of a possible score of 57. Satisfaction scores for the interpersonal aspects of care were statistically significantly lower in the PHCs and general hospitals compared to teaching hospitals. Being over 30 years of age was significantly associated with an increased clients’ satisfaction score (ß = 1.80, 95%CI: 1.10–2.50).


The COVID-19 lockdown posed challenges to accessing RMNCH services for a significant proportion of women surveyed. Although overall satisfaction with care was fairly high, there is a need to provide tailored COVID-19 sensitive inter-personal care to clients at all levels of care.

Access full paper on: Radovich, E., Banke-Thomas, A., Campbell, O. M., Ezeanochie, M., Gwacham-Anisiobi, U., Ande, A., & Benova, L. (2021). Critical comparative analysis of data sources toward understanding referral during pregnancy and childbirth: three perspectives from Nigeria. BMC health services research21(1), 1-17.

A Stereotype Threat Account of Boys’ Academic Underachievement

By Bonny L. Hartley

Three studies examined the role of stereotype threat in boys’ academic underachievement. Study 1 (children aged 4–10, =238) showed that girls from age 4 years and boys from age 7 years believed, and thought adults believed, that boys are academically inferior to girls. Study 2 manipulated stereotype threat, informing children aged 7–8 years (=162) that boys tend to do worse than girls at school. This manipulation hindered boys’ performance on a reading, writing, and math test, but did not affect girls’ performance. Study 3 counteracted stereotype threat, informing children aged 6–9 years (=184) that boys and girls were expected to perform similarly. This improved the performance of boys and did not affect that of girls.

Read more: Hartley, B. L., & Sutton, R. M. (2013). A stereotype threat account of boys’ academic underachievement. Child development84(5), 1716-1733. DOI:

Moral Reasoning about Aggressive Behavior in Relation to Type of Aggression, Age and Gender in South Korean Pupils

By Seung-Ha Lee, Peter K. Smith and Claire P. Monks

Studies of moral reasoning in relation to aggressive behaviors have paid limited attention to different types of aggression, and have mainly been conducted in Western societies. We describe findings from a study of 157 children, aged 6 or 11 years, from two schools in South Korea. Using a cartoon scenario methodology, we assessed moral reasoning about eight types of aggression: verbal, physical individual, physical group, social exclusion, rumor spreading, breaking one’s belongings, sending a nasty text via mobile phone, and sending a nasty message/email via computer. Four aspects of moral reasoning were assessed: moral judgment, harmfulness, reason for judgment, and causal responsibility. Many significant differences by type of aggression were found, especially for social exclusion (seen as less wrong and harmful, and more the victim’s responsibility), physical group aggression (seen as more wrong or harmful, and a matter of fairness, especially in older children and boys), and cyber aggression (seen more as the aggressor’s responsibility). Older children gave more reasons based on welfare, and fewer “don’t know” responses for reasons and attributions. Gender differences were relatively few, but girls did make more use of welfare in the moral reasoning domain. Findings are discussed in relation to previous research and the cultural context in South Korea.

Read full text:

Lee, S. H., Smith, P. K., & Monks, C. P. (2021). Moral reasoning about aggressive behavior in relation to type of aggression, age and gender in South Korean pupils. International journal of environmental research and public health18(5), 2288.

Perceptions of Bullying amongst Spanish Preschool and Primary School Children with the Use of Comic Strips: Practical and Theoretical Implications

by Pedro Miguel González Moreno, Héctor del Castillo and Daniel Abril-López 

Bullying research among preschoolers and the early grades of primary school is still scarce. With the aid of a set of cartoons representing prototypical bullying scenes, we interview 120 schoolchildren (50% girls) from kindergarten to third grade (age range: 5.44–9.58) from three mainstream public schools located in the eastern Community of Madrid, in order to analyse their perceptions regarding this phenomenon. Results show that 94.2% (n = 113) of schoolchildren are able to recognize when a partner is victimized. Nevertheless, significant differences were found by grade (p = 0.017), with kindergarteners giving more responses classified as one-off aggressions. Most students (n = 102) empathize with the victims´ emotions and condemn the bullies’ behavior, regardless of their gender (p = 0.637) or grade (p = 0.578). A total of 53.9% (n = 64) of students think these bullying situations are partly caused by previous conflicts; girls are inclined to think this more often than boys (p = 0.003). Furthermore, 53.8% (n = 64) of the students would request help from their schoolteachers if they were bullied, with no statistically significant differences by gender (p = 0.254) or by grade (p = 0.133). These results serve as a rationale to develop bullying prevention programs from a very early school age to provide information regarding its causation and coping strategies, among others.

Read more : González Moreno, P. M., del Castillo, H., & Abril-López, D. (2021). Perceptions of Bullying amongst Spanish Preschool and Primary Schoolchildren with the Use of Comic Strips: Practical and Theoretical Implications. Social Sciences10(6), 223.

The importance of trust for refugee children and families in resettlement

Ryan Essex, Erika Kalocsanyiova, Nataliya Rumyantseva, Jill Jameson

The adverse, often protracted, and liminal nature of the refugee journey mean that trust has particular relevance for refugee populations and particularly refugee children and families. Trust can be broadly described as an “accepted vulnerability to another’s possible but not expected ill will (or lack of good will)”. In other words, trust is based on the expectation that we will not be exploited, harmed, or taken advantage of by other individuals, organisations, or institutions. Throughout the refugee journey, it will often be unclear who or what can be trusted, distrust may serve as a means to survive and many may have little choice but to trust those who are otherwise untrustworthy. In resettlement, even in ideal circumstances, many will continue to face uncertainty, navigating a new culture and language, new systems, and institutions. Many will face ongoing difficulties within their own communities and discrimination from society more generally and at the hands of government policy.

In a recent systematic review, we found that trust was critical in resettlement of refugee children and families. Trust shaped resettlement experiences and in turn was shaped by the resettlement process itself. Trust was often a precursor to re-establishing relationships, to health and social wellbeing and more generally managing the resettlement process, all of which have a significant impact on how refugee children and families coped and adjusted in resettlement. A number of studies within our review set out specifically to explore the experiences of unaccompanied minors. Many detailed a generalised and pervasive distrust. Níraghallaigh (2014), for example, set out to explore the predictors of trust or mistrust amongst a sample of unaccompanied minors resettled in Ireland. This study suggested that amongst unaccompanied minors resettled in Ireland, a number felt they could not trust or be trusted, that is, they felt suspicion from the Irish public and institutions; unfamiliarity with people in Ireland; and concerns about truth telling, that is, for some, lying occurred because of a lack of trust: for example, they felt unable to tell their true reasons for leaving their countries of origin because of fears of repercussions. Studies also suggested that trust shapes a number of other encounters. For example, trust in healthcare professionals and in the healthcare system influenced whether children sought help. Majumder et al. (2015), for example, found that amongst a number of unaccompanied refugee minors resettled in the UK, there was a general mistrust of healthcare services. Many saw health professionals as representatives of the state and were fearful of deportation.

In beginning to build trust, there is no one size fits all approach. Our review re-enforces the idea that trust is first and foremost a relational concept. That is, trust is “created, negotiated, sustained, confirmed or disconfirmed” amongst individuals, groups, or other social entities. This means that what trust means for each person, between different individuals and groups, will vary substantially. Furthermore, how we negotiate and maintain trust over time can shift substantially. Trust is not static and exists along a number of continuums. That is, over time, trust could be built in one area, and eroded in another. With time, we may expect children to trust more; however, this is not always the case and is dependent on a number of factors; trust can be damaged more easily than it is built and the actions of other trustworthy and well-meaning individuals may negatively impact trust. Finally, trust is also contextual. Our review provided insight into how a country’s policies may substantially impact the temporal trajectory of trust and set the bounds of how trust is approached between individuals and groups. In short, refugee children are resettled in vastly different countries, which offer vastly different resettlement experiences.

The literature on trust in this field paints a complex picture, but it does not leave us without direction. Generally, supportive individuals and institutions are important foundations for trust. This can be achieved through simple, often routine steps; consistency of care, taking the time to listen, communicate effectively, and understand experiences, acting transparently and, more generally, treating refugee children with respect and dignity. Trust also requires cultural awareness and broader awareness of the impact of resettlement, including how broader social and political forces may negatively impact trust.

To read our full systematic review (which is open access):

Essex, R. Kalocsányiová, E. Rumyantseva, N. & Jameson, J. (2021). Trust Amongst Refugees in Resettlement Settings: A Systematic Scoping Review and Thematic Analysis of the Literature. Journal of International Migration and Integration.

A Qualitative Exploration of Practitioners’ Understanding of and Response to Child-to-Parent Aggression

By Sarah E O’Toole, Stella Tsermentseli, Athanasia Papastergiou, Claire P Monks

There has been limited research and policy directed toward defining and understanding child-to-parent aggression (CPA), resulting in inconsistent definitions, understandings, and responses, which has a detrimental impact on families. In particular, there have been limited qualitative studies of those working on the frontline of CPA, hindering the development of effective policy. The present qualitative study therefore aimed to explore practitioner perspectives of CPA. Twenty-five practitioners from diverse fields (e.g., youth justice, police, charities) participated in four focus groups relating to their experiences of working with CPA in the United Kingdom. Thematic analysis of focus groups revealed three key themes: definitions of CPA, understanding of CPA risk factors, and responding to CPA. Practitioners understood CPA to be a broad use of aggression to intimidate and control parents and highlighted a range of individual (e.g., mental health, substance abuse) and social (e.g., parenting, gangs) risk factors for CPA. Further, practitioners felt that current methods of reporting CPA were ineffective and may have a detrimental impact on families. The findings of this study have implications for CPA policy and support the need for a multiagency and coordinated strategy for responding to CPA.

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Online Peer Engagement in Adolescence: Positive and Negative Aspects of Online Social Interaction

Edited by Nejra van Zalk and Claire P. Monks

This book provides an in-depth insight into what is currently known and relatively unknown about youths’ online peer engagement. It delivers state-of-the-art current reviews of the literature in the field, with a strong coverage of methodological issues in studying online friendships and an emphasis on moving towards a new, less dichotomic, view of online peer interaction in adolescence. With a focus on what spending time with online-exclusive peers entails – in terms of both potential positive as well as negative consequences for friendship quality, intimacy, and well-being – this book offers a more nuanced commentary on youths’ online peer engagement. Including coverage of the evolution of online friendships, cyberbullying, cyberdating, sexting, online abuse, smartphones, social networks, as well as their impact on adolescent social interaction online, Van Zalk and Monks consider implications for future research directions and practical applications.

Find out more:

Perceived stress as mediator for longitudinal effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on wellbeing of parents and children

Michelle AchterbergSimone DobbelaarOlga D. Boer & Eveline A. Crone 

Dealing with a COVID-19 lockdown may have negative effects on children, but at the same time might facilitate parent–child bonding. Perceived stress may influence the direction of these effects. Using a longitudinal twin design, we investigated how perceived stress influenced lockdown induced changes in wellbeing of parents and children. A total of 106 parents and 151 children (10–13-year-olds) filled in questionnaires during lockdown and data were combined with data of previous years. We report a significant increase in parental negative feelings (anxiety, depression, hostility and interpersonal sensitivity). Longitudinal child measures showed a gradual decrease in internalizing and externalizing behavior, which seemed decelerated by the COVID-19 lockdown. Changes in parental negative feelings and children’s externalizing behavior were mediated by perceived stress: higher scores prior to the lockdown were related to more stress during the lockdown, which in turn was associated with an increase in parental negative feelings and children’s’ externalizing behavior. Perceived stress in parents and children was associated with negative coping strategies. Additionally, children’s stress levels were influenced by prior and current parental overreactivity. These results suggest that children in families with negative coping strategies and (a history of) parental overreactivity might be at risk for negative consequences of the lockdown.

Full article:

Achterberg, M., Dobbelaar, S., Boer, O. D., & Crone, E. A. (2021). Perceived stress as mediator for longitudinal effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on wellbeing of parents and children. Scientific reports11(1), 1-14.

Parenting in lockdown: Coronavirus and the effects on work-life balance

Office for National Statistics

Parents in Great Britain who have been able to work through the coronavirus lockdown have adapted their working patterns around caring for their children. There were some clear trends in how that childcare was delivered.

Lockdown in the UK has presented challenges for families whose day-to-day lives were transformed virtually overnight.

At the start of the lockdown (23 March 2020), many people had to rapidly adjust to a ‘new normal’, with school closures, parents furloughed or working from home, and support from outside the home no longer available.

For millions of parents (or those in a parenting role), this included having to care for their children, including homeschooling them, while continuing to work.

Key insights:

·       Parents have changed their weekday working patterns because of childcare commitments

·       Parents working from home delivered most childcare in the afternoon

·       During lockdown, parents spent more time on developmental childcare

·       Women spent more time on childcare than men, with much of this focused on non-developmental childcare and supervising children

·       Women spent much more time on childcare than men when the child was aged under five

·       Parents found developmental childcare more enjoyable

·       Women spent more time on unpaid work and less time on paid work than men

Read more: